Guest Post By Tami Phay
Fall is fast approaching and it is that time of year again . . . school is about to start! This time, it’s extra special for you as you prepare for your “baby” to head off to kindergarten! Every parent wonders if their child is prepared for life as a kindergartner, but how do you really know if they are? As a kindergarten teacher, I can offer some helpful tips on getting your child ready to launch into the world of learning. Many parents focus on the academics often forgetting the social and fine motor aspects of school. Of course it is great if your child comes into kindergarten knowing every letter and sound, can count to 100, and knows all their colors, but do they need to? Well if they did, I would be out of a job. Helping your child learn some of their letters, sounds, numbers, and colors is a great start, but as I mentioned before there is more to kindergarten then just the academics. Here are a few tips to help ensure your child is completely ready for kindergarten:
- Make sure your child can put on and zip their coat. When winter arrives and the kids are scrambling to get out to recess and the teacher cannot put on and zip 24 coats!
- Put your child in pants that they can zip and unzip themselves. I can’t tell you how many students come out of the bathroom with their pants half on because they can’t zip, button, or buckle themselves.
- If your child is still learning to tie their shoes then make life easier for them and get them shoes with Velcro. When your child’s shoe comes untied, it not only becomes a safety issue but remember that it might only take you one minute to tie your child’s shoe but multiply that by 24 students…and the teacher could easily spend the whole day retying shoes.
- Have a plan for how your child will normally get home from school and go over it with your child several times. If your child rides the bus, put a tag on their backpack with their bus number and what street they get off on. Unfortunately, I have seen kindergartners get off on the wrong stop and panic sets in! Little kiddos also get very anxious when they are not sure they know the plan for how they are getting home.
- If your child will be eating lunch at school, don’t over pack a lunch! Parents will often give their child way too many options in their lunch box thinking their child can just pick and chose what they want to eat, but many kids get worried about what to eat and if they can finish it all during lunch time. Make it simple.
- Talk to your child once they start school. Encourage them to talk about their new friends, what they are learning, and what they are doing. This helps you to get a glimpse into their school life and get a feel for anything that might concern you that you want to discuss with the teacher.
Enjoy this new chapter of your life and happy learning!
Tami is currently a kindergarten teacher. She has also been a first and fourth grade teacher.