Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten
Activities to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
The prospect of your child starting kindergarten in the fall may seem overwhelming for both you and your son or daughter. However, there are many ways that you can help prepare your child to get ready for kindergarten and have fun at the same time!
Make Necessary Appointments
Parent orientation, often called “Kindergarten Roundup,” is an important meeting that takes place in late spring. If you haven’t heard anything about this meeting from your local school, call the office or search for information on the school or district websites.
When you attend the parent orientation, you’ll receive important information, like the names of office staff, the principal, and classroom teachers, the school schedule, and health forms that need to be filled out before the first day of school. Summer is a perfect time to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for necessary immunizations required by the school along with a physical. Take advantage of this opportunity to schedule an appointment for your child with the dentist as well for a cleaning and checkup!
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Take a Fieldtrip
It’s never too early to start talking about kindergarten. Sometimes children are invited to an orientation day where they tour the school. Even if your school offers a tour, you can always schedule a day to visit the school with your child, pointing out the locations of the classroom, bathrooms, cafeteria, library, gym, and the bus pick-up and drop-off area. This extra information will help you and your child process through the upcoming changes and transitions associated with starting kindergarten.
Build Skills of Independence
A daily routine will help your whole family transition from summer fun into the new school year. Create a chart with a written schedule of the day – including pictures – that shows when your child needs to get up, get dressed for the day or for bed, brush his/her teeth, and when it’s time to eat meals. This schedule can also include small jobs or chores that your child can do on his or her own, like putting clothes away, emptying the dishwasher with help, and cleaning up the bedroom.
Your child can also practice more independent tasks, like tying, snapping, buttoning and zipping clothing, as well as getting dressed themselves. Practice good hygiene habits, like washing hands and covering your mouth when coughing, and reinforce the importance of manners (i.e. please, thank you, excuse me).
Out and About
Practicing skills for kindergarten doesn’t need to occur only at home. Use your time while you’re out and about to expose your children to a wide variety of experiences.
*Visit the local library for story time, craft time, puppet shows and to check out books
*Head to the local Children’s Museum for educational play
*Set up play times with neighborhood kids and/or fellow future kindergarteners, promoting skills like taking turns, sharing, playing, talking, and expressing feelings
*Head to the park for outside time each day with other children in your area
Review Basic Skills
At this age, children are developing literacy, math and fine motor skills that are all important in kindergarten. Use the following activities to review these basic skills with your child.
*Read each day for 15 minutes with your child, focusing on alphabet books and reviewing letter names and sounds
*Practice counting to 100, writing numbers in order from 1 to 10, and sorting groups (like classifying buttons by color)
*Write words and numbers and draw pictures using sidewalk chalk
*Practice memorizing your address and phone number
*Use play dough, pudding, shaving cream or a small tray of rice or sand to write in
*Sing nursery Rhymes, silly songs and fingerplays
*Put together a craft box with crayons, scissors, glue, paints, fabric, markers and paper scraps to create art masterpieces
*Attach labels around the house to encourage your child to recognize print and connect words to objects
These tips can be done throughout the transition from preschool and through the summer, ensuring success for your kindergartener in the fall!
Kelly Wilson is a former teacher, busy mom and freelance writer. For more information about how to teach kids to take care of their teeth, contact Dr. Randy Morgan, DMD, a Dentist in Newberg, Oregon.