Help a Child Starting Kindergarten #1

Off to School Tool Box: Eagerness to Learn

The back-to-school flyers are appearing ‘cuz school starts soon. Here are some ways to help a child starting kindergarten, a sort of off to school tool box. Along with backpacks, there are some other things that help kids make the transition to school.

messy play activitiesBecause the whole point of school is the learning, it’s so much easier if a child is eager to learn and starts with the idea of “I can do this.” For any of us, at any time, confidence and a positive attitude are needed, but kids aren’t born with these. As parents and caregivers, and teachers too, it is up to us to help children develop them.

Back in the last century, in 1971, author and psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs advised, “The most important skill for raising a child…is the ability to encourage that child.” When we encourage kids, we nurture their eagerness to learn.

It’s critical that the encouragement be given on the effort, instead of on the achievement. We do this without thinking with babies. When a very young child is first learning to walk, we smile and prompt even when the baby falls. Why do we forget with older kids and only appreciate success? When we see a child playing with a puzzle we don’t have to wait and say “Good job,” when it’s all done. We can give recognition of the effort with words like “I see you are trying that piece in lots of places.” Questions such as: “Will it fit somewhere?” or “Does the color match any other spots?” provide helpful clues.

Taking into account the vast amount of learning that kids do over a lifetime, you can understand the benefit of a confident and positive approach to learning. An eagerness to learn helps kids meet the challenges. Even as adults, we enjoy being recognized for our achievements, but when our work is appreciated no matter the outcome, it’s much more personal. The words are for us, not the project.

During the getting ready for kindergarten, can you pack your child’s school tool box with an eagerness to learn?

This article, Here We Go to Kindergarten, has more tips.

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