Kindergarten is the first formal year of academic instuction for most children. Many pre-schools teach beginning reading and math skills and are beneficial for helping kids learn to socialize, but the daily routines aren't as structured as those in a kindergarten classroom, and they are not accountable to the state for teaching specific objectives. If your child is getting ready to enter kindergarten, there are a few things you need to know to help you and your child prepare for this monumental year.
A typical kindergarten day follows a set schedule. From the time your child gets to school until he gets home, almost every minute is set aside for instruction, play, meals and other activities like computer lab, library and music. Your child may be tired in the afternoon until he becomes accustomed to this new schedule. Be sure your child gets plenty of sleep at night. Many kindergarten schedules do not include nap time anymore. At the most, there may be a brief quiet time.
If you attended kindergarten, you may have fond memories of coloring, pasting and making crafts. While your child may do these things occasionally, she will now have to master certain academic skills before she can be promoted to first grade. Most states have kindergarten objectives that schools are required to teach their students. Your child will have to be able to sound out CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, recognize letters and produce sounds of the alphabet, and read simple sentences by the end of the year. Counting, writing numbers and figuring simple addition are a few of the math skills your child will have to master.
You may be surprised to learn that homework is now an integral part of kindergarten. Its purpose is to make parents aware of the skills being taught and to reinforce classroom instruction. Homework usually consists of worksheets or handwriting practice that should take no more than 10 or 15 minutes to complete.
Your help and support is crucial in kindergarten. Your child needs to know from the start that you intend to be active in his education. By helping your child at home, you increase his chances of academic success. By becoming involved in school activities and organizations, your child will see how important his education is to you.
One of the hardest aspects for new kindergarten students is the behavioral expectation. It's not that kids are bad; they just aren't used to sitting still and being quiet for the periods of time now required of them. Most 5-year-olds are used to going to the bathroom when they want to instead of standing in line or asking permission. One of the best things you can do for your child is talk to her during the summer before school starts about these issues or practice them by playing "school" with your child. This may help lessen the first-day shock.