August may be vacation time, but it’s also time to think about the new school year. By now, if you have a youngster entering Kindergarten, your new school may have sent you an intimidating envelope full of forms and information. Don’t panic! Here are six easy tips to prepare your child (and yourself) for Kindergarten.
1. Practice getting to school. Take a walk by the school, drive by, or, if your child will take the bus, walk to their bus stop. Help your child get familiar with the new place and the new route.
2. Get a good book. There are some great books for kids that deal with the transition to Kindergarten. Some schools even give them out to children as part of their orientation. Here’s a great article from Scholastic books with some suggestions for Kindergarten books. Some other good choices:
• The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
• Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis
• The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
3. Attend the Open House. Many schools in our area hold an Open House in August to give students, parents, and teachers a chance to know each other before the first day of school. If it’s during the day and your work schedule doesn’t allow you to attend, see if there are any evening events later on or contact the school to schedule an opportunity for you and your child to meet the new teacher and see the new classroom at a time that works for everyone.
4. Get ready the evening before. Let your child choose an outfit and lay it out ahead of time to avoid last-minute morning scrambles. Work together to arrange school supplies in the backpack– admit it, isn’t it fun to look at the shiny box full of new pencils and crayons?
5. Go to bed! Most importantly, get your child to bed at a decent hour. Kindergarten may have a different start time than the camp or child care you’re used to. Start adjusting bed time gradually as needed a few weeks before school starts. And parents, turn in early yourself! It’s a big day for you, too.
6. Consider joining the parent association. Joining your school’s parent group, whether it’s a PTA or other group, keeps you informed and gives you a chance to meet other parents that share your values. Worried about the time commitment? These groups aren’t just for cookie-baking stay-at-home parents anymore – they’re for all parents who care about their children’s school, even they don’t have a lot of time to volunteer or attend meetings.
Again, don’t panic! It’s easy to worry about whether your child is academically “ready” for Kindergarten. But Sparkles! families especially can feel confident about that first day. Not only do we pride ourselves on the life skills we teach our children – skills that transfer to Kindergarten and beyond – but we’re also aligning our S.T.A.R. curriculum with the Virginia Foundation Blocks of Early Learning. Each Foundation Block builds towards the Virginia Kindergarten Standards of Learning. So help your child get ready to enjoy Kindergarten – and feel good about their first day of school.