Is my child ready for kindergarten? As a childcare director, parents often asked me this question. Early childhood is an awesome time for learning. Did you know 90 percent of a child’s brain will be developed by the age of five? Did you also know young children ages 0–8 do not learn the same way as you and I?
So, how can we best help our children be prepared, while still honoring their needs as children? Here are my top five ways to help your child (and yourself) be ready for kindergarten.
- Call your school district to ensure they know your child’s birth date and your home address. This will put your child on their list to contact when they send out kindergarten information. This is especially important if your child was not born in the town you now live in. The Nebraska Department of Education has a “Ready for Success” booklet at www.education.ne.gov/oec/ready_for_success.html. This booklet will help families know about starting school in Nebraska.
- Be responsive to all areas of your child’s development. Healthy development in all areas including physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive (thinking) skills will help prepare them for school.
- Encourage your child’s independence. Skills such as dressing themselves, using the restroom and handwashing without constant reminders from an adult are helpful for a successful start in kindergarten. Your child may have spent the first years at home, or in a childcare setting — either way the number of adults per child is about to decrease.
- Read aloud to your child, everyday! Not only will this encourage language and literacy skills, but it is a great way to spend time with your child. Visit libraries, read a variety of print materials including: books, comics, poems and captions on pictures from the newspaper. Just read!
- Research shows the best thing we can do to get children ready for school is to develop and keep positive relationships with them. Help your child develop confidence in their learning and they will be ready to take on the world.
FOR MORE INFO
Related Nebraska Extension NebGuides include:
• Early Literacy Checklist — In the Home
• CAR — A Strategy for Learning
• Brain Development and Learning in the Primary Years
JACI FOGED, EXTENSION EDUCATOR | THE LEARNING CHILD
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