What Can Children in Kindergarten Expect?
Kindergarten children come to school with very different backgrounds and personalities. Yet despite this diversity, they often share certain characteristics.
A child entering kindergarten will probably:
- like a fairly routine schedule.
- perform better under consistent discipline.
- like opportunities to show independence.
- seek affection and security within the home.
- be independent in eating, dressing and sleeping.
Physically, most kindergarteners will be:
- extremely active for short periods, separated by longer periods of calm and quiet.
- maturing in large and small muscle control.
- beginning to lose primary teeth and get permanent teeth.
- somewhat farsighted as their eyes are not yet mature.
- Iacking full development of eye-hand coordination.
- Iearning to snap fingers, whistle and wink.
Socially and emotionally, a child in kindergarten will probably:
- have a creative and vivid imagination.
- show pride and concern about his possessions.
- argue with peers frequently.
- Iike immediate results, not remote goals.
- have difficulty understanding and remembering rules.
- change her mind often.
- be very curious.
- procrastinate in completing tasks, particularly adult-directed tasks.
You can help meet the developmental needs of your child by encouraging participation in selected activities. Let your child:
- ask permission to use the possessions of others. Teach him to understand that respect for personal property is a two-way street.
- go shopping with you, make a purchase, pay for the item and receive the change.
- talk on the telephone with friends and relatives so he gains experience in answering the phone and in asking to speak to the person called.
- know that words like "excuse me," "please" and "thank you" should be used daily as a form of courtesy to others.
- know that she can expect a reasonable amount of personal privacy. Knock on her door before entering and expect her to do the same when entering your room.
- know that he must wait his turn in group activities, but allow him to be first at times.
- establish relationships with friends his age. Let him visit his friends and gradually allow him to be away from home for longer periods of time.
- have opportunities to talk about herself and her activities and know that someone is listening. Parents tend to talk to their child rather than with her.
- have responsibilities that fit her age such as picking up toys, caring for pets, hanging up clothes.
- know that he is accepted as he is. Refrain from openly comparing your child to other children, especially his siblings, and realize that terms such as "dumb," "stupid" and "clumsy" should be avoided when addressing your child.
- have a reading session every day, even if you only have time to read 10 to 15 minutes. Let your child sit close to you so he can see the book and feel secure while you read.
- be relaxed and happy during the reading period. This is very important since you want your child to enjoy reading. You do not want to make a big chore of it.
- become interested in the book before starting to read. Ask a question or two about what has been read. This encourages good listening habits, and with good listening habits your child will remember what she has heard and will develop good reading comprehension.
- know that she is loved. The greatest gifts you can give your child are time and honest praise.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Knowing what to expect at this stage of development is important. Kindergarten classrooms, parent-child communications, discipline methods and any activities your child is a part of need to be appropriate for her stage of development.
As your child grows and changes, your parenting style can adjust to these changes to provide the best possible atmosphere for you and your child. Many resources on this topic are available. Call your county extension office for more information.
Reprinted with the permission of the Iowa State University Extension. © 2008 Iowa State University Extension.
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