Sending your child to kindergarten is a big step for the both of you. It may be the first time you are entrusting someone else with your child’s daily care and education. For your child, this step is just the beginning of his or her education journey. Make sure your preschooler is ready for kindergarten by assisting him or her in these five ways.
1. Focus on Motor Skills
Developing both gross and fine motor skills is a critical piece of learning for a preschool child preparing for kindergarten. Reinforcing your child’s gross motor skills can be as simple as playing follow the leader, setting up an obstacle course that allows your child to crawl, walk, and jump, or having a dance party. Develop fine motor skills with activities like setting the table, eating with utensils, playing with Play-Doh and building with small blocks.
2. Model Problem Solving Skills
It is important for children to understand the consequences of their actions, and how those actions can affect others. You can begin by modeling positive problem solving and using positive words to resolve conflicts at home. We can help children to understand that anger is a normal feeling, but it needs to be expressed in an appropriate way. Provide your child with tools to use when they are feeling frustrated, such as deep breathing or finding a quiet place to stop and think. Talk through choices that can be made when faced with a problem and help your child to understand the consequences of these choices whether positive or negative.
3. Read Every Day
Reading with your preschooler helps improve his communication skills by introducing him to new words that will broaden his vocabulary. When reading is incorporated into your child’s daily routine, it enhances his concentration and improves his ability to apply logic in real-life scenarios. Parents can encourage their child’s love of reading by making it a regular family activity. Your preschooler may also enjoy having a cozy reading corner or a small tent where he can go to curl up with a favorite book.
4. Build Letter and Number Recognition
While reading improves your child’s letter and number recognition, parents can reinforce these foundational concepts with their preschoolers by introducing them to a variety of learning activities and using everyday experiences to reinforce this learning. Here are some suggestions to build letter, sound, and word recognition:
- Assemble an alphabet puzzle
- Play with magnetic letters on the refrigerator or a cookie sheet
- Create a name card for your child and talk about the names of each letter
- Point out letters in signs and other words in your child’s everyday world
You can encourage your child’s skills with counting and numbers with these simple, yet effective ideas:
- Incorporate number words while you and your child play a game of hopscotch
- Point out numbers and number words in signs or books
- Involve your child in counting activities as you go about your day, like counting while climbing a staircase
- Use household materials like crayons and plastic lids to introduce your child to the words “more” and “less”
No matter how you practice letters and numbers with your preschooler, make the learning process fun!
5. Give Choices
Help your child develop independence and increase their confidence by allowing them to make choices. No matter how small a decision may seem to us, giving children a chance to make it for themselves, such as choosing which shirt to wear, shows them that we believe in their ability to make a decision. You can also do this by allowing children to choose between two choices, both of which are acceptable. For example, do you want to wear your sneakers or your boots?
Teaching these five things in a fun and natural setting will get your child ready and excited to head off to school every morning.
Leslie Marley is the Director of Education and Curriculum at U-GRO Learning Centres, a premier provider of early childhood and preschool education in Central Pennsylvania. Leslie has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 20 years, 14 of them with U-GRO Learning Centres. She has served in a number of different capacities: including Teacher, Director, District Manager, and most recently, Director of Education and Curriculum. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction in ECE. She is passionate about guiding early educators to initiate best practices, supporting the success of each child, and positively serving and empowering children and families.