How to help your child be ready for school
Social and Emotional
• Let them know you are excited about them stating school
• Take them to the school campus before the first day
• Listen to your child's thoughts about school
• Play 'going to school' pretend games
• Teach your child to follow simple directions
• Teach your child ways to calm down when he/she gets frustrated
• Encourage your child to explore new activities
• Help your child learn something new step by step
• Teach your child that making mistakes is part of learning
• Encourage your child to draw, dance, sing or play an instrument
• Help your child be observant about his/her surroundings
Using Words and Numbers
• Teach your child new words
• Show your child words and symbols
• READ, READ, READ to your child
• Ask questions about the stories you read
• Sing songs and teach your child rhymes
• Give your child things to sort by shape, size or color
• Play counting games
• Show your child how numbers are used all around them
Health and Safety
• Help your child practice saying their name and address
• Teach your child how to cross the street safely
• Teach your child who to ask for help when needed
• Give your child time to play outdoors
• Make sure your child gets enough sleep every night
• Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner
• Take your child to the doctor and dentist for regular check ups
Information courtesy of the Foundation for Early Learning
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."