Image courtesy of Mason Preparatory School
Kindergarten is a special school year for all children: it is a child’s first formal education. Yes, kindergarten is a time for learning academic skills in the classroom, but there is also a lot of learning to do in terms of classroom behavior, contribution to the group, and how to come to school each. day ready to learn.
There are several things you can do at home to ease your child’s transition into kindergarten. Academically, reading to and with your child is one of the best things you can do. Exposing your child to letters, numbers, and colors is also helpful for them to become familiar with these in kindergarten. Most important, however, is preparing your child socially and emotionally to start school.
The educational staff at Mason Preparatory School, located in downtown Charleston, recommend following these steps to help make your child’s first year of formal schooling easier.
1. Help them learn to listen.
Being able to listen and follow instructions is one of the most important skills in the classroom. To learn effectively, a student must be able to listen to the teacher and do what he says.
To support this skill at home:
• Give your child a direction and ask him to look at you and repeat the direction to you.
• Emphasize the importance of following your instructions the first time you ask.
• Model a good listener by watching your child when he speaks and not interrupting him.
• Leverage this skill by asking your child to follow several instructions, such as, “Please take your shoes off, put on your coat, and sit by the door.” Can you tell me what I asked you to do?
2. Teach them to do things for themselves.
Parents who do everything for their children do them no favors. Mason Prep teachers and other educators realize (and understand!) that it’s often easier and faster to do things yourself than to let your child do them, but being independent is very important to success. in kindergarten and in life.
Some age-appropriate tasks children can practice include:
• brush your teeth
• put on your shoes
• Store the toys
• Open the containers that are used in their lunch boxes
• Setting the table for family meals
• Lay out the clothes the night before (you’ll need to guide them at first, but getting into this routine is great practice for learning to plan ahead)
• Prepare their backpack the day before (you can model this behavior by also preparing your work bag – everyone wins!)
3. Encourage them to contribute.
Mason Prep teachers like to tell their students that just as a family should work as a team, with everyone involved, so should a school and a classroom. Giving your child chores teaches them to be responsible and contribute to a team and a community. Children like to know that what they are doing matters and they are proud to be able to help.
Kindergarten children can:
• Take their dishes to the sink
• Feed the pet
• Make their bed (don’t worry about how it looks!)
4. Get them involved.
• Sign your child up for an activity or two. Not only will they have fun, but they’ll also learn important skills like making new friends, listening to adults other than you (a coach, activity leader, etc.), and following other people’s rules.
• Plan play dates so that your child encounters situations where they will have to share and take turns.
• Play board games as a family. It’s a wonderful way to teach children how to win and lose gracefully.
5. Teach patience and support intrinsic motivation.
• Take your child window shopping or fishing to develop their patience.
• Help them save money for something special.
• Give sincere compliments.
• Set examples of dedication and talk to your child about how hard work gives a sense of accomplishment.
6. Help them be resilient.
It may seem like a huge undertaking, but starting these lessons at a young age will be extremely helpful for your child, not only in kindergarten, but throughout their life.
• Try not to use the word “can’t” at home. At Mason Prep, they like to use the word “yet” as in “I can’t read YET”. This reinforces the idea that all skills must be learned and practiced.
• Explain to your children that learning some things can be difficult. They need to understand that not everything comes easy, and that’s normal.
• Tell (and show) your child that it’s okay to make mistakes. This is another great behavior to model. When one of you makes a mistake, discuss with your child what can be done next time to learn from it.
7. Find out about kindergarten and the school that is best for your child.
• Visit school websites and take a tour.
• Talk to other parents about their experiences.
To learn more about Mason Prep and their kindergarten program, visit their website or download their kindergarten e-book here.
When children have developed strong social and emotional skills, they feel confident and empowered. They will come to class ready to contribute and be positive, active members of the class – and this is where the learning happens.
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