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Rule the School in Kindergarten

Starting kindergarten is a big step for both children and parents alike. The children experience anxiety about entering a new, unchartered world; and the parents are equally scared watching them go. Being nervous about this milestone is a perfectly normal part of the developmental process. However, there are ways you can make this transition easier for you and your child.

One way to ease the separation of parents and children on their first day is to host a "Boo Hoo Breakfast." This breakfast mixes food with consolation and gives parents a chance to support each other. Some PTAs plan these breakfasts in the school's cafeteria where parents and children can eat breakfast together before the first day of class. Other groups gather after dropping their children off at class to commiserate.

While parents find support in each other to help ease the transition, some ways the children can feel more comfortable about kindergarten is being prepared for the school year. Parents should read all the information given to them prior to the first day of school, so they are adequately informed. Always take advantage of the "Meet the Teacher" day, usually the Friday before school starts. This day gives kindergartners a chance to meet their teacher, find their desk, and even meet some classmates.

Jennifer Wolff, kindergarten teacher at Suburu Elementary, recommends talking to your child about his or her concerns. "Ask your child if they have any fears about school, acknowledge them, and reassure them that it will all be okay," she says. She also has some tips to make your kindergartners ready to conquer their new world of academics.

A few weeks before school starts, she suggests starting bedtime and morning routines. "It's important for the children to have plenty of rest and be able to get up early," she says. "The first few weeks they will be exhausted, especially children in a full-day kinder program."

Some of her tips include the following:

Self-Help Skills

  • Provide your child with opportunities to be separated from you for periods of time, especially for those students who have not had a preschool experience.

  • Have your child practice basic self-help skills (i.e. toileting needs, zipping, buttoning, hand washing).

  • Teach them to open food packages, so they can finish their lunch without waiting for someone to help them.

  • Share Information

  • Label your child's school supplies, jackets, and backpacks. This will avoid tears and arguments with other classmates who may have duplicate items.

  • Make sure your child knows who is picking him or her up each day.

  • If your school serves lunch, let your child know if he or she is hot or cold lunch.

  • Share food allergies and medical concerns immediately with the teacher and/or the school nurse.

  • Academics Kindergartners should be able to:

  • Write their name beginning with a capital letter

  • followed by lowercase letters.

  • Recognize a few letters and/or sounds and numbers.

  • Count to 10.

  • Know their shapes and colors.

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Tags: Education, Featured Story

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