Children who begin kindergarten with a firm foundation will have a much easier time transitioning. While our own children never went to preschool, today many children do. I taught preschool and have seen the importance to building a firm foundation for a child so when they enter into kindergarten, they are prepared. I also spent many years as a teaching assistant in an elementary school and learned the importance of these ten simple tasks to help your child along their journey through the years at school.
1. Know their name, first and last is important. If they can write their first name that is great!
2. Have some concept of following the rules, such as being a good listener and raising your hand or waiting your turn. Teaching your child to also ask questions, just be sure to follow the rules! You must have rules at home, what are they?The teacher will share the classroom rules. When you just tell a child to BEHAVE, doesn't explain anything. Talk with your child what it means to have good behavior, this is a great place to start. Here is Let's Behave by Behavior Bear available on Amazon here.
3. Know what a book is. When I was on the Reading Team, we did assessments on the children.
Some of the things we looked for were the following:
a. Do they know where the cover of a book is?
b. Do they hold the book upright and ready to look inside?
c. Do they know what an author is?
d. If you introduce a book to your child, it's not so much reading a book as it is to 'walk' through
the story. We call this a picture walk. Ask what they see in the picture, maybe point out a word
or two before you begin the story. Read anything with and to your child as often as you can.
4. Can your child get dressed by themselves? They might not match head to toe, but it's important that they can get dressed themselves. Pull on pants, or tops are great and so are Velcro or slip on shoes until you can teach them to tie. You can help adjust their outfit afterwards.
5. Is your child independent enough to use the bathroom on their own? This helps a lot!
6. Can your child use scissors? They will be cutting a lot in kindergarten. Practice using scissors
with your child. Here are some tips. Scissors on Amazon
7. Does your child know their colors and shapes?
Most anything we see, touch, feel and taste has a color. Point this out to your child. Carrots are orange, your eyes are..and ask them about colors, too. What is your favorite food? What color is it? I can never have enough crayons to be honest! When Crayola retired the color Dandelion, my daughter bought me my own container full of them plus a life size crayon so that I would never run out! The color just makes me smile and so does she. Shape Up with Healthy Hippo is a fun and engaging way to teach your children different shapes and colors available here.
8. Can your child count to 10? Perhaps include your child in the kitchen, ask them to count out ten carrots or five lettuce leaves or two slices of bread. Showing the number correlation to the object is very helpful, too.
9. Can your child identify any letters or sounds of the letters? Try to teach them at least the first letter of their name. This is a great start!
10. How does your child transition from leaving a parent or caregiver? Please try to bring them to school knowing that you are coming back in a short while to listen to everything that they learned that day! They miss you when they're not with you. Be excited to greet them.
Starting something new is exciting, especially a new adventures into school. As a parent, naturally you want their experience to be positive and a good experience. Honestly, I always thought that if we can grab a child's enthusiasm early to want to be at school, to learn new things, to make new friend, to help others and take adventures, these years will go by quickly. Before you know it they'll be asking for the car keys! Give them a strong foundation at an early age, you'll find peace in this and your child will benefit from learning to make good choices.
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Principal Kim Henderson said, “Oglesby Elementary is a school located in Chicago, IL in a neighborhood in Englewood- one of the top 10 dangerous neighborhoods in the city. We were gifted with this wonderful resource that my Pre-k teachers have been using with our youngest scholars daily! Character education has not been taught in schools for many years but we thought this was an amazing way to bring it back but in a way that our kids could relate to and enjoy. They love the characters that go with each trait and remember the lessons long after they end! We plan to expand to kindergarten classes next year!