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News in Youth Services

Monday, August 13, 2018

Helping Your Kindergartner Get Ready for School

I remember when my first born was getting ready to go to Kindergarten.  This was a huge step.  He had gone to preschool but now he'd be with all the big kids.  School supplies were chosen, especially that colorful take home folder (I'm sure it had a Star Wars scene on it).  We both felt excited yet also nervous.  I wanted to make sure he was prepared to be both academically and socially successful for the start of his school career.

Today's Kindergarten has become much more academically challenging then our own experience in the grade but some things have not changed.  When you ask a Kindergarten teacher what abilities they hope incoming students will have, they state social and emotional skills are equally, if not more important, than knowing the letters of the alphabet and numbers.

Kindergarten readiness has many components, many which are not considered academic even though they do influence how children learn.  These include:

  • Self-care, self-help and motor skills
  • Playing well with others and working positively with adults 
  • Using their words to express needs and wants
  • Curiosity and willingness to learn
  • Self-regulation skills
So you may be asking yourself: "What can I do to support my child's readiness?"  Here are a few suggestions:
  • Talk often with your child and respond to his questions (even when he keeps asking "Why?")
  • Encourage active play, especially pretend play, with other children (Yep, play dates!)
  • Read, read, and read to her every day.  Talk about the words and pictures in the books.  Ask her to predict what will happen in the story next.
  • Provide paper and writing utensils for drawing and writing
  • Create things out of materials in your home (arts and crafts)
  • Play guessing games (promotes listening skills, which we know everyone needs)
  • Go places together - parks, zoo, museums, library
  • Encourage independence in managing daily tasks and doing some simple chores
  • Limit screen time
Start talking to your child about what will happen.  Reading library books about starting school can start conversations about what your child may expect from school.  We have a great selection of books to help.  Just ask one of our staff members to help choose a great school story.

Travel the route your child will take to and from school and don't forget to check out how to navigate the playground.  If your school offers an open house or a "Meet and Greet" with their teacher, make sure you attend.  This way you and your child can meet the other children and parents who will be in their class and possibly set up some play dates before school starts.  This may make you both feel a little more comfortable with the upcoming life change.

In the meantime, enjoy the time with your child.  Play together.  Go places together.  Read and talk together.  You'll be helping to encourage your child's enthusiasm for learning and helping him get off to a great start to his school career. 


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