Getting your child ready for kindergarten!
Tanya de Hoog

Starting Kindergarten is an exciting milestone for children and parents alike. Here are some helpful tips to help get them ready for this important transition to school life. 

 

SOCIAL READINESS

  • Engage in lots of imaginary and open-ended play on own and with a range of other children and adults
  • Play outdoors (at the park or beach, go on nature walks, and notice seasonal changes, colours, shapes, and sounds; blow bubbles, climb, run, jump, splash, play catch, etc.)
  • Play simple games with other children and adults that involve taking turns and following rules
  • Encourage kindness, empathy, and respect
  • Participate in helping jobs at home to encourage listening and following simple directions (e.g. tidying up, setting the table)
  • Help them understand the difference between yes and no
  • Keep screen time to a minimum

LITERACY READINESS

Children entering Kindergarten are not expected to know how to read – in fact, we’d prefer to teach them how to read! Here are some ways that you can support literacy at home to foster enjoyment of print:

  • Read simple picture books (in English and in the primary language spoken at home) out loud to your child every day – ask them to RE-TELL the story in their own words after reading (What happened first? What happened next? What happened last?)
  • Play lots of rhyming games (e.g. I see a cat, what other words sound like cat? i.e. bat…rat…mat; what rhymes with dog?)  
  • Notice print in the environment (e.g. on signs, buildings, labels)
  • Name letters and say the matching sound (e.g. I see a ‘g’, what sound does ‘g’ say? I hear ‘t’ what letter makes a ‘t’ sound?)

NUMERACY READINESS

Our goal in Kindergarten is to help children develop a strong sense of number and math concepts through flexible thinking and foundational understandings in the relationships between numbers. Please avoid having your child memorize sets of addition and subtraction facts, as this promotes rote memorization. Here are some ways to promote “math sense” at home:

  • Play counting games that involve quantities (e.g. give your child a group of objects and count them together while pointing at the objects as you count; show two groups of objects – which group has more? Less?)
  • Point out basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, heart, diamond) or look for patterns in the environment
  • Engage in kitchen or bath activities that involve measuring and pouring

ENCOURAGING INDEPENDENCE FOR A SUCCESSFUL START

  • Engage in crafts and activities that involve cutting on a line and gluing
  • Reinforce proper tripod grip when colouring, drawing, painting, etc. (see https://www.brisbanekids.com.au/7-must-know-tips-help-child-master-pencil-grip/ for some great tips and tricks)
  • Know how to zip, unzip, button, and unbutton clothing items, including outerwear 
  • Clean up after playing and eating
  • Practice opening and closing lunch containers and lids; ensure child is able to eat efficiently on their own
  • Practice packing a backpack (put books, lunch kit, and personal items inside) 
  • Practice changing shoes (including tying and untying laces and/or fastening and unfastening velcro)
  • Independently use washroom (personal hygiene, flush, and wash hands)

FOLLOW YOUR CHILD’S LEAD

  • Don’t rush them to do something they aren’t ready for (they should enjoy the activity)
  • Avoid overscheduling your child in too many structured activities – children need time to play and daydream. If your child says, “I’m bored!” don’t rush to fill their time or give them something to do. Instead ask, “What are you going to do about that?” and let them figure it out
  • Ensure your child has downtime, and gets lots of rest (10-13 hours of sleep/24 hours for ages 3-5)
  • Encourage your child to turn “oopsies” into “ahas!”
  • Practice the “…yet” principle – “you might not know/be able to this yet…let’s try again later”)

Contributed by Tanya de Hoog, Junior School Principal