Kindergarten is a whole new world for many children. Those who have attended daycare or preschool have had a taste of what school will be like, but with many districts requiring full-day kindergarten, it can be a big change for children. Sparkles! works to teach kids fundamental skills that they can apply in kindergarten, but a little boost at home can also give kids an edge when it comes to the big first day of school. Here are eleven things you can practice with your preschooler to get him or her ready for kindergarten:
- Cleaning up – Teach your child how to clean up after he or she is done playing with toys. This is something we encourage at Sparkles! too, but it can make the classroom and home experience a lot less messy when we practice, practice, practice this at home.
- Following directions – Start with giving one-step directions to your child. Once he or she has mastered following simple directions, begin giving two-step directions. Celebrate when your child accomplishes the directions you’ve given.
- Reading comprehension – When you read a story to your child, ask what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story after you’re done reading. Talk about your favorite things that happened in the story. As you’re reading a story together, pause and examine the pictures of the story. Talk about what’s going on. Have your child guess what words may be on the next page judging by the pictures.
- Colors and shapes – Turn everyday life into teachable moments. A trip to the grocery store can easily become a game of “What color is…?” or “What shape is…?” as you place items into your cart. You can have your child help you fold laundry and identify different items of clothing, shapes, sizes and colors.
- Shoe tying – Though there are many slip-on or Velcro varieties of shoes these days, it’s still a good idea to teach your child the fundamental lesson of tying his or her own shoes before the first day of school. The playground will be a much safer place with tied shoes.
- Coordination – Practice hopping, skipping and jumping rope to teach your child coordination and get a little bonus exercise.
- Playing pretend – Encourage your child to use his or her imagination. Take turns telling different parts of a story or have your child describe his or her ultimate fun day. Make it fun and encourage creativity.
- Taking turns – This can best be taught by playing games together. Show your child that everyone can have fun by being patient when it’s not his or her turn.
- Drawing – Break out the crayons and some blank paper. Practice with different colors, shapes, letters and numbers.
- Patterns – Use everyday objects to create patterns and teach your child to identify what item will go next in the series. Start with simple ABAB patterns and work your way up to more complex ones.
- Cutting and gluing– Using safety scissors (and under close supervision) teach your child to cut. Practice cutting shapes out of old magazines and newspapers. Practice gluing or pasting the pieces on construction paper. Be sure to teach that glue or paste might look like a tasty treat, but it’s for art and not eating.
If you would like to know more about what Sparkles! does to help your child prepare for Kindergarten, take a look at our curriculum and speak to your child’s teacher. If your child does not attend Sparkles! we welcome you to schedule a visit. We look forward to helping your child succeed in Kindergarten and beyond!