Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Kindergarten is an exciting milestone for you and your child. It can be an anxious time, especially if this is your first child. Undoubtedly, you will have many questions, but the three most common concerns are whether your child is “ready” for kindergarten, what is the best way to prepare your child for the kindergarten experience, and what can you expect from the kindergarten program.
Will my child be ready?
Children arrive at school with a wide range of abilities and experiences. Some children have been in preschool for several years, some have never been in preschool or a daycare situation. Some children have read or heard hundreds of stories. Some children have grown up in households where everyone had jobs to do, and some children have never had that kind of responsibility.
Parents should learn about the school and the school’s expectations. Since children arrive from varied backgrounds, schools will try to meet the needs of each child who walks through the door. The parents’ responsibility is to love, nurture and provide experiences and opportunities through everyday situations.
Preparing your child
Provide a variety of activities:
Word of caution: Avoid flash cards and drilling your child on colors, shapes, ABCs or numbers. Memorizing turns a child off to learning. Parents should not focus on specific, isolated skills because they don’t make sense to children. Valuable informal learning experiences resulting from a child’s interest and curiosity will give your child a better foundation and a love of learning.
The typical kindergarten program is changing because we know better than ever how young children learn and what they should be learning. Research tells us that children learn through play, through being actively involved with materials and toys and through interaction with other children. We know children will make noise when they are learning, their mistakes are learning opportunities, and children need opportunities to make choices (such as to play with blocks or to look at a book). Children need time to learn how to work and play with other children and how to solve their own problems.
When you visit a kindergarten class, you should see:
Kindergarten is an exciting adventure. It is a time when your child should have the opportunity to develop a lifelong love of learning and to recognize herself as a unique and valuable person. Enjoy the year! Work in partnership with the school, and remember, you are still your child’s most influential teacher.