Thanks to Emily Banks, Preschool Coordinator at Marshalltown Community School District for submitting this article.
“How can I help my child get ready for kindergarten?” This is a question often asked by parents and caregivers to their child’s preschool teacher. When thinking of readiness skills, we must consider that there are many stages of development for five-year-old children. As educators, we know all children grow and learn at various rates so it is not a one size fits all answer. However, below you will find several ideas to help with school readiness skills at home.
Preschool-age children should be read to daily. Before reading, talk them to tell about the pictures in the book. Next, begin reading and ask your child who, and what questions at the bottom of each page. Reread the story several times and then have your child retell the story, identifying the beginning, the middle, and end. Another fun activity is to act out the story with your child. Providing time to say nursery rhymes, fingerplays and songs with your child can be a fun activity. You can practice in the car, at the pool or at night before bedtime. You can find many rhymes and stories on the Internet. (www.starfall.com, is an excellent site.)
Another skill is recognition of the upper case letters names. If your child knows the uppercase names before coming to kindergarten, they will have a jumpstart on letter recognition. Also encourage your child to practice writing his or her first name.
Practicing math in a natural setting can be very good for your child. Some ideas are: counting, sorting and matching objects. Give your child two-step directions when doing math practice.
Self-help skills are very important. Encourage your child to dress independently, zipping their coat, and tying their shoes.
By allowing you child to attend a preschool program or story time at the library is a wonderful way to have your child begin to develop these skills. Children will be exposed to expressing themselves in an appropriate way, taking turns, sharing and working with other children their own age.
If you have concerns about your child’s development, please talk to your pediatrician. Services are available through the Area Education Agency to help every child be successful!