by Kristen DeVooght, Dorothy Heitjan and Kimberly Maddalena
Q: How can we as parents help our preschooler make a successful transition into kindergarten? Might you have some tips to share?
A: It is vital in the preschool years to provide your child with the experiences that will build the foundation for later success in school. In order to help your child build this foundation, parents should provide:
- Hands on experiences. Dig, cook, build, paint and sculpt with your child. Activities like these foster curiosity, eye-hand coordination, spatial relationships, and vocabulary development.
- Daily reading. This helps to build your child’s vocabulary and word recognition.
- Song and rhyming playtime. Rhyming builds important phonemic awareness skills essential for reading.
- Unstructured time to move and use the body. Physical play promotes the essential skill of body awareness needed for understanding right vs. left, and understanding of prepositional concepts.
- Toys that encourage imagination or thinking. Important for development of social language and imagination.
- Socialization. Attend preschool, library story hour, or church where your child will learn and practice common social courtesies, such as turn taking, listening, and responding to a question.
- Work at home on skills. Upper and lower case alphabet letters. Count to 20 orally. Count number of objects to 10 and identify numbers to 12. Write name with proper pencil grip.
- Limited screen time with the TV, computer, and hand held devices. Less time looking at a screen means more time engaging in real life interactions which teach a multitude of skills!
A good home routine with healthy meals and snacks. Establish a set bedtime. School is all about routines -important for kindergarten and beyond!
Kindergarten bridges preschool to elementary school. Expectations for kindergarten students have changed drastically in the last ten years. What used to be “first grade” skills are now taught in kindergarten.
Incorporate the above tips into your daily routine and the transition will be smoother.