Do you have a little one starting kindergarten in the fall? Research shows that success in kindergarten sets the tone for continued success throughout future years of education. Here are some practical skills that can make your kindergartener a kindergarten-super star:
1: The ability to follow group instructions and physically stay within a group. I use the phrases “Keep your body in the group” and “keep your brain in the group” as cues. Being able to walk in a line is a bonus.
2: The ability to complete a finite task such as a coloring/cutting/gluing activity independently. Practice this at the kitchen table at home.
3: The ability to independently unpack a lunch box and eat. Pack bite sized foods rather than whole sandwiches and fruits to support this skill. Make sure your child can open and close containers. Practice at home.
4: Letter and number awareness. Kindergarteners should be able to identify the alphabet and numbers. The ability to rhyme and count syllables will help them tremendously as they are learning literacy skills.
5: Social skills. Your child should be able to give his/her full name when asked. He/she should be able to start a conversation with a peer, join a group of children who are playing together and talk about favorites (movies, games, toys, etc.)
6: The ability to carry a backpack and unpack/repack the backpack independently. This means managing zippers, straps or buttons. Make sure your child’s backpack is user friendly.
7: The ability to independently use the restroom. Make sure you dress them in clothing that they can fasten and unfasten. They also need to know that is OK to ask to go to the bathroom when they need to. ‘
8: They need to be able to put their shoes and jackets on/off without help.
9: Your child should be able to approximate the writing of his/her name within a reasonable space. Teach them to write their name with the appropriate upper and lower case letters, not all caps. They should also be able to recognize their name in a group of names.
10: Mastery of basic skills used in the classroom including: sorting, matching similar items, shape identification, cutting, holding a pencil/crayon/marker, replacing caps on markers, using a glue stick and liquid glue, tearing paper, wiping a table and lacing.
If your child is confident in accomplishing these skills, the new world of elementary school will be less confusing and stressful. If they are not struggling with the little things, they can embrace the big things and develop a love for school and learning from the get-go.
And…..your child’s teacher will be so so grateful to have one less kid to individually help unzip, button, tie, open and redirect. The teacher can focus on teaching, guiding and watching her class bloom and blossom.
One skill at a time…..One word at a time.