By: Jacqueline Bodnar
A big issue that many parents will face this school year iswhether or not their little one is ready for kindergarten. For a variety of reasons, many childrendo not go to pre-school and even if they do it’s still important that theylearn some basic skills before starting kindergarten. Making sure that yourchild is ready verbally, socially and physically will help to ensure theirsuccess.
“I don’t believe there are any set in stonerequirements students should meet before starting kindergarten,” says MimiGarcia, a kindergarten teacher. She explains that students thatcome from homes that are language-rich seem to do very well. “Whether ornot these students come to me knowing all of their letters, shapes or numbers,they still catch on quickly because they are curious and have a greatwillingness to learn,” she says.
There are some areas that you can work with your child on tohelp get them off to a good start. Keep in mind that all children develop at adifferent pace so your child may only be able to do some of these suggestions.
Some basic language skills your child should have include:
– being able to talk to other people about an event orobject
– having the ability to answer and ask simple questions andfollow basic instructions
– being able to identify some pictures in magazines, booksor on television
When it comes to mathematics your child should be able to:
– understand that numbers are used to count
– be able to use words such as less, more, many
– can see that there is a difference in shapes
– has a basic understanding of opposites
Some personal and social skills are:
– knowing their own name and address
– knowing how to use the bathroom on their own
– is able to adapt to new experiences or places
– can sit and listen to a short story and use theirimagination
Physical skills that your child will benefit from havinginclude:
– being able to use scissors to accurately cut something out
– having the ability to independently take off and put oncoat, boots and shoes
Preparing for the big day
Before school ever starts, discuss it with your child. Givethem a good idea of what they can expect their day to be like there. If it’s atall possible, take them down to the school for a tour and make sure that theyknow the name of their teacher and principal. Try to have a good attitude whenyou talk about school and visit there so your child picks up on that. If youseem excited about what they will be doing then they will likely be excited aswell. One way that you can learn more about your child’s school is tovolunteer. Most schools love to have parents volunteer and it gives you theopportunity to learn more about the school and meet the staff.
Simple ways you can make learning an informal, butconsistent occurrence:
– Count fingers and toes when bathing.
– Choose between different colors.
– Count the number of stairs you come across.
– Have your child cut letters out of a magazine to spelltheir name.
– Let your child use a marker to write letters on milkcarton lids and use them to spell words.
– Always have lots of books, paper and crayons around sothat your child can pretend read and write.
Jacqueline Bodnar is a freelance writer that lives with herhusband and two children.
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