As you prepare your little one for the schooldays ahead, remember that early learning includes more than just the ABCs. In kindergarten, your child will spend time exploring new concepts and attempting new skills, so an enthusiastic attitude toward discovery can assist in readiness. Model this enthusiasm for your child by showing an interest in the world around you.
Developing your child’s listening skills can make for excellent classroom practice and be a lot of fun. Animatedly reading stories makes you an interesting point of focus, and your child will care about the words you use. This also helps develop a ready vocabulary and prepares your child for an interest in reading.
Practice Makes Prepared
When your child learns in a classroom, other children will be present, so you should simulate this environment in other ways. Give your little one plenty of playtime with peers, developing early social skills such as sharing.
Of course, pre-kindergarten most closely resembles the kindergarten setting. Studies have shown that children who attend pre-kindergarten score higher in reading and math throughout the first several years of school than those who don’t, even with otherwise similar backgrounds. In these classrooms, early childhood experts also foster skills necessary for classroom independence, such as washing hands, using pencils and following multi-step instructions.
Hungry (for Education)? Why Wait?
Hoping to give their children an edge in development, many parents refrain from enrolling their little ones in kindergarten for a year after the minimum age. The reasoning goes something like: When children are naturally more advanced, they’ll more readily excel in a classroom.
While this logic may have merits, it ignores some major facts. Kindergarten will be a new experience for an unschooled child, regardless of age. Children will be challenged by the new experience, and challenge can lead to learning. Preparation begins at home, so take that into account before considering redshirting your child.
Search “kindergarten anxiety” above for helpful first-year tips.
This article was reviewed by Jane Fesenmeier, M.D., pediatrician, St.Vincent Medical Group.