With each new school year, parents and teachers have a lot to think about. Research in recent years has highlighted the importance of early education. However, parents and teachers are still unaware that preschool is the perfect time to start preparing for kindergarten.
Yes, this preparation starts more than a month or two before school. Whether your child is in preschool, daycare, or at home, the transition can seem like a stressful one. However, it doesn’t have to be. Starting early to prepare for kindergarten doesn’t mean teaching kindergarten skills in preschool. Rather it is making sure children have preschool skills when they are able to enter kindergarten.
Skills Required Before Beginning of Kindergarten
Want to know if your child is ready for kindergarten? Here is a simple guideline of what they should know before the first day of school. This is just a guideline and the expectations will vary from program to program.
- Identify some letters of the alphabet
- Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly
- Use scissors, glue, paint, and other art materials with relative ease
- Write first name using upper and lowercase letters
- Count to 10
- Bounce a ball
- Classify objects according to their size, shape, and quantity
- Speak using complete sentences
- Recognize some common sight words, like “stop”
- Identify words that rhyme
- Repeat their full name, address, phone number, and birthday
- Play independently
- Focus on one activity with a friend for up to ten minutes
- Be toilet trained
- Dress themselves
- Follow directions
- Clean up after themselves
- Listen to a story without interrupting
- Separate from parents without anxiety
This list may seem like a lot. However there are simple things you can do every day to help your child prepare for kindergarten.
Read Books Every Day
This is the most important thing you can do to help your child develop language and reading skills. Children like books about things they can relate to and like having them read over and over. Simple things like having your child recognize the title of a book and matching rhyming sounds can really help them. These skills form a strong foundation for prereading and prewriting skills necessary for future work in kindergarten.
LEtter Recognition and sounds
This is an easy one. Point out words in the environment and slowly sound words you see while taking walks, or running errands. Label items and places around your home and encourage your child to trace letters and numbers.
Your child will start learning basic math skills in kindergaten, but why not start early. Help your child learn to count with small objects like marbles, dolls, cars, and food. Hopscotch is another way to learn numbers. When playing, have your child also place the correct number of items on each number. This helps them learn their numbers and also count.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are essential way past kindergarten. Learning how to hold a pencil, how to work with your hands, and how to use your hands independently is an important part of daily life. However, it takes time, patience, and practice to hold a pencil. Show them how to do it and praise them when they do. You can also use large crayons and pencils, child safety scissors, and playdough to further develop these muscles.
Instructions and Manners
These are important social skills that should be learned early. Following simple instructions, like “Please get your shoes and put them on,” or “Go to the bathroom, flush the toilet, and wash your hands, please,” are necessary to keep up in kindergarten. Teach manners by saying please and thank you when giving instructions and listening to them without interrupting.
For many children, kindergarten is their first experience in a formal school setting. Encouraging interaction with new friends will help them do better in school both academically and socially. Playing with other children helps them learn how to share, take turns, communicate, and problem solve. it also helps build their confidence. Teach responsibility by encouraging them to clean up toys and messes, dress and use the bathroom independently, get their own drinks and snacks, and take responsibility for their actions. Remember to praise your child for their success. Give them hugs and tell them you love them. Listen to their stories and answer their questions and you will have a confident kindergartener by the time they enter school.
Don’t panic if your child isn’t perfect at everything on this list. They will learn a lot in kindergarten. As your child approaches Kindergarten age, you may have some concerns regarding expectations, and readiness for this transition.
Every year, Little Angels hosts a “Kindergarten Meeting” to discuss these concerns. A guest speaker will be invited to present you with some valuable information regarding Kindergarten readiness. As the time draws near for your Preschooler to enter Kindergarten, we also recommend that Parents visit with the future Kindergarten teacher or school. We welcome any discussions or questions you may have, regarding your child’s transition to Kindergarten.