Summer days have just begun. The days get longer and hotter. You registered your child for Kindergarten because she is 5 years old, but you begin to worry. Is my child ready?
There is no simple answer to this question. Children are “ready” for the rigors of kindergarten with a good background of basic skills and a willingness to learn. To be ready is so much more than knowing the ABCs, naming colors and shapes, or counting to 30. It’s about listening when the teacher is talking. It is about sharing the teacher’s attention. It’s about managing one’s own zipper, buttons, and toileting needs. It’s about showing independence and asking questions respectfully when you need help. It’s about using words to express your ideas and knowing that books have stories and information for learning.
As a parent, look for summer opportunities to help your child to “get ready” for the year ahead. Read books daily to expand her learning vocabulary. Make sure your child can manage her own physical needs; putting on her coat and shoes, toileting independently, washing her hands, and opening and closing her own backpack. Give her experiences with other children in community or faith based programs, so that she can learn to share, both materials and adult attention. Practice writing her name and the names of family members. Make sure she knows her first and last name, parent’s name, and address. Most of all, take time to talk with her daily about the exciting experience that is to come. Reassure her that she will be fine, and remind her how proud you are of how she has grown.
Kindergarten is the first step in a long relationship that you and your child will have with the school system. Plan for success and both of you will have a marvelous school career!