Preparing Parents and Children for Kindergarten

I have been reading lots of wonderful posts on how to prepare children for Kindergarten. The count down has begun for Daisy going to school. She is getting excited.

What can we do to prepare together (yes, parents need to prepare too!).

Now:

  • Schedule play dates for your child without you being present
  • Visit the school, some schools offer staggered enrollment, open evening in June and parent conferences.
  • Practice the morning routine, getting up at school time, dressing and preparing as you would for school so children are prepared for the big day (this means going to bed at a regular time too)
  • Use the new shiny lunch bag for a picnic to the park with friends or simply in the back garden.
  • Encourage children to help with packing their own lunch, snacks and backpack (they will have to do it at school)
  • Label everything… yes everything. As a teacher I can tell you that so much time is wasted looking for things that have no labels or trying to find owners of objects that are not labelled.
  • Read, read, read, visit your library, have a book reading picnic, read whenever you can.
  • Learn how to identify first and last name and practice writing first name.
  • Memorize phone number and address.
  • We were very lucky to have a Literacy Links programme in our school district but you can do similar activities at home.
  • Allocate more responsibility; tidying toys away, making the bed, setting the table, preparing for an outing by gathering hat, shoes and water bottle. All these activities encourage your child to take more responsibility for themselves and their belongings as they will have to do in their classroom.

  • Learn how to tie bows and do zippers. If your child cannot yet tie shoelaces please send Velcro shoes! Teachers do not have time to tie 25 sets of shoelaces.

On the morning:

  • Follow the procedure you have in the week leading up to the first day of Kindergarten
  • Keep calm and try not to share your nervousness and anxiety with your child. Talk positively about the day ahead.
  • When dropping your child off say goodbye and leave quickly. Do not draw out the agony for you or your child. Advice from a friend who teaches Grade One now but has taught Kindergarten also. “When you have said goodbye. Turn around and do not look back”. Starting the day upset is difficult for child and parent. She advises as brief a goodbye as possible.
  • Take yourself off to have a nice cup of coffee or tea and a treat.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for surviving one of the many heart wrenching moments in life.

That evening and Ongoing

  • Discuss the positive points of the day “What did you most enjoy about your day?” and “Which friends did you have fun with?”.
  • Don’t worry if when you ask the question “What did you do today?” the response is “Nothing”. Young children often don’t remember details of their day and may need down time after school. Open ended questions such as ” How was your day?”, “What did you do at recess?” are less interrogating and more inviting for children. They may not always want to talk about school.
  • Keep the conversation opportunities flowing. We will be discussing books that address school issues at home.

Taking Care of Myself is a great book for initiating discussion about personal safely. It includes information on how to be healthy, play safely, explores what feels ok and standing tall. In the first few week of school many teachers will be setting rules and expectations for school and the classroom. It is the perfect time to open up discussion about personal safety.

How do you prepare for the first day of school?

What do you think?

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