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Can you believe it is already time to register children for the Fall of 2018 kindergarten?
There are few times as exciting for parents as the time our children transition into kindergarten. In my experience as a school principal, our kindergarteners arrive with eyes shining, anticipating their first day at the big school. Every year, I find myself reassuring a few parents that this new experience will be a positive and warm introduction to school for their children. A strong kindergarten program should provide a balance between the structure of learning and the emotional support necessary to ensure that learning can occur.
Preparing for Kindergarten
As you begin to think about how best to prepare your child for kindergarten, I believe it is important to remember that kindergarten is a continuation of the great work you have already accomplished as a parent. Your children have already achieved many of life’s milestones. They have done this in the warmth of your home surrounded by your love and support. When this happens in the natural environment of your home, it creates an association between learning and achieving in the context of a loving and supportive emotional environment. This is the key to early learning. It means that kindergarteners come to us excited about learning. It also creates a recipe for success for every early learner.
In your home, I would encourage you to continue to create these warm learning experiences. In particular, when you are reading to your child, pull them up into your lap. Nurture your child through early reading skills. Engage in conversational questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” “Which character would you want to be friends with?” Actively reading aloud will provide your child with important skills which are precursors for literacy. All children should love to read. It will open the entire world to them.
Using Food as a Learning Tool
Food is one of the best materials for early learning.
Raisins, nuts, and small candies can be used as manipulatives for counting. You can also help your child create patterns and replicate patterns. This is an important math skill. One of my favorite activities for early learning is cooking. Measuring is an ideal introduction to math skills. Most young children enjoy being helpers in the kitchen and will take pride in helping mom and dad create a yummy treat for the family.
It is always more efficient for us to do this without our children. But when we take that little extra time to include them, the learning opportunities are immeasurable!
Kindergarten is often the first place children navigate the tricky waters of friendships.
Young children will continue to learn how to work with others in kindergarten. And they will learn that friendships are important. Sometimes, there will be hurt feelings when disputes happen. This is a natural part of learning how to be a good friend and how to resolve conflict. Kindergarten teachers are great facilitators of these newfound friendships. In addition, you can assist your child by encouraging kind words. It is also appropriate to teach young children to not be afraid to say, “My feelings are hurt!” Social-emotional development happens over a long period of time. Learning to navigate relationships is an important part of early learning.
Perhaps the most important message that parents can send to their children is that they are competent. Children are remarkable in how they can grow and by the time they are kindergarteners, they can be insistent about asserting their independence. As you are preparing to send your child off to kindergarten, think about how to encourage independence. Assist your children in learning to get ready for school. Can they dress themselves? Can they manage to open their lunch? Are they confident to play independently for a short period of time? These are skills that will serve your kindergartener well.
Children need to know that mom and dad believe that they are competent and have the ability to excel. Positive affirmations are important for all of us!
Embracing Their Independence
This is often a bittersweet time for parents. Seeing your children take the next step in their independence is both an occasion for rejoicing and a bit nostalgic as this really is the time we release them into a bigger world. It is my hope that kindergarten is a natural extension of the amazing work you will continue to do at home. When children arrive excited to learn and knowing that they are competent and able to succeed, they are set up for a lifetime of success.
Kindergarten at Monument Academy
The mission of Monument Academy is to provide a challenging, content-rich, academic program offered within an engaging, caring, and positive learning environment.
Enjoy this glimpse into Kindergarten at Monument Academy. To find out more, join Monument Academy for Parent Information Night on January 25th from 5:00 – 6:00 P.M and for Kindergarten Roundup on January 26th at 2:00 P.M.