The first significant learning milestone is the first day of kindergarten. This is due to the fact that your young children are about to begin an experiential learning journey. Kindergarten is the initial stepping stone for your children towards academic growth and development, social, emotional and cognitive development and of course, long lasting friendships.
Your young learner is required to be fairly prepared for school because some children need sufficient time to get acclimated to routines. Your child will be more confident and self-assured if they know what to anticipate in general. This will ease them to adapt to their new surroundings quickly and smoothly. There is a tonne of preparation to do before your children begins kindergarten. Parents can assist their children in preparing for their first day of kindergarten in a variety of ways. In this article we have stated some useful pointers that will help you make the transition easier for your children.
Tips to Prepare Your Children for Kindergarten
- Read to your children
Read children’s books to your kids that are centred on the idea of young learners and their school and the adventures they embark on. Read such books to your kid during story time or at bed time before the start of the school year to help them get a better idea of what it will be like to attend school. Have a look at the below mentioned books:
- Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
- KINDergarten: Where Kindness Matters Every Day by Vera Ahiyya
- Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
Your children will surely feel prepared to join in on the kindergarten fun if you read these stories to them.
- Familiarise kids with the school route
Some days before your children’s first day of school, practice driving to their school or walking there together if you live close by. Point out to your kids any amusing-looking items, landmarks, or other noteworthy sights as you go to school. When discussing the school route with your child, use these as points of reference. They can use it to their advantage if they ever feel lost or unsure on their route to or from school.
- Set a routine
You should establish a routine for your kids at least two weeks before school starts. Your children will feel more prepared for the first day of school if they get accustomed to a consistent morning and night-time routine. For example, get them up early in the morning, make them shower, and then have them eat a proper breakfast. Set an early bedtime schedule for the night as well.
Gradually, cut back on your child’s nap time. For kindergarten students, many schools offer rest periods, but they are typically shorter than the nap time your child is accustomed to. Therefore, a few days before school starts, reduce the nap time by a few minutes every day.
To assist their children, realise when it’s time to leave for school, majority of parents strongly believe in establishing a proper goodbye custom, such as a high five, a tight hug or a flying kiss before heading off to school.
- Talk to your kids
Because there are so many firsts in kindergarten, it differs from previous grades in that it might feel to young children like a big pool of unknowns. Kids might consequently experience anxiety and trepidation as a result of that. Talking about it with your child might help them get over their first-day jitters. These emotions may be difficult for your children to understand, let alone articulate, but by empathetically engaging with them and asking them questions such as “is there anything you want to know about your school?” or “you seem a little nervous, may I know what’s on your mind?”, you can reassure them that they are not alone and you will always be there for them when they need you.
The more information you give your children about their first day of kindergarten, the better they will be able to mentally prepare for school. This will reduce the likelihood of your children throwing tantrums in class.
- Make your children self-dependent
Self-dependency is a crucial ability to be developed in children from early on especially school-going children. Start with the basics, such getting dressed and undressed; this will teach them how to take care of their school uniform and get ready for class on their own. Teach your children how to use the restroom at school, flush the toilet, and wash their hands since this is another crucial task your child must be able to perform without asking for any assistance from teachers or anyone else.
Basic Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
Following is the primary checklist of skills that parents must teach their children before they begin kindergarten school –
|Help them learn how to hold a pencil and crayons.|
|Knowledge of Alphabets from A to Z (both lowercase and uppercase letters) in the proper order.|
|Able to write their first and last name.|
|Phonetic and phonemic awareness|
|Identify colors along with their correct names.|
|Math skills – Number recognition from 1 to 10 and Counting.|
|Using art supplies such as glue, scissors, paint, etc.|
|Identify body parts like the head, hands and fingers, feet and toes, and so on.|
|Correct sequence of days of the week and months of the year.|
|Ability to follow directions.|
|Ability to communicate with peers.|
|Cooperates while playing with other kids.|
|Encourage your kids to express their views and ideas.|
|Asking elders or teachers for help whenever needed.|
|Knowledge of correct behaviour, manners, and etiquette.|
|Inculcate a helping nature.|
Health, Hygiene and Safety Skills
|Eat fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.|
|Physical activities such as bike riding, running, skipping, and so on.|
|Cover mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.|
|Wash hands after eating and after using the washroom.|
|Knowing their home address and parent’s contact number.|
|Show them safe places around the neighbourhood and near their school.|
|Teach the concept of ‘Stranger Danger.’|
|Basic knowledge of first aid kit.|
Resources for Preparing Kids for Kindergarten
There are various resources available that can help you prepare your young children for their first day of kindergarten school. Here are a few good ones to get you started –
Kindergarten worksheets are an excellent educational resource. Printable worksheets are ideal for getting your little one ready for kindergarten. There are worksheets available that cover important areas such as arithmetic, language, science, motor skills, and many more. These worksheets are customizable and you can even prepare one on your own for your children. Topics such as the alphabet, five senses, parts of the body, identifying the odd object, days and months, seasons, and many more can be taught to kids with the help of these worksheets.
Check out the worksheets we have curated as a learning resource for your kids to help them prepare for kindergarten.
Engaging their children in simple and enjoyable activities is an excellent resource for parents preparing their children for kindergarten.
(a) Math activities
- Collect 10 using dice
Each player has to roll two dice and if the sum of it is 10, that player earns a point. The player who rolls a 10 majority of times is declared the winner. Parents can play this game with their children. This activity helps kids in number recognition and counting.
- Missing number
Arrange small items such as grapes or marbles in sets of two, three, six, and so on. In between skip a few numbers and instruct your children to place as many items as the missing number. For instance, if they identify a gap between 4 grapes and 6 grapes, your child will put 5 grapes to complete the sequence.
- Count the object
Gather five small boxes. Place a different number of items such as balls or dice in each of these boxes. Ask your children to pick a box and count the number of items inside it. Have them speak and/or write the correct answer on paper.
(b) Language activities
- Hunt for objects
Place cut-outs of each alphabet in a jar. Have your children scoop out one letter from the jar and ask them to find at least two objects from their surroundings that start with this letter.
- Find the hidden items
Gather 3-4 small objects, show these items to your kids and then hide each of the objects at different places around the house. In order to find the objects, give clues to your children which will help them locate each and every object from its respective hiding place.
3) Kindergarten readiness kit
Dr. Anne Meeker Watson developed a program known as Sing.Play.Love for young learners. It includes a kindergarten readiness kit for children which enables them to build a strong base for early learning. This kit consists of bright, colorful, and visually pleasing picture books, printable coloring pages, music videos, downloadable songs, and a couple more resources.