Ensuring your child is Kindergarten ready
Starting Kindergarten is a momentous and sometimes daunting event for both children and parents. Prior to your child’s first day at ‘big school’, there are many things you can do to ensure the experience is a positive one for all. The aim, of course, is to support children so that they are keen to go to school each day, and settle quickly into the routines and expectations of their new learning environment. When this happens, your child will inevitably start to progress sooner and achieve more highly.
Here are three ways to develop a love of learning in your child:
1. Weave early learning into every day experiences
Children are naturally curious and is it critical to their success at school that this curiosity is fostered. Encourage your child to be observant about their environment and experiences. Discuss their observations and encourage lots of questions. Where possible, help your child explore and allow them to develop their own understanding of the world around them.
Many family activities like gardening, shopping, cooking, games nights and sporting activities are perfect opportunities for incidental learning, and the value of involving young children should not be underestimated. It builds their knowledge of, for example, letter recognition, rhyming, counting, estimating, measuring, dividing, money and patterns. It also aids their oral communication skills, and fine and gross motor skill development. Of course, all children relish and benefit from listening to and making music, singing and dancing. Exposure to these experiences will stand them in good stead in those early days of school and indeed beyond.
Finally, read, read, read! Read to, with, and in front of your children. By doing this, they appreciate from a young age that it is a skill used in the real world and one that you value. Incorporate a wide variety of multimodal texts (those that combine two or more communication modes, for example, images, gestures, music, spoken language or written language) into regular reading routines – both fiction and non-fiction. Spend time discussing meaning, purpose, language features and images.
2. Equip them with self-management skills
At school, your son will need to manage himself and his belongings without your help. In the months before starting school, help him to achieve a degree of independence and confidence by teaching him to dress himself. Practise putting shoes on and taking them off, doing up and undoing buttons, and packing and unpacking his bag. Good hygiene practices like hand washing and nose blowing are also important behaviours to master before beginning school.
3. Develop resilience
At school, your child will be part of a group, and this can be a significant adjustment for some children. They need to learn that sometimes it is necessary to share and to take turns. Sometimes they have to wait, they aren’t always first and can’t always win. Children who have spent time socialising with other children prior to starting school will adapt to these situations more easily.
Being part of a larger group than the family unit also requires that children are able to assert themselves. Resilience can be developed by allowing children to attempt to solve problems with their peers on their own initially, so that they gain the confidence and skills to negotiate and resolve conflict when parents are not at hand to do this on a child’s behalf. When your child encounters what they perceive to be an injustice, help them to keep the problem in perspective and encourage resilience by not allowing him to always win games, or go first for example, and model behaviour by moving on quickly from perceived negative situations. These skills will allow your child to move on from situations they find challenging quickly, rather than feeling helpless and overwhelmed.
At Trinity Grammar School we encourage parents to have early and frequent communication with the Kindergarten classroom teachers and the various specialist staff who interact with the boys. We recognise that every boy is unique and understand that the more information we have about your son, the more effectively we can help him to realise his potential, passions and purpose in life.
We have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit for over a century. To find out more about the Trinity difference, and why ensuring your child is Kindergarten Ready is essential, download our Kindergarten Ready document.