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?

Literacy Links – Preparation for Kindergarten

Daisy is very fortunate to be entering a school division that runs a Literacy Links programme to support children entering Kindergarten and Grade One. We had a wonderful facilitator visit our home once to work with Daisy for an hour. She is coming back to do another three sessions during the next month. Daisy counted the sleeps waiting for her to arrive and is now eagerly awaiting the next session.

Here is the low down on what Literacy Links is:

Literacy Links supports parents with pre-school children in understanding how to develop a positive literacy environment in the home setting and make the important links between home and school.

Literacy Links is a program in the St. James Assiniboia School Division that is offered May to August and is free of charge to all families of children entering kindergarten in the fall. Trained facilitators will work with families to demonstrate and to assist them in providing developmentally appropriate and enriching learning experiences.

The focus of the program will include:

  • Book selection and parent-child interaction during reading
  • Environmental print (i.e. signs, labels, logos, etc.)
  • Rhymes, songs and word games to develop phonological awareness
  • Appropriate writing opportunities
  • Learning letter names and sounds
  • Math concepts (i.e. patterning, counting, number recognition)
  • Suggestions for a positive transition to Kindergarten
Families will be provided with a home package of materials that include literacy information and guides, books, activities and games.
Daisy is enjoying playing with the resources we received in our literacy links pack.
Here is a list of suggested resources if you would like to make a similar pack to give to a child or class of children getting ready for Kindergarten. Click on the image for more information.
Play dough– a wonderful way to build fine motor skills. Relating the play to counting and letters adds to skill learning.
Chubby Stump Crayons– colouring and writing are always to be encouraged. These crayons are short and encourage little hands to use the correct grip for writing. Providing blank books or simply paper, and allowing time to respond to picture book or activities during the day, is a great opportunity to sneak in some letter and work learning.
Phonetically Coloured Letters Magnets– go a little further than the regular coloured magnets in helping children identify vowels. Here you can see how clearly the C.V.C. relationship is demonstrated using red and blue letter magnets.
The Super Sorting pie covered a variety of early math skills including counting, sorting, identifying and making patterns and reasoning. The tweezers that come with the pie encourage fine motor development and are quite simply fun to use.
Books that you love! If you love reading them, whoever you are reading them too will share your enthusiasm.
Easy readers– choose fun books students can learn to read easily and therefore enjoy their success. This series was a huge hit with us.
So even if you don’t have a wonderful resource like Literacy Links, you can put together your own kit to help prepare your students or child for Kindergarten.