Parents are Teachers Too: Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten (page 3)
You have been your child’s teacher since birth. Now that your child is in school, there is another teacher to help you. But you still play a very important part in teaching your child. Everything you do with your child at home will affect how your child performs at school.
How Can I Prepare My Child To Start School?
Starting school is a big change for you and your child. It’s natural for you both to feel a little nervous. Here are some ways to help prepare your child to start school, so that you can both get the most out of this exciting time:
Talk with your child
- Talk about school as a happy, friendly place where your child will have fun and be safe. Answer your child’s questions about school. The more your child knows what school will be like, the better he or she will feel about it. Give cheerful and reassuring answers to your child’s questions. If your child is worried or afraid, reassure him or her that everything will be okay. If there are things you don’t know about school, call the school and ask.
Keep a positive attitude
- Say positive things to your child about starting school. Let your child experience school as something brand-new and exciting. If you have concerns about school, share them with the teacher or principal, not with your child.
Teach your child good habits for school
- Start habits at home that will help your child in school. Let your child dress himself or herself. Set a regular clean-up time for putting things away. Make your child responsible for a few chores at home. Have meals, baths and storytime at settimes each day.
Visit the School
- Your school may host an event for parents and entering kindergarteners prior to the start of school. During this time you and your child can tour the school and meet your child's teacher. This will help your child become familiar with the school and the classroom. It will also allow you to discuss any concerns or questions regarding the start of school with your child's teacher. Contact your local school to find out more. If your child's school does not offer an event like this, you and your child are welcome to visit the school at any time.
How Should I Handle the First Day of School?
The best thing you can do for your child on the first day of school is to be positive and supportive. Remind your child how much there is to look forward to at school, and how the teacher will always be there to help. Make sure that your child has everything he or she needs when leaving for school, so that the day can go smoothly. If you bring your child to school yourself on the first day, leave as quickly as you can and let the teacher start the day’s activities. Your child needs to know that the school day has begun. But reassure your child that you will see him or her at the end of the day.
How Do I Communicate With the School?
You’ll find that kindergarten offers much less day-to-day contact with parents than you may have had with pre-kindergarten. But it is still very important for you to stay involved. Read everything the school sends home to you. Go to every scheduled parent/teacher conference, and talk with the teacher about what your child is doing at school and at home. Contact the teacher with questions or to share information when you need to. You are also welcome to visit the school and your child’s classroom at any time. To be sure that your child’s teacher will have time to talk with you, call the school office to arrange a specific time and date.
Can I Get Involved With My Child’s School?
Schools depend on support from parents. Your child’s school will welcome your getting involved. Call the school to find out what you can do. A few of the ways you can help are:
- Assisting a teacher in the classroom
- Visiting classes as a speaker
- Mentoring or tutoring students
- Being a crossing guard
- Working in the school library
- Helping with computers
- Being a part of the PTA
What Can I Do At Home to Help My Child Learn?
Talk with your child. Ask what he or she did in school each day. Listen carefully. Find out what he or she likes about school, and where he or she has problems or questions. Children learn all the time, not just in school. Every day offers “teachable moments” when you as a parent can help your child to learn. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it works! For dozens of other helpful suggestions for everyday learning, visit www.readyatfive.org
It’s Time For School was developed by Ready At Five in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) with a Judith P. Hoyer Grant for Private Providers of Early Care and Education Services. Ready At Five gratefully acknowledges the following individuals and organizations for their review and suggestions: Anne Bailowitz, Baltimore City Health Department; Ed Beck, MSDE; Michael Cockey, MSDE; Rolf Grafwallner, MSDE; Debbie Harris, Calvert County Public Schools; Liz Haslup, Talbot County Public Schools; Brenda Kelly, Baltimore City Public Schools; Mary LaCasse, DHMH; Donna Mazyck, MSDE; Shari Oster-Sherr, Frederick County Public Schools; and Barbara Squires, Baltimore City, Success By 6 at Baltimore City Health Department. This publication is based on a 1989 MSDE publication, Your Child Goes to School. Special thanks to Bruce Jacobs, Louise Corwin, and Amanda McMahon for their writing and editorial expertise.
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