kindergarten preparation

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #2

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. One of the major ways is to read and share books and stories, another is to include lots and lots of language in your child’s day.
helping your child get ready for kindergarten

Much of learning and the way we communicate to others is done using words. Children’s brains need massive amounts of language stimulation in the early years. Just how much? Millions and millions of words. Some comprehensive research averages the number of words a child hears in just a year to be over 10 million. If a child starts school at age 4 that’s more than 40 million words.

How can parents and caregivers give early brains this word-nutrition? By including words in whatever you are doing! Talk, sing, tell stories, have face-to-face conversations with others, and when needed, talk to things. For instance, when you discover a wet towel that somebody has left on the floor, you can say to the towel, “Hey Towel, what are you doing down here? This isn’t where you go. You go on the towel rod right over here. See? Doesn’t that feel better?” When you are cooking, ask the spoon if it will help you mix and stir. Change your voice to be the spoon and share how much you like to help.

Think of one word as being equal to one penny and the brain as a brain-bank. Each word your child hears is a deposit. Would you rather your child has an account with 40 million deposits or only 10 million? When numbers get that high it doesn’t seem to make as much impact, so let’s take off the zeros. Would you rather have $1 in your wallet or $40? Maybe that’s a better comparison. Language is brain enrichment.

English may not be your first language or the language you use at home. Talk away in them both. English is not an easy language to learn so including it is very helpful before children start school and the family language is a special connection so talk, sing, and tell stories in it, too. (Of course, only 1 positive word is better than 40 negative ones.) Can you use many, many, many words to encourage your child’s readiness for kindergarten?

(The language of children is PLAY. For a play & learning idea, check the daily blog post.)

10 Tips for Starting Kindergarten: #10 Sleep

Q. Knock, knock. A. Who’s there?
Emma. Emma who?
Emma goin’ to school tomorrow.
Tomorrow, school does indeed start and now your help is important for kindergarten support not kindergarten readiness.
Girl Sleeping
Tip #10 for starting kindergarten or playschool is to help your child get a good night’s sleep. There are so many new challenges for your child that a good night’s sleep is really needed. Often, the first few weeks kids need extra sleep because of all the stimulation. Dr. Marc Weissbluth, in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, compares sleep to weight lifting. Just as lifting weights builds stronger muscles, sleeping well builds brainpower.

Aiding your child to get a good night’s sleep is certainly not an academic issue, but sleep concerns can definitely affect learning and coping. Starting kindergarten and preschool is so exciting. Enjoy the holiday and tonight tuck your little one in with a story and a snuggle before the big day tomorrow. And maybe a sigh in your heart as you close the door and turn out the light?

10 Tips for Starting Kindergarten: #9 Backpacks

As an adult would you pack your suitcase for a trip just before you leave the house? For kids starting preschool or kindergarten, backpacks are a suitcase and the trip is going to school. What does a backpack need?

  • backpackdoorA backpack needs a name label somewhere inside. Some families are concerned about the safety of having too much information but even first names or initials help, especially for wandering backpacks.
  • A very small “touchy-feely” like a stuffie or other object can help to reassure kids.
  • A snack or lunch container that is very washable is important. Some backpacks like to fly around through the air or disguise themselves as pillows which seems to result in yogurt or applesauce exploding. Going thru the car wash may sound drastic but it’s practically the only way to get some of them clean.
  • Extra clothes can be rolled and squished into a ziplock bag for emergency use. (Many programs also ask for an extra pair of shoes to stay at school and a paint shirt.)
  • Find a place for the backpack to live when your child gets home. It’s amazing how some of them like to hide under beds, behind the toybox, in the car, etc. Having the same place for the backpack will make it easier to keep track of it.

Backpacks will get daily use. They are a main carrier of information from school to home, bringing library books, art work, craft projects and notices. Murphy’s Law for backpacks states that the more important a notice, the greater the chance that the paper will vanish on the way home. Just like pirates store their treasures in chests, kids store their treasures in backpacks. Did you know that kindergarten readiness includes helping both kids get ready and their backpacks?

10 Tips for Starting Kindergarten: #8 A Touchy-Feely

As you help prepare your child for starting preschool or kindergarten another tip is to tuck a “touchy-feely” into your child’s backpack. A touch-feely can be practically anything that somehow reassures your child; it works like a security blanket but has a different shape. A scarf from mom or a wash cloth sprayed with mom’s perfume … Continue reading 10 Tips for Starting Kindergarten: #8 A Touchy-Feely

Kindergarten Readiness – Mmmonday

Monday is a good day to practice the sound of the letter M. Practicing the sounds of letters and reading stories with words that rhyme is something that parents, daycares, and caregivers can do with kids at any age. Not only does this promote kindergarten readiness, it expands your child’s language ‘bank account’. To help … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Mmmonday

Kindergarten Readiness – Moose #2

As long as we are making mooses in the kitchen, here is another cooking with kids activity–face sandwiches. Start with a slice of bread. Next, cover the slice with a slice of cheese or meat or another filling such as tuna salad. Next comes the fun part, the face. Cucumber, carrot, radish or tomato slices make … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Moose #2