by SCA Lower Elementary Principal Mrs. Charissa Sanders
Starting kindergarten can be frightening for a child. However, it may feel even worse for many parents. I don’t know about you, but I was a mess inside in the days and weeks leading up to my son starting kindergarten. Oh, I may not have let too many around me know this on the outside, but it was true. I was scared stiff. How could I be at this milestone already? How would he do without me or his dad all day? How would he interact with teachers and classmates? Was he ready academically, emotionally, and physically?
I know I am not the only parent who asks these questions as their child is approaching school age. So how do we help our children be as prepared as possible for school? After 19 years in education, and almost 13 years as a parent, I’m going to tackle some ways you can prepare your child to be as ready as possible for school.
1. Time - Spend intentional interactive time with your children. This may sound obvious, but actually taking the time with our children is sometimes the last thing on our minds as we drop down tired in the evening after a busy day or when we finally have time to do laundry or watch the big football game on the weekend. These intentional times might be: Read books that introduce animals, shapes, numbers, letters of the alphabet, and touch and feel books. Do fine motor activities together such as play dough, coloring, drawing pictures of people with as much detail as possible. Do gross motor activities together such as walking, running, jumping, hopping, skipping and climbing.
2. Trips - Take trips with your children. I’m not necessarily talking about BIG vacations by planes, trains or automobiles. I’m talking about simple outings that expand your child’s exposure to new situations, people, and learning opportunities. Examples of this might be visit the local library for toddler story time or activity hour, joining a local church’s mothers day out program or other early education program, exploring a local children’s museum, and scheduling a play-date with friends or take time to visit grandparents or other family,
3. Teach -You are your child’s first teacher. Yes, you are Mom and you are Dad, but you are also the first teacher they will have.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
You may have heard the quote that says “more is caught that taught.” Children are great at noticing things and what you do at home is teaching them what is important. While these activities will help in school readiness, there is another deeper reason for jumping in and participating in the three T’s. Memories will be made! As Genie, from the Disney movie Alladdin said, “Today’s special moments are tomorrow’s memories."
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