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Getting Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

   freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

Many parents ask how to prepare their child for kindergarten.  The answer to that question is not a simple to do list.  It is not a quick preparation, but a life long learning process.  What your children learn from birth will prepare them for all the new adventures that life will offer.

Newborn babies are totally dependent on caregivers to take care of their basic needs.  A caregiver must feed babies regularly, nurture them, talk to them, bath and dress them in order for the baby to grow and survive.  Babies learn to cry as a way to communicate with the caregivers and soon realize how to get reactions from others by smiling and making sounds. They will learn to trust that needs are being met as caregivers respond to them. Babies soon begin to develop skills that will help them survive as they get older and begin to feed themselves, crawl, walk and move around by themselves.  They begin to explore their environment and discover how things are manipulated with their hands, feet and mouth.

As young children begin to develop language, they discover new communication skills that help them get what they need, (or want).  Children need to be talked to and read to often to help them develop language.  They will hear the words and try to imitate them.  Social situations are very important in fostering language and communication skills.  Children learn by examples of what is shown and taught to them.  Ask them questions so they can learn how to listen and respond.

Young child with book.

Young child with book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Self -help skills are extremely important to attain independence.  They must know how to feed themselves, take care of bathroom needs, wash their hands and dress themselves.  Children must learn how to interact and socialize with people around them, through actions and conversations.  Playing with other children can help with concepts of sharing, taking turns, and making friends.  (see my blog posted previously about social skills). Children that have learned the alphabet, and numbers have a head start when they are to begin kindergarten.  How to hold a pencil, use scissors and how to write their name gives them a great advantage too.  They need to know how to problem solve, follow directions and finish a task.

Children must be able experience new environments such as; the park, grocery store, zoo, other people’s home or daycare centers, to be able to see other people to gain knowledge.  They need to ask questions to understand situations unfamiliar to them.  This will help them adjust to new opportunities.  They need to be able to be comfortable in new places as well as emotionally strong enough, brave enough, to be away from caretakers.

So, how to prepare children for kindergarten starts from birth.  Children must learn to be able to communicate with adults and other children.  They must have self-help skills, be physically, emotionally and cognitively mature enough to be able to be on their own.  This is what they have learned from the moment they are born.

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Is your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

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Is my child ready for kindergarten?

This is a question many parents ask.  With the high standards for kindergarten, many early childhood teachers are happy about the new age requirements to start kindergarten.  Check out www.teachingfirst.net to see the standards for California.

The Kindergarten Readiness act of 2010 for California has changed the entry age into kindergarten to be 5 years old.  The 2013-2014 school year the cut off date is October 2nd, which means the child must be 5 before October 2 to be eligible for a regular kindergarten program.  Next school year, 2014-2015, the cut off date will be September 2nd.  Check out www.cde.ca.gov for a better understanding of the Kindergarten Readiness Act with the FAQ page.

The school districts now offer a Transitional Kindergarten program for the fall birthdays that are not old enough for the regular kindergarten.  This year the child must be having their 5th birthday between October 2nd and December 2nd.  Next year it will be September 2nd through December 2nd.

Age is one ingredient for school readiness, but being socially, emotionally and physically ready are very important too.  A quality preschool program that stresses social learning through play is a proven factor in getting children ready for Kindergarten.  Children must learn how to communicate with others, follow directions, share and play well with others.  Being able to separate from mom and dad without fears and tears is a good sign of being emotionally ready. Also children also need to be physically ready for kindergarten by being able to take care of their own bathroom needs (buttons and zippers), be able to hold pencils and cut with scissors.Most good preschool programs will help children develop these skills as the children interact and play together.  Children learn while they play!

There are many great webpages with tips on getting your child ready for kindergarten on the web.  Just Google kindergarten readiness and see what comes up.  Next time you are surfing the web check out a few of my favorite blog and websites: 123kindergarten.com, mamasmiles.com and familyeducation.com.

Happy surfing!

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What Parents Should Avoid when Children First Start School

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For many parents leaving their child at school for the first time is an emotional roller coaster.  They may feel excited and delighted that their child will start school but also feel apprehensive about leaving them.  In my experience as a teacher and director for young children, many parents have a much more difficult time leaving their child at school then the child has in going. It is quite often that I have seen moms (and dads too) go out the front door with tears in their eyes.

 ID-10063156As a parent, it is natural to feel a sense of loss when you separate from your child, just as the child does.  It is best to prepare your child, and yourself, for the separation.  Read books about going to school with your child. For example, Molly Goes to Preschool.

Do your research and find a preschool or daycare center you will feel comfortable leaving your child in.  I recommend to my new parents to visit the school a few times with your child to help them become familiar with it.  Start out with the child staying a shorter time without you for the first few times they go, then work up to the regular time.

I have created a list of what not to do as a parent when leaving your child for the first time at school. These are a few techniques that I recommend to my new families when they first start their child in the center.

DO NOT:

  • Cry in front of your child – it is better to stay upbeat and positive so your child will be less apprehensive about staying, (you can cry after you leave)
  • Sneak out – it is better to say goodbye and let your child know that you are leaving and will be back soon
  • Show your nervousness – your child is sensitive to your feelings and may pick up your discomfort and be worried and scared
  • Hang around after you say good-bye – even if your child is crying, it only prolongs the separation
  • Apologize to your child for leaving them at school – this will send them a message that you are doing something wrong
  • Miss days of attendance – except if the child is ill.  It is best to establish a routine so the child can get use to going to school consistently
  • Let your child manipulate you.  Children can learn to manipulate you at a young age and make you feel guilty when they cry.  Understand that they are scared, but assure them they are safe and you will return to get them.

This list may help the transition to school go a little more smoothly.  Most of all remember that you are the parent and you know what is best for your own child.

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