Kindergarten Readiness

Parents are interested in seeing their young children do well in school and often ask about things they might do at home that would be helpful. We delight to see our children become all that God would have them be.

An area in which home and school work together is relationship building. We want our children to believe in and learn to love God and the plan He has for their lives. We encourage children to grow in their love and respect for their family and school friends. Learning to take responsibility for their actions is often a difficult lesson; accepting the consequences of actions is also necessary.

Kids who come to school able to read, write and count are not really better prepared than those who can’t, in my opinion.You’ve likely heard, "everything I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten”. However, there are important lessons outside the classroom. Many life skills needed in the classroom are learned at home.

Can your child dress independently? Buttons and zippers can be challenging when rushing to go out to recess. Does your child know how to blow his nose? Can your child open the lunch containers? Are "flush and wash hands” part of the bathroom routine? Does your child take responsibility in packing the backpack? When speaking to others, does your child make eye contact? In our classroom, we often chant, "The more you practice, the better you get”. So true!

Here are some things I think make for a successful first year at school.

1. The one most important activity is reading, reading, and reading some more. Your child will enjoy this special time with you and will gain many skills as he/she listens to your voice. Reading storybooks, poetry and nursery rhymes as well as sharing non-fiction books about things that interest your child will enrich the language experience. Consider a library card as a gift for your child’s next birthday.

2. Help your child learn to recognize his/her name. Use dry-erase markers on plastic picnic plates or whiteboards, sidewalk chalk or bright crayons. Make a dotted path and let your child trace over it to print the name. In our classroom we use an uppercase letter only at the beginning of the name.

3. Build up those little finger muscles and learn to hold a pencil with a proper grip. This is difficult at first, so give lots of exercise working with playdoh, stringing beads, using tweezers to pick up pompoms or buttons, or stacking blocks.

4. Allow lots of time to use scissors cutting various materials—newspaper, cloth, cardboard from cereal boxes, gradually increasing the thickness to cut. At school we practice snipping, fringing, and cutting on curves and corners. Developing a proper grasp is important when using this tool, too.

5. Count as often as you can. Everyday events such as setting the table, putting away groceries, giving out snacks, or watching birds at the feeder are great opportunities to build number sense.

Written by Kathi Cooper.

Kathi is the Junior and Senior Kindergarten teacher at Muskoka Christian School. She brings almost 30 years of teaching experience to the classroom and enjoys providing fun learning experiences to our youngest students.

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