In the past, many of us sent our children to kindergarten assuming that is where learning began. Now we know that is not the case.
Today, most children whose parents are involved in preparing their child for kindergarten enter school knowing their letters and many of their sounds. Some children even know how to read. Most have been in preschool for one or two years or sometimes even more, or who have an involved parent who works with the child to prepare him for school.
Others come to school having read very few books, not knowing letters or sounds of letters. They are significantly behind their friends before they even enter kindergarten. Many will catch up, but some will not.
If you want your child to be ready for school, there are things you need to be doing now. These are all important for you to spend time on:
• Read to your child regularly
This will be an important help for him as he becomes ready to learn to read.
Let him pick books to have you read to him. This reading together makes a major change in his being ready to learn to read but also in his ability to concentrate in one task .
• Talk to you child a lot
This increases his language skills and teaches him to express himself. It increases your bonding with your child.
• Listen to your child even more
This helps your child feel loved. It involves stopping what you are doing and really listening.
When you really listen, this shows him he is important to you. This encourages him to use his language skills.
• Use numbers frequently
Have him count the pieces of LEGO he puts together or count the dog bones he gives your dog.
Remind him how old he is and encourage his use of numbers and counting.
• Pay attention to his development
Make sure he is doing what he should be doing at this particular age. If he is not, contact the school he will be attending and sign him up for a developmental screening and an evaluation even before school begins.
• Give him opportunities
Help him learn skills such as how to use scissors, how to use pencils and crayons, how to answer questions about the book you are reading together and how to interact with other children.
Giving him a chance to play with other children will certainly help him make the transition into kindergarten easier.
These are all skills that are especially important to do to help your child be prepared to begin his career as a student. This is especially important if your child is not in a preschool.
Help him be ready for school. Your involvement is very critical to his success. Help him get off to a good start with what he learns today.
Praise him when you see improvement in his learning to do the things that will help him be ready.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. For more information, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.