It is a great day when your child enters Kindergarten! Jackie’s advice for first time parents who have children starting school is for parents to express a positive attitude about school. Talk of Kindergarten as a happy place and the teacher as someone who cares about children. Set up a nightly routine now. Start the transition from summer hours to a school hours schedule for baths, dinner, getting to bed on time, getting up on time, etc. Eating breakfast is essential for good brain function.
Kids come to school with different ability levels. Don't worry if your child doesn't know all the ABC letters/sounds to begin with! As your child grows and matures, things have a way of working out. Remember, this is not a race!
Read, read, read to your child. Research shows that reading at home with your child is one of the BEST indicators of reading success and consequently success in school. Love of reading and books is best developed when a parent reads to a child. Let your child see you reading (especially fathers). Talk about what is read. Discussion of the story, pictures, humor in the story is very beneficial to language development and reading comprehension. Foster interest in books. Go to the library and check out many different types of books. Let the child get their own library card. Encourage your child to retell the story, act it out or draw a picture of what the story was about. Every child should have their own book with their name written in it. This will encourage support of and teach the importance of reading.
Homework - Davis district's homework guidelines state that children should do 10 minutes of homework per grade level. For a Kindergarten student, 5 to 10 minutes is plenty. Read and discuss your child's school work each day if you can. See that they finish up what wasn't done in class.
Get involved if you can - dependable parent volunteers are greatly appreciated in a Kindergarten classroom!
Emotionally - One the first day of school, the child should be able to cheerfully separate from their parents and come in the room on their own. Walk you child to school beforehand several times or to the bus stop where they will get picked up. Take your child with you to back to school night, meet the teacher and show them around the room. It helps lessen their anxiety level. Don't hover the first day - give your child a kiss and a hug and leave. Long good-byes only brings tears. Reassure him/her that you will be back to pick them up after school is over. (You may then go out to your car to cry but there will be no crying the school!)
Socially - This is a huge part of what Kindergarten is all about - learning how to take turns, share, raise their hand to talk, follow directions, cooperate, participate, and put things away. Staying focused and finishing their work is a biggie. Your child will work on this all year! Children have to learn appropriate behavior for many different environments and situations. As they enter school, they will be taught and have many chances to practice expected behaviors in the classroom, hallways, playground etc. They have to learn that there are consequences for all behaviors. Positive reinforcement and rewards for good behavior go a long way. Sometimes children choosing inappropriate behavior will be asked to sit out for a cool down period (time out).
What Your Child Will Learn:
In reading, the child should know most/all of the ABC letters/sounds (upper and lower case); Obviously not all kiddos come in the door in the fall knowing all the letters and sounds, but many do. Knowing the abc's early gives them a head start on reading. In the old days, we used to teach just the abc's in Kindergarten all year long. Now, the new curriculum requires us to have them blending and reading simple words and emergent readers by the end of the year. They cannot have success in blending and reading if they don't know all the abc's. The reading instruction will be adapted to meet individual needs, interests, readiness and ability levels.
They will learn to read 25 common sight words such as, see, like, my and, the, a, it, etc and blend 3-letter words like (kit, mat, dog, etc).
In math, by the end of the year, most of what they should know is how to recognize, count and write numbers 1-20, do basic addition and subtract from ten, count to 100 by ones and tens, and know basic 2-D and 3-D shapes including trapezoid, hexagon, cube, sphere, cone and cylinder. They will also learn about sorting by attributes, make comparisons using terms like greater/less/equal, count forward from a given number and positioning (behind, next to, near, far etc).
*For more info see the link to Davis district's assessment report and the full curriculum (science, social studies, health, art, music, technology, PE, library media, etc).
Children are doing more writing in Kindergarten. Children learn to sound out simple words, label pictures, write sentences and draw the illustration to go with it. They will have many experiences dictating and/or writing individual and group stories.
As far as small motor skills go, students should be able to write their name using the manuscript style with one capital at the beginning and the rest lower case letters. Please don't teach your child how to write their name in all caps! They should know how to cut and use scissors; hold a pencil correctly. Some children have never been allowed to touch the scissors at home. Now is the time to practice.
Knowing their home phone number or parent's cell number at the beginning of the year is a good idea for safety reasons. They can learn their address sometime later during the year. Hopefully, they already know how to dial 911 in case of an emergency. They will be taught this during the first month of school.
They do not need to know how to tie their shoes - but it is helpful! Also, how to zip, button and put on their own coat and gloves is really helpful. Can you imagine what it is like for the teacher with 25 children all waiting to get their shoes tied and coats zipped and gloves on before recess is over?! Makes me tired already just thinking about it.
Lastly, please keep your child home if they are sick! This seems like a no-brainer to most parents, but you'd be suprised. I've had parents drop their kids off at school with a fevers, vomiting the night before, green runny noses, barking seal coughs and terrible strep sore throats.