Teachers are a lot like doctors and nurses.
When you have a weird rash or you feel like maybe you’re dying but don’t want to go into the doctor’s office, you ask your nurse/doctor friend for advice or put out a facebook post saying “Doctor and Nurse friends…?”
When you have a question like “Should my kid know how to add yet?” or “What’s with this Common Core crap?” (Yes, I have been asked that.) or “How can I get my child to read more?” you probably ask a teacher friend.
A few months ago, my friend asked me how she should be preparing her son for Kindergarten.
Disclaimer: Kindergarten is an entirely different world from the rest of elementary and I do NOT and will not teach it! God bless our K teachers and a big THANK YOU for preparing them for 1st grade so well!! However, I’ve had 2 Kindergarten daughters and have taught 1st/2nd grade for 12 years along with 4 years of college experience + 6 years of summer/after school jobs working with children. (That’s 22 years if you’re keeping track.)
After she asked, she said my blog needed to be up ASAP and I needed to address this. She totally freaked me out because who am I to tell her what her child needs to know by Kindergarten??? Then I remembered the doctor/nurse thing.
So after much thought, I will be doing two things.
- Providing the list of pre-Kindergarten skills my 5-year-old’s teacher gave us.
- Start a blog series of what I’m doing with my 4-year-old this year before she starts Kindergarten – labeled Kindergarten Prep.
*Number Recognition: counting to 30 and recognizing 0-10 randomly
*Letter Recognition: Identify both upper and lower case
*Write their name: First and last with correct capitalization and clear handwriting
*Belts & Buttons: Practice these things so they can be independent at school
*Listening to stories: Sit still and listen to a story, and be able to talk about the story
Remember: You can do these things (and more) in a natural way.
I never planned “lessons” for my kids because I’m not that organized. Their learning has been through natural, every day ways. We counted steps or objects when we were out and about, drew shapes while coloring, talked about the colors of Play-doh, rhymed silly words, thought of words that started with certain letters, play with dice, learn letters in fun ways, and do workbooks for fun. Most importantly, we read to them every night and talk about the pictures and story.
Also remember: Every child is so different!
My oldest daughter could read sentences before Kindergarten, and my current Kindergartener can read a few 3-letter words. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to instill a love of learning and school. As long as my kids are happy at school and enjoying learning, I am not concerned with them being above average learners.
And, last thing to remember: Social Skills
What’s more important than what your child knows is how he or she treats the teacher and classmates. Teach your child social skills of showing respect, listening, taking turns, accepting “no” for an answer, being polite, and taking responsibility for things and actions.
To see how I am preparing my 4-year-old for Kindergarten, look for the tag “Kindergarten Prep”.