Kindergarten is an exciting time for kids and brings many big changes! For some kids, it’s their first time in a formal school setting. For others, they are transitioning from a small preschool classroom to a big room with many more classmates. The way that kids respond to these changes also vary. Some kids embrace this new adventure, while others are nervous and overwhelmed. Additionally, kids also come to kindergarten with different levels of readiness. Some already have the skills they need to start the school year, like knowing their letters and sounds and counting to 10, while others have not yet acquired these skills. In this blog, I will share a few ways to make the transition into kindergarten easier.
Introduce and Practice the Alphabet
As a reading interventionist in my school district, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of teaching children the letters and sounds of the alphabet. Your child should be able to identify letters when you point to them, be able to find letters in a word by name, be able to identify letter names written in different fonts, and eventually be able to recognize the relationship between some of the letters and the sounds they make in words. If your child knows the alphabet before kindergarten he will find school less stressful and confusing.
Write Their Name
Before the first day of kindergarten, kids should be able to write their first name using both upper and lowercase letters. Kids should know that an uppercase letter is used for the first letter of their name and lower case for the rest.
Read, Read, READ!
Read aloud to your child every day. If they don’t already have one, get your child a library card and take them to the library to browse the shelves and check out books. Read books of different genres together, read the captions under pictures, even read the back of cereal boxes together in the morning at the breakfast table. Just READ!
Make Following Directions Fun
Kids are going to have to learn how to follow simple directions FAST when they get to kindergarten. The teacher will be giving students oral directions that they are expected to follow such as putting their names on their papers, placing their papers in their mailbox, getting out certain colors, opening a workbook to a certain page, and on and on! But following directions doesn’t have to be a drag. You can play games that involve the skill of listening and following directions such as, Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light. And, let’s not forget the classic song, Hokey Pokey! Young kids will have a blast while listening and following directions to shake their bodies all around!
In closing, beginning kindergarten can be both exciting and stressful for kids. Incorporating these fun ideas into your daily routine prior to their first day of school will help your child put their best foot forward and prepare them for the rigors of kindergarten.