Preparing your child for kindergarten can be one of the most anxiety filled situations for you. For them, it is an opportunity to go to school, which most children see as a positive situation. Remember that your child’s first teacher is you, not their kindergarten teacher. This means that you have the ability to build their cognitive, emotional and social behaviors and abilities prior to the day they start school. Several small things you can do will have a big impact on your child during their first years of formal education.
Children in preschool are learning to read. Studies have shown that children are able to comprehend and take in much more information and skill training prior to turning six. This shows that children as young as four can start learning to read. You don’t necessarily have to teach your child to read prior to their start of school, though. Kindergarten students will learn those skills. Yet, by reading to them, you start to form the connection and importance of reading with them. Ultimately, this is what will lock in the willingness and interest in reading.
Plan to read to your child each day. A short story, bedroom story or anything else can help to encourage them to learn to read and to be willing to read. Research shows that parents who read to their children are likely to have kids that read and do well in school. A visit to the library is all it takes to get started.
Educate Your Child On Their Surroundings
Go for a walk with your child and listen to the questions they have. They will ask about the grass, the bugs and the clouds. These are all small parts of their environment that they need to become familiar with. Talking to your child about these aspects will allow them to develop good language skills, interpretative skills and can lead to a child that is more inquisitive.
Encourage Language Development
Using the correct terminology for everything they deal with on a daily basis is also important. Children will often confuse pronouns, “this” and “that” and other small things in their language. Correct them and allow them to develop these skills over time. It will help them to communicate better in Kindergarten.
Develop Motor Skills
Fine motor skills like cutting and coloring in the lines are skills that are developed from the first times your child picks up a pair of scissors or a coloring book. These skills also lead to their ability to write well. To prepare your child for kindergarten, focus on giving your child tasks and games to play where they are encouraged to cut, smash play dough and play with finger-paint. Developing find motor skills is an essential part of being ready for school.
Larger motor skills are just as important. Riding a bike, playing sports and balancing on a balance beam are all helping to develop your child’s coordination. These too will lead to better Kindergarten skills.
Know What’s Expected
In order to be ready for kindergarten, you will need to work with your child and the child’s school. Find out what your school requires of children entering into kindergarten. This may include the ability to do several things:
• Communicate to a level where others understand them
• Knows how to wash his hands, takes off his coat, and ties his shoes
• Can handle going to the bathroom on his own
• Plays well with other children
• Picks up after themselves and shares their toys with others
• Follows directions when given by a teacher
• Expresses ideas
• Knows their colors, ABC’s and basic shapes, can count to ten
• Listens when others are speaking to him and does not interrupt
• Recognizes his name (can write his first name)
• Can concentrate on a task for at least ten minutes
Some schools have a more restrictive curriculum requirement for students entering into kindergarten. Meet with the school at least a year in advance to insure your child is prepared. In addition, work with preschool teachers to find out if there is anything, your child needs help on that they may now the child needs for kindergarten readiness.
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