As the current school year ends and summer approaches, schools are beginning to think about next year. While 2020 is bringing a unique set of challenges to those plans, families with students entering kindergarten most likely have more traditional concerns. Namely, is my child really ready for kindergarten?
Typically, Kindergarten readiness focuses on three areas: academic skills, motor skills, and social/emotional skills.
Academic Success Starts With the Basics
Bremen Public Schools prides itself on having high academic expectations for its students and successful college placement rates, but when your child is entering kindergarten, those days can seem a long way off. Time passes quickly, though, and helping your child master some basic skills now will help them build a strong foundation for their academic career in the years to come. As you look towards your child’s first day of kindergarten, help them with the basics of letters, numbers and shapes:
- Identifying letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make
- Identifying colors and shapes
- Sorting items into categories
This article from Education.com has some great suggestions for incorporating this learning into your days and making it fun!
Motor Skills Grow Mind and Body
Developing fine motor skills before kindergarten will also help ensure that your child is ready to learn. Remember that your child may now be expected to independently perform certain tasks that you or preschool teachers were willing to help with. Help your child gain the confidence he or she will need to succeed in a new school setting by making sure they are beginning to master basic motor skills:
- tying their shoes
- zipping and buttoning their clothes
- writing their first name
This list of skills to work on before kindergarten can help you think about areas where your child might also need additional support and reminders, such as cleaning up or managing bathroom needs.
Emphasize Social and Emotional Skills
One of the best ways to help prepare students for kindergarten is to help them develop the social skills they will need to work with others. Provide your child with plenty of opportunities to interact with other children, and if possible, other adults in settings where they can begin to practice classroom rules:
- taking turns and sharing
- following directions
- listening without interrupting
Learning these skills will also help students begin to embody the values of mutual respect and caring for the community that we pride ourselves in at Bremen Public Schools.
Of course, it’s normal for children to be scared as that all-important first day of school nears, but you can help ease those jitters by taking some simple steps:
- Talk about school and what your child can expect
- If possible, attend Open House
- Meet your child’s new teacher and visit the classroom
Reading books about school is also a great way to help your child understand what to expect. Told with a rhyming cadence similar to The Night Before Christmas, Natasha Wing’s book The Night Before Kindergarten is a fun resource to share, but there are plenty of others titles out there, too!
Remember that every child develops at his or her own pace and complete mastery of the tips listed here and in the links above is not necessary. The child who misses Mom on the first day or who can’t recognize all the letters in September might very well be the same child who quickly grasps the next math concept in December! Particularly this year, when so much about every child’s academic progress is in question, focusing on the basics while supporting and loving a child are the best things any parent can do.
Send your child to a school system that shares your values and prides itself on helping every student succeed, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Bremen Public Schools is now accepting online registration for kindergarten and pre-school.