Yesterday was a big day in our family. Like so many families this time of year, we sent a little one to his first day of kindergarten. Along with first day photos and excitement came a bit of anxiety, some for our new student and even some for mom.
For the most part, kindergarten is viewed as a year to prepare kids for their years ahead in the classroom. It’s a year to transition kids from toys and sensorial play to reading, writing and math studies. Kindergarten programs vary significantly from state to state and district to district. So whether your child is spending 8:30am to 3:30pm in a classroom of 10 kids, or 8am to 11am with 27 kids, there’s a lot to accomplish during this transition year.
Here are some things to be watching for:
A Safe Environment – Of course we all want our children to be safe, but there’s more to safety than the physical classroom. When your child enters a classroom and finds a warm, friendly environment – their brain signals safety and the learning can begin. If children feels threatened or unwelcome their brain shuts down. Make the school send off and the school day a positive one.
Multi-sensorial Learning – As much as kindergarten may be time for less ‘play’ and more structured learning, young children still need to see, touch and do – in order to learn effectively. Keep an eye out and notice does this kindergarten classroom have a healthy amount of sensorial learning activities to engage kids? These items help children learn concepts as they transition to more structured learning.
Creative Expression– Many schools have suffered drastic cuts to their art programs. This is a huge loss. The arts help kids learn to see patterns, sequence steps and develop differentiation skills. Simply said – art classes help kids develop skills that are going to have a huge impact on the way they learn – forever. Kids need art, dance and music classes to learn. If your school does not offer enough of these programs research your local community centers as there may be many options for your little ones.
Get 10 more ways to prepare your child for a better school year from my free eBook;