kindergarten preparation

Soccer Can Help Kids Get Ready For Kindergarten

There are many ways that soccer can help kids get ready for school or daycare, and learning about winning and losing is one of them. The completion of the first round of soccer means the elimination portion has begun where only the teams that win will play any more games. Coping with wins and losses can be a challenge for adults, so imagine how much harder it is for kids.

soccer fun and learning for young childrenYoung children have likely had some experiences with things not being equal; maybe baby sister gets the cuddle or big brother gets an ice cream treat. However, children’s understanding about what it means to win or lose or what it means to be fair is still developing. Experiences may sometimes be hard but generally, parents and other caregivers try to make learning about winning and losing less hurtful for young children. We can’t shield kids from it all the time, but we can help them learn gently.

When we watch a soccer or other game, nearly everyone is cheering for one team or the other. Kids like to do what they see grownups doing, so they will cheer too. They may know the name of the team and have favorite players. Kids may not be able to count accurately, but they can recognize who is who by their numbers. Kids are not only watching the game, they are also watching us. For kids to cope with winning or not, they need to know that it is safe to lose.

Our reactions to a loss will influence a child. We need to ‘show and tell’ that we feel disappointed but that we accept it. With some days having more than one or two soccer games, kids will have lots of opportunities to watch and hear us.

This will impact children especially when they become more independent at preschool and kindergarten.There are lots more kids than teachers and caregivers in a classroom and not every child can be first in line, or gets a turn that day with the big music drum. Sigh, it’s hard to learn but seeing grownups dealing with winning and losing appropriately can help kids learn this, too. It’s more than a kindergarten readiness skill, it’s a life skill! In the meantime, how’s your team doing at soccer?

Early Learning and Brain Development: Picture-Smart Activities

This month is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is not something we can see from the outside looking in and currently, there are far more questions than answers. The brain and how it works is mysterious and amazing. That raises another question: What are some ways to encourage brain development in all children? Here are some encore posts on young children, kindergarten readiness, and multiple intelligence.

Picture-Smart:

The young child who drew this amazing, colorful picture struggled with kindergarten readiness in the self-reliance area because she was so anxious. But isn’t this drawing astonishing? There is no doubt that some children have more advanced drawing skills than others; I still don’t draw this well. But picture smart isn’t just drawing.

Visual/spatial intelligence involves more than colors, lines and paper. It also includes noticing colors and shapes, enjoying looking at pictures, “seeing” images in the mind, remembering how something looks, and knowing that the sofa will not fit in the corner before moving it! How is your visual and spatial area? Look at these ways you can help increase your child’s picture-smart IQ:

  • Look at picture books together. Talk about the pictures. Check out the details such as color, shapes, textures, etc.
  • picture-smart-activitiesHave some paper, paints, colors, chalk and other resources for your child. If necessary cover the whole kitchen floor with newspaper and dress your child in very washable or no clothes in case they need a bath, clothes and all.
  • Make a craft box with all kinds of goodies for putting together. Sticky contact paper is wonderful for attaching stuff, but tongues won’t freeze to it.
  • Playdough gives some 3-d visual stimulation. So do blocks and other construction materials.
  • Go on a shape or color walk around the neighborhood to see what you two can see.

These are only a few of the ways of exploring and encouraging visual and spatial intelligence. One year, a small boy came to kindergarten with a map of the drive to school. He had maps of the way to the store, the road to the library, how to get to granny’s house and more. Just this week I read that JB, now in grade 9, was a National Geography Challenge winner. His second-place means he is in the running to be a World Championship finalist next year. I wasn’t surprised at all and I remembered how he clung to his father’s hand, hip and leg before a field trip. He was ready for kindergarten in some ways and was learning to cope in others. Every child has unique strengths and challenges. How will you help your child become picture-smarter? Is this a challenge or strength for you, too?

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #10

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers?
This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. Does your child have a connection to nature?

developing kindergarten readinessKindergarten readiness is so much more than academics. A very real and growing concern is the lack of a connection to nature that impacts learning, development and well-being. This quote from the Center for Families, Communities, Schools and Children’s Learning seems to sum up the message: “Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. And the best place for these experiences is outdoors, in the natural world.”

Some general knowledge about nature is that it is a cycle. Children can often connect with trees in their neighborhood to watch this cyclical change. Even urban areas have pockets of natures that children can explore with parents and caregivers to connect with nature. We don’t need to be naturalists to share some important basic nature knowledge with kids.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child In The Woods, says that “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of…the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” He attributes some alarming childhood trends to a “nature-deficit.” One of the solutions is to support opportunities for children to connect with nature.

Kids need time outside to play and nurture their sense of wonder. Does your child have time to connect to nature?

There have been 10 posts in this series on supporting early development and readiness for kindergarten. For a whole year of ideas, check back each day from Mon-Sat for a post on the blog: http://123kindergarten.com/blog/

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #9

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. Does your child … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #9

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #8

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. For children’s safety … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #8

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #7

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. Independence is certainly … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #7

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #6

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. Having some understanding … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #6

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #5

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. While most parents … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #5

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #4

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. Although this answer … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #4

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #3

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. So far, two … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #3