Beginning kindergarten is a significant step in your student’s life, and your child’s first day of school is a significant step in yours.
t Every parent hopes to prepare her student as much as possible for this new experience; after all, you would like your child to feel comfortable and to succeed both in kindergarten and in school as a whole. Set aside time this summer to ensure your student is as ready as she can be.
1. Foster an interest in learning
t First, introduce your child to the alphabet, the central colors and shapes and the numbers one through nine. She will further explore these concepts once school begins. Rather than asking your student to memorize facts, it is much more important for your child to develop an enthusiasm for learning. Explore the world with her, whether through activities in the home or outings to the zoo, library or beach. Draw your student’s attention to interesting sights and phenomena. Encourage her to ask questions. With an eagerness to learn, your child will be more attentive in class, and she will look forward to attending school.
2. Strengthen communication skills
t Next, develop your student’s communication skills. Ensure she can speak in complete sentences, recognize words that rhyme and sing familiar songs. Teach her to recognize and use direction words like “above” or “below,” as well as to compare items with terms like “bigger” or “more.” The greatest assistance you can give your child is to speak with her. A strong predictor for later academic success involves the size of a kindergarten student’s vocabulary. Do your part by introducing her to new words and thoroughly explaining these new concepts. Talk to your child, listen to her ideas and provide her with words to describe her world.
3. Develop listening skills
t The above item is immediately related to strengthening your student’s listening skills. Children in kindergarten must learn to follow directions, so make sure your student can respond to specific instructions that have one or two steps. Read to your child each day, and ask her questions about what she has read; what does your student think about the story? How does it make her feel? This exercise improves listening and communication skills.
4. Enhance motor skills
t Your child should possess solid motor skills before beginning kindergarten. She will require fine motor skills to draw and write, to glue and to manipulate scissors. Provide your student with a variety of coloring tools (both large crayons and small pencils), or ask her to fasten the buttons on her coat or to help you fold clothes and ball socks. Encourage her to stir while you are cooking and to spray houseplants with water. Encourage active play, which builds gross motor skills. Your child can walk or run in a straight line, or hop on one foot. Practice bouncing, catching, kicking and throwing balls with friendly sports games.
5. Model interpersonal skills
t Finally, the most important skill kindergarten students will learn is how to interact with other children. Make sure your student relies on her communication skills by expressing her feelings or wants with words, rather than biting or hitting. Model how to share and take turns while you play games together. Set a positive example for conflict management, then consider practicing by arranging play dates with neighborhood students.
tFor more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit www.varsitytutors.com.