Tips for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
Kindergarten is just round the corner for our Daughter. She will be joining her new school friends on the school bus bound for her first day of Kindergarten on September 8th. She is not going to school without some experience having attended a daycare for a couple of years, a local preschool and most recently spent time with our new Nanny who has an educational background. We think she is ready, but in all honesty, we have no measure of what her peers will be like in Kindergarten. We have done more to prepare her than we did with our Son several years ago. As a parent, I had an expectation that starting Kindergarten was the entry point in to education, but was quickly proven wrong. It is expected that your Child will hit the ground running, having learnt the basics and quickly being able to participate in classroom.
Not everyone can afford the formal programs that are listed above and, therefore, one can explore lots of other approaches with your Children. If time is on your side one can do these in advance of going to Kindergarten, or they can compliment their lessons at Kindergarten. As a parent, one, cannot rely exclusively on the teachers, you have to be an active participant in your Childs education. A parent is a Child’s first and most important teacher.
1. The most important activity one can do with your Child is to READ with them every day. It is very easy to just a read a book, close the cover and your done. I would encourage you to discuss the story with your Child, get them to ask questions and ensure they understand what the story is about. If one does nothing else, reading is essential, in my opinion a lack of enthusiasm for reading books potentially impedes their ability to learn.
2. Introduce your Child to the concept of Phonics. The education system today relies heavily on Phonics to assist children with reading and writing. For many adults the concepts of phonics maybe new, so you need to do a little work yourself.
3. Have your Child work on activities, games, puzzles and art that improve their fine motor skills. You do not have to go out and invest in expensive ‘educational’ toys. One can address this with papers and scissors, nuts and bolts, stickers, pencils and crayons. There has been significant research that having your child work through these activities significantly improves their learning abilities.
4. If one can afford it, then leverage the technology world. There are some toy manufacturers such as Leapfrog that develop toys focused on the skills your children need. In my opinion, don’t worry that introducing them to computer games and an iPad is going to be harmful to your Childs development. They will not change in to a zombie if their use of technology is balanced with other activities. There are lots of amazing apps available that deal specifically with preschool and Kindergarten curriculum.
5. Ensure you have access to the school boards curriculum, and if an option, attend the school curriculum night.
It goes without saying that your Child should know the alphabet and be able to count to 20 and beyond if possible.
In the next few posts, I’ll share with you some of the resources that we researched and have used successfully. I would value your feedback on this subject and for you the readers to share your own experiences.