I've got a child starting Kindergarten in the Fall. He has "graduated" from preschool. Now, I'm wondering, what is the optimal way to spend our Summer -- camps, downtime, playdates, activity books? What are others doing?
Have you thought about camp? I spent a good deal of my childhood at camp and it made such a difference in my success in school. A new situation is always tough, but if kids get to "practice" making friends over the summer, September seems a lot easier.
Denise, as a movement educator, my suggestion is always...lots of movement in nature. Romping, running, jumping, digging, climbing, crawling (under, over, through), free tumbling (no lessons yet), skipping, hopping, swinging and sliding all develop the body and brain for the school days to come. 5 is too young for a sleep away camp, but a morning program of play and crafts might be a good prep for the kindergarden day. Good luck and have fun!
You may want to check with the kindergarten that he will attend in the fall to find out what the expectations are for the first week of school. If your child is prepared for that first week having practiced those items this summer, it may make the transition to kindergarten even more successful. But remember to work with those requirements in a FUN way!!! You can find fun activities to reinforce letters without holding a pencil at www.lynslines.wordpress.com
I too have a son starting Kindergarten this upcoming year. I did not send him to preschool, as he was far better off learning with me and to allow him time with children of his own age, he has participated in many activities. I not only wanted him to be around children his age, but also felt it necessary that he learn how to follow instruction and to be attentive, so he played tee-ball for 2 seasons and attends "library school" once a week, where a retired teacher who is also on the board of education, holds a themed class, reads books, crafts and it is done in a classroom environment with other children his age that are learning at home. We meet once a week.
He had his Kindergarten screening test done a few weeks ago and we later had registration day, where was able to explore the school and meat teachers, other children that he will be with, and just basically go over the curriculum and procedures. We will have orientation later, which I highly recommend you attend with your child. When my daughter started, we attended and it was 1+ hours spent with the Kindergarten teachers and concerned parents of other children and it gave the children time to become acquainted. We were told what would be expected and given examples of what to do over the summer months to prepare for the journey.
Back to what to do over summer, our plans are: we will have "class" a bit each day. I do this each summer with both children. For my older daughter, we will work on subjects that was challenging for her and my son will continue to practice his writing skills. He counts forwards and backwards to 100 and has begun to do simple addition and subtraction, so I plan on working with this skill. He recognizes all letters and order of the alphabet and sounds they make, but I will be working with him on vowel sounds, such as long and short and continue with prefixes and suffixes. He reads but has limitations, so we will continue to develop his word recognition and focus on all sight words. We participate in the Summer Reading Program at the library. These are so much fun. I attend 2 different libraries in the summer months because the two offer such different events. Our primary library teaches themed subjects with crafts and there is a reading list with rewards for participation and accomplishments as well as a great cook-out when it ends on rewards day. The other library, doesn't "teach" or have crafts or activities, but they have someone come in to perform for the children, such as a magician, musician, storyteller, etc. They will talk to the children about important subjects such as safety, bullying, manners, behavior, etc. So check with your local libraries to see what is available.
We go to the park, take short "field trips" visit museums, nature walks, etc., have picnics, participate in organized events-such as swimming lessons, ball practice, exercising, community events, workshops, cookouts, etc.
We explore, have fun, learn, enjoy the outdoors as much as possible and of course read, take a vacation and explore other places, but never would I send my children away to a camp or leave them at their own will for "downtime" or to learn on their own with "activity books". They need guidance and need to keep moving. Play dates are fine, but with all the involvement in local activities, they probably won't want one because they get fulfilled and prefer quality time with you in their "free time".
Also, do something special just for him to mark this special time in his life. Relax, enjoy your time together, learn and you will both get off to a wonderful start in the new school year.
I've included some links of sites that we use besides education.com. Starfall is a wonderful site that Kindergarten students use on their own at my school, so you may want to check it out.
I have a child starting Kindergarten in the Fall as well. My plan for the summer is to stick to a routine as much as possible.
We will be visiting the library at least once a week. Most, if not every, library will have a summer reading program. They usually have events and story times that correspond with the program.
We will also be going to the park daily, weather permitting. In preschool, my child always had outdoor playtime. No reason not to now!
My goal is to keep television time to a minimum. We will probably have a weekly movie family night though!
I will take advantage of opportunities around the house to teach lessons that will carry over into Kindergarten. For instance, I can teach about measurement and math when cooking together or have a science lesson when planting flowers.
I think it is important for my child to have interaction with other children as well. We will participate in Vacation Bible School at our church and have playdates with friends as well.
My favorite website for all things kids is Family Fun! (see below)
What does your child enjoy doing? Summer break is long, you'll probably want a variety of activities to fill these weeks while also making the most of them. As a preschool teacher, I would recommend you read a lot of books together, perhaps after a trip to the library where your child can help choose books he is interested in. Choose both fiction and non-fiction books on subjects he enjoys. Definitely have regular play dates or other opportunities for your child to interact with other children, visiting the park or playground is a good way to encourage active play as well as social time for your son. Take trips to the zoo, museum, farm, or whatever local options you have - children learn best through hands on experiences, and the quality time you spend together adds to the value of the experience for both of you. Cook together (there are math skills in counting and measuring as you cook, and science concepts as things change through cooking), let your child spend a small allowance (money skills, coin counting and recognition) do arts and crafts projects together (creativity, fine motor, self expression), even doing household chores together encourages language development, as well as teaching life skills your child needs. Most of all, enjoy these last few months together.
My son too will be starting Kindergarten in the Fall. Where we live the children go all day everyday :( Because he will be a young five I have decided to only allow him to go half day. So to help prepare for Kindergarten I am putting together an activity binder for him to do in the summer. I'm sure your preschool teachers gave you a list of things that your child can do or needs help with so I'm going based off of that and what he likes to do. He loves to be outside so I'm planning to doing lots of outdoor activities/experiments. i.e. we have planted a garden and have discussed how to care the garden. We like to go to the beach so there is an opportunity to discuss water and sand.etc. My son is not one who wants to sit down and do worksheets so I need to come up with activities that will keep his interest. He loves the zoo so I'm sure we will go there, I may discuss a particular animal and then provide simple questions for him to ask the zoo keeper about that animal. Those are just a few thoughts. Hope it helps, let me know what you come up with!