By Janis Strasser
Transitioning to Kindergarten
By Janis Strasser
Starting school can be scary and exciting for both you and your child. Effective kindergarten teachers know that children are individuals who each start kindergarten with a wide range of skills. You do not need to drill your child with letters, numbers, and facts, before school starts. But there are some things you can do to prepare both you and your child for kindergarten. Here are some ideas.
Before school starts
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Be ready for these important changes, whether your child has been in preschool, day care, or at home.
There are so many wonderful things for your child to look forward to in kindergarten. He gets to go to the “big” school, make new friends, and maybe even ride the school bus. To prepare him (and you) for the big move, it helps to know just how kindergarten differs from a preschool or day-care setting. Here’s what to expect:
1. A Bigger Building With More Kids
Kindergartens are often housed in neighborhood elementary schools. There will be longer hallways and staircases to navigate, and, most likely, older children in the building. Classes will be larger, often having twice as many students as the preschool classroom.
Autonomy is critical in kindergarten. Since there’s less one-on-one attention, your child will be expected to be able to put on his jacket, fasten his shoes and backpack, open lunch and juice boxes, and go the bathroom by himself. The schedule is more structured than you’ll find in preschool or day care, and expectations for behavior run high. Your child must be able to sit still and focus on the teacher, raise his hand before talking, move quickly and quietly through the classroom and halls, and work cooperatively with others.
Kindergarten students are now being expected to meet standards that were once reserved for 1st graders. At the beginning of the year, your child should know how to write her name in upper- and lowercase letters, count from one to 10, and identify basic colors and shapes. There will be less free play than in preschool, though the focus will still be on fun. Teachers will use songs and games to deliver lessons about math, science, social studies, and language arts. Another big change: homework. Your child will probably have about 20 minutes a night — usually a math or alphabet activity, journal writing, and listening to you read aloud.
Get inside tips on how to make the most of school.
Kindergarten is an exciting and critical time in your child’s development and growth. You can play an important role in this wonderful journey. Here’s what kindergarten teachers want parents to know:
1. Your job isn’t over when you drop your little one off at school; it has only just begun. Your child’s teacher wants to be your partner.Keep them informed about what goes on at home that might affect your child’s behavior or academic performance.Share with them how what they do at school affects your child at home.
2. This is not your grandfather’s kindergarten. Sadly, much of what happens in kindergarten is driven by high standards and preparation for standardized tests. The expectations of what children need to know when they enter kindergarten are closer to what used to be expected in 1st grade. To boost your child’s academic skills:
4. Make yourself known. Come in. Look around. Peruse the textbooks and materials. Knowledge is power. When you know about the subjects your child is studying, you will be able to help her better and have a common understanding for discussion. Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn about what goes on at school and to show your child how much you care about what she is doing.
5. Your child needs lots of opportunities for play outside of school. Play is the way in which he learns about himself and the people and world around him. But more often than not, play has been squeezed out of the school day. Playing both alone and in small groups helps facilitate learning and allows your child to practice skills and concepts.
6. Reading to your child once a day is not enough. Try to read together at least three times a day. Books are the gateway to building vocabulary, learning about print, and developing listening and early literacy skills. When you read, talk about the book. Discuss the characters and setting, make predictions, and create new endings. Point out letters and words in the text, and encourage him to recognize rhyming sounds and words and to identify beginning and ending sounds.
7. Writing exploration at home is critical. Your child needs to have opportunities to use pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils, and other writing instruments as she attempts to express herself in written form. She begins with scribbles and lines, moves on to letters and her name, and then to words and sentences.
By Ben Mardell and Melissa Tonachel (in NAEYC Families)
Q: I have a child in preschool. How do I know if he is ready for kindergarten when the time comes?
A: As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Pay attention to the things he says and does. Children come to kindergarten from a wide variety of experiences and settings, so expecting them all to know and be able to do the same things is unrealistic.
Is your son excited about school? That is a good sign. Beyond that, it would be great for him to have some experience with the following things:
There are other habits and skills that he may have begun to develop but that may not be fully developed in preschool or even by the end of kindergarten: solving problems with peers, taking the perspective of others, increasing his stamina, and building academic mastery, for example.
To read more and discover more articles like this click on the link: https://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/my-child-ready-kindergarten
Hopefully, on the first day of school, your child will come to kindergarten with an expectation that school will be fun, fair, and a good place to learn; and he will arrive with joy and with confidence that school is a good place to be.
Ben Mardell is associate professor and program director of early childhood education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Melissa Tonachel is a kindergarten teacher in Boston, MA.
See what skills your child should have at the beginning — and by the end — of the school year.
Kindergarten is an exciting time of exploration for your child. As her motor coordination increases, so too will her sense of independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence. As the year progresses, she’ll be expected to complete assignments with less outside help, accept more responsibilities, and follow rules more closely.
Skills Required at the Beginning of Kindergarten
You may want to review this list and see if there is anything else you would like to teach your child before those first days of school.
Don’t panic if your child hasn’t nailed everything on the list — she’ll learn a lot in kindergarten. What’s more important is to wean her from relying on you to do things she could do herself, such as zipping her jacket or tying her shoes. Give her the chance to show you what she can do for herself — you might be in for a few surprises!
To continue reading the original article please click here: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/what-to-expect-grade/preparing-kindergarten
Looking for ideas on how you can support your child's early learning and development? From infant to PreK, check out pages 15-24 to see how you can take action to help guide your child towards Kindergarten readiness and school success:
This document was created by Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and the Connecticut Early Childhood Education Cabinet provides information on: