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Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

CCSD Staff 2 - 2/26/2020 2:26:00 PM

As kindergarten enrollment approaches, soon-to-be kindergarten parents are likely considering what they should be doing to prepare their child for this next big step in their education. CCSD director of curriculum and instruction, Alissa Putnam, offers advice for parents who want to ensure their child is ready and eager to start kindergarten in the fall.

“One of the best things parents can do is to establish routines at home,” said Putnam. “Routines help children learn, give them a sense of control and foster their self-confidence. Parents can easily establish bedtime, mealtime and reading routines.”

Mealtime routines are critical as many children struggle at the beginning of kindergarten at mealtimes. Parents can practice opening containers or packaging with their children, so they are familiar with those processes when they get to school. They can also practice eating within a 20-minute timeframe  – the amount of time allotted for lunch period at school – and cleaning up after themselves once they are done with lunch.

For bedtime routines, parents can ensure children get a good night’s sleep with a predictable order of activities such as taking a bath, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth and reading a story or singing a song. As far as reading routines go, Putnam encourages parents to read with their children for at least 20 minutes daily to build language and literacy skills. Reading routines can be at bedtime or any other convenient time for parents and children. Putnam recommends allowing children to pick out the book to increase engagement and enjoyment of reading.

“Remember that students don’t have to have mastered any specific skills to enter kindergarten, but there are academic ways to help best prepare your child for kindergarten,” said Putnam. “ Identifying letters of the alphabet is a great way to have fun and challenge early readers.”

Putnam recommends books like Chicka Chicka Boom and Letter Town for teaching kids their ABCs. She also recommends classic nursery rhymes and songs as a means of teaching rhyming and sound awareness. Students can also practice properly holding pencils and crayons as well as using and handling scissors safely. If possible, students should work on recognizing or writing their first name.

“One of the biggest challenges that our students face is simply the separation from their caregivers and the ability to regulate their bodies, their feelings and emotions at school,” said Putnam. “Allow for opportunities for your child to be away from you and around other children his/her age. Independent play and play with a friend are essential components of kindergarten and anytime your child can 'practice' this skill, it will benefit kindergarten development.”

It is important to keep children engaged over the summer to support a smooth transition into school. Supportive activities and experiences should focus on the joys of early childhood, including playing and talking.

“Starting kindergarten is a big milestone for parents and students,” said Putnam. “Parents have a lot of questions and a lot of emotions, but they should remember they aren’t alone. The school community is here to ensure they feel ready to begin the year.”

For more information on how to prepare your student for kindergarten, reach out to Alissa Putnam at alissa.putnam@ccsd.us. 

kindergarten tips