Parents can prepare their kids for kindergarten
— reported by the Journal and Courier
“The first and primary teacher that your child has is you,” Johnson says. “You’ve had him for five years. We are there to assist. Your love for your child and your wanting him to succeed is a very strong motivator.”
“There are a lot of things you can be doing with your kids,” Green says. “We want them to write sentences by the end of kindergarten.”
Before enrolling, a child should know how to write his name, address and phone number. He also should know how to stand quietly in line, follow directions and feel comfortable away from his parents.
“They should be able to zip a zipper, tie their shoes and use the bathroom,” Green says. “Sometimes you forget that they don’t know.”
Parents should play “Mother May I?” and go on scavenger hunts with their children, to get them to listen and follow directions, she says.
“Give them specific instructions, such as, ‘Pick up your puzzle pieces and put them in the blue box,’ ” she says.
Household chores such as cooking, sorting laundry and folding clothes teach practical math and science skills. Trips to zoos, walks, and the library also educate, she says.
Pre-kindergartners should be able to sit still for 20 minutes. Parents should start small — five minutes or so — and build up, Green says.
“Teach them to share and take turns,” she says. “When you get 25 little bodies in one room, that’s an issue.”
When parents ask, “I tell them to read, read, read (with their children) all the time,” says Linda Klein, assistant children’s librarian at the West Lafayette Public Library and a former preschool teacher. “Let them find books that they like to read, then read with them. Get them in summer reading programs … my daughter read at age 4, and wouldn’t stop.”
Dick says that kindergartners are expected to do many things that first-graders used to do.
“There is a lot of academics in kindergarten,” she says.
After reading to the child, the parent should talk about the story. Children learn to think sequentially when they are asked what happened first, what happened next, and how the story ended.
Dick also suggests that parents get students to contrast things: skinny and fat; heavy and light; up and down; long and short; little and big.