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Teacher tips for setting children up for success in kindergarten

Teacher tips for setting children up for success in kindergarten

Teaching children how to take turns and share before they start school will help them be successful, said local kindergarten teachers.

POSTED August 5, 2014 9:36 p.m.


Each year, another group of parents or guardians embarks on the difficult, and at times overwhelming, task of preparing their children for kindergarten. To help alleviate the confusion and uncertainty, the Turlock Unified School District and local kindergarten teachers offered advice and emphasized the importance of preparing children early in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
"I think it's important for parents to talk positively about school and get a positive mindset started early on about school," said kindergarten teacher Mindi Barnes. "Hopefully, the parents' excitement will lead on to the child's excitement as well."
Before sending a child to kindergarten, parents and guardians are encouraged to read stories aloud, make a habit of singing songs, recite nursery rhymes, and play rhyming games. By doing this, parents will promote vocabulary development, language skills, oral comprehension, and literacy at the kindergarten level. Children will also be able to develop phonological skills that will help them enhance their reading skills later on.
"Do a lot of communicating at home," said transitional kindergarten teacher Sandra Lopez. "Ask them questions and just be very verbal."
Parents should play games with their children that involve counting, identifying letters and numbers, and the naming of certain objects. They should also provide crayons, markers, and pencils to their children and encourage them to draw pictures. These types of games and activities will help build the child's awareness of print and number concepts, as well as serve as a precursor to writing.
It is also important establish and enforce social skills such as taking turns, sharing, working independently and following simple directions. Learning these skills will help future kindergarten students prepare for the general academic rigors of the classroom, as well as the social opportunities that being in school presents.
"Parents should teach them to not be afraid to come to school," Lopez added. "They should encourage coming to school with an open mind, meeting new friends, getting to know their teacher, and just know that learning is fun."
Lopez and Barnes said that all kindergarten students need for the first day is a big backpack and a positive attitude. As for the parents and guardians who might still be uneasy about sending their children off on the first day, Barnes offered some comforting words.
"The first day is tough, but I think what eases parents' minds is when they pick up their child from school and they're able to see the smile on their face and know that they had a good day," Barnes said. "I think, as a parent, that's what you want, just for your child to be happy."

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