During the month of May, students across the country attend Kindergarten Roundup in preparation for the new adventure awaiting them the coming fall. At Plymouth Christian Academy (PCA), we welcomed our brand new elementary students and their parents just a few weeks ago at our Kindergarten Roundup. The excitement was palpable and the questions were numerous because parents want to best prepare their children to begin kindergarten. We want to help, so we asked our experts, PCA veteran kindergarten teachers, Karen Hart & Bethany Romisch, for their advice. They provided some simple steps that we believe are very important as families prepare for the kindergarten days ahead.
1. Read to your child
Spend time reading many types of literature with your child, ranging from fiction, non-fiction, folk tales, rhymes, and more. Point out sounds, ask questions, and engage your child in the story. Developing a love for reading in a young child will reap rewards for a lifetime.
2. Encourage independence
A child who has the ability to perform tasks independently will gain the self-confidence needed to tackle their coming days in kindergarten. This summer, encourage them to take their jacket on and off independently, unpack/pack supplies, put on shoes, and tuck in shirts. The more they are able to do independently, the easier the transition to kindergarten will be.
3. Cultivate social skills
Kindergarten is a time for tremendous growth in your child’s social skills. You can give them a head start by providing opportunities to practice sharing, cooperating with others, and using good manners. A very simple task would be training them to make eye contact when speaking. You can also discuss emotions with them and how to understand what others are feeling.
4. Foster gross motor skills
Mastering gross motor skills in childhood are critical to developing fine motor skills and endurance. Both of these are necessary for success in kindergarten. Running, hopping, climbing, and general outdoor fun will further develop gross motor skills. Our teachers recommend spending lots of time outside this summer!
5. Encourage listening/focusing skills
Listening and focusing skills are keys to success in kindergarten! You can help your child develop these skills by working with them to follow 2-3 step directions, sitting for a longer story, and completing projects in one sitting.
6. Develop your child’s self-concept
Your child’s self-concept; defined by Miriam-Webster Dictionary as “the mental image one has of oneself”; is vital to the way they learn and interact with the world around them. You can help to develop your child’s self-concept by teaching them that they were made by God with their own unique talents and abilities. Learning this builds self-esteem and lays the foundation for some amazing school years ahead!