Are you ready? Kindergarten is just around the corner. A few months of summer, and it’ll be here.
I’m frequently asked what will my child learn? Usually, this is followed by what can I do to help my child succeed. Let’s tackle each question.
What will my child learn?
All states and school districts have a list of skills and objectives for each grade level. You can find these on the school’s or school district’s website.
You can also ask your child’s teacher for a list. But learning goes beyond the list of standards or skills. Children are naturally curious and kindergarten nurtures that curiosity into exploring the world around them.
Beyond the early reading and math skills that include learning letters, numbers, shapes and colors, children will learn the following:
- Social skills — how to get along with others, follow rules and ask for help.
- Executive function — self-regulation (taking turns) and cognitive flexibility (testing ideas and problem-solving).
- Health and well-being — sportsmanship and playing with others.
- Creative expression — learning through dramatic play, the arts and self-expression.
- Family and community — understanding what rules are for and how people work together in communities.
All of these skills help your child to become a motivated learner and build a foundation for success in school and in life.
How can I help my child?
Here are a few ideas of things you can do at home to continue to motivate your upcoming kindergartener:
Read, read and read. Select favorite books every day and read one before bedtime. Help your child pick out letters and words. Have your child read to you, even if they just say what’s in the pictures.
Learn something everywhere. Use a trip to the grocery store to practice math skills, such as counting the fruit that goes in the bag or reading the numbers on the price tags.
Keep a school box at home. Place a box within easy reach that contains crayons, paper, markers, stickers and more. Encourage your child to use them and practice writing letters and numbers or drawing whatever they want.
Play games and put together puzzles. Not only will this be fun, but your little one will be learning problem-solving, taking turns and how to strategize.
Once school begins, engage your child with the following support:
Ask questions about the school day. Instead of asking a broad question such as, “what happened today?” be more specific. What was the most fun thing you did today? Who did you play with today? What did you do outside?
Build on your child’s answers. If your child mentioned a game they played, suggest that they teach you the game and play it together. If it was a book your child read, get that book out of the library to read it together. Building on your child’s interest will connect school to home in a meaningful way.
Look around the classroom. When you pick up your child take a look around the room. Read the daily or weekly reports from your child’s teacher. Ask your child about something you read in the report. I see you built a ramp in class today. How did you do that?
Connect with your child’s teacher. Ask them for specific ideas, and keep the lines of communication open.
You’ll soon adjust to the idea of your little one being a kindergartner, and you’ll be posting pictures to your friends and family of milestone events.