The countdown to kindergarten and preschool has begun. Don't wait! Be proactive and prepare your child for a successful transition into this new and important experience. It will lay the foundation for your little one's future.
Experiencing school and the opportunities it creates is an important developmental milestone. While attending a new school is exciting and fun, it also can be unnerving for children.
Regardless of whether a child has never gone to school, or has attended preschool and is about to enter kindergarten, they share similar concerns: “Will I be all right at school?” and “What will I do there?.” All children know is they will be dropped off in a classroom and left by us. Often we leave them with no idea of what to expect.
It’s like you or I showing up for a new job without being told our job description!
It’s not hard to understand that children, like us, need to know what to expect in order to feel comfortable and excel.
Here is some advice to ease the transition to kindergarten for both you and your child.
Reading to a child is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him for kindergarten. Not only is it a great bonding activity, it builds language and listening skills needed for kindergarten and life-long learning.
It’s never too early to start reading to your child.
Play is an essential part of learning for young children. It allows them to satisfy their curiosity by experimenting with things in their physical environment. Play also helps children learn how to cooperate with others through sharing and taking turns. Set aside some time to play with your child and let her lead the activity. It’s also helpful to arrange playdates with other children to support the development of your child’s social skills, like expressing feelings and coping with conflict.
LET YOUR CHILD HELP
Encourage your child to help you prepare a snack. (Enjoy their eagerness to help now because in a few years, it might be more difficult to convince them to lend a hand!) Preparing meals helps children practice following directions, measuring (ingredients) and counting. Children are expected to know how to follow basic directions and count from 1-10 before entering kindergarten.
MAKE SOMETHIING NEW
Make something with your child using crayons, finger paint, or glue (non-toxic),
for example. This will encourage him to get engaged in arts and crafts at
school. It also can help develop the fine motor skills needed for kindergarten, like coloring and cutting with child-safe scissors. When your little artist is finished, help him write his name on his creation, which reinforces another kindergarten readiness skill: the ability to write and recognize one’s name.
GIVE YOUR CHILD A PREVIEW
Before the first day of kindergarten, take your little scholar on a tour of his new classroom and school to help ease the transition to this new environment. Don’t forget to visit the playground so your child can associate school with fun and feel more comfortable there.
Once kindergarten starts, try to stay informed about what your child is doing in school. Always feel free to talk to the teachers and administrators and ask questions. Encourage your little one to share his or her experiences with you too. You both are in for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
I'm a Parent Educator, Author, and Founder of Carla & Liv KIDS. My mission is to prepare every child for a strong start in school. One of my tools is my quick-read, research-based book, SCHOOL IS NEW TO ME: A Beginner's Guide to Starting School.