I remember when my daughter was close to entering Kindergarten. I had a recurring nightmare that I would forget to register her and show up to school the first day and say, “Here you go.” And hear them say, “Sorry we are full.” It wasn’t until the second grade that this almost happened.
Nevertheless, preparing your child for Kindergarten isn’t as hard as you may think. Children pick up on things as they grow and as long as they can sing their ABCs, count, hop, skip, and jump they are good to go. Reading with your child and providing learning opportunities with other children will prepare them for what’s to come.
As the first day of school quickly approaches there are a few things you may want to do in preparation.
Preparing for Kindergarten
School Registration – This is where I almost got myself in trouble. You think that just because you live near a school your child will get in (okay maybe I am the only one that thinks that). Before you can register your child you first need to determine which school they will be attending. Don’t assume it’s the closest, you never know. Some schools have a limited number of students they can accept so don’t waste any time getting the school’s procedures and policies.
Gather School Information – Learn a few things about the school. Do they have a good report card? Who is the principal? Who will your child’s teacher be? What forms need filled out? What does the Kindergarten program consist of? Can your child take the bus? What food services are available? There are many questions to be answered and you can get most of them before school begins or by attending the school’s Back to School Night.
Child Expectations – Prepare your child ahead of time by knowing the school’s expectations. Sometimes the parent’s expectations and the schools’ differ, for example, the academic program isn’t strong enough. You can meet with the teacher to discuss or consider a different school. If you know what the school expects from your child you can help them meet those expectations.
Visit the School – It goes without saying that you can learn a lot by visiting the school. When you do visit, go with your child and walk the halls, visit the gym, cafeteria, class room and library. Don’t worry about your child getting lost on the first day, or any day for that matter, there are plenty of helpers directing these new students to where they need to go.
Talk with Your Child – Let them know that going to school is a big deal. It is an exciting and special event for both children and parents! BTW – from my experience children are wired to respond to the questions; “How was school today?” and “What did you learn?” with “Good.” and “I don’t know.”
Get Involved – There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with your child’s class. The teacher is always in need of helpers for various activities, field trips and parties. It’s a neat thing to see your kid in the school environment and being the perfect little angel you wish they would be at home.
Starting school is an exciting and nervous time for everyone. It will require adjusting for the whole family but it will be rewarding as your little one just seems that much closer to adulthood.