Bittersweet is the day when parents say goodbye to their young ones on their first day of school. If you have a child who is attending kindergarten for the first time this fall, you’re likely either breathing a sigh of relief or your heart is breaking just thinking about it.
Kindergarten is an important time in a child’s life. Whether you’re enrolling them in a half-day kindergarten or full-day program, their social skills will be developed, their attention spans will be tested, and their horizons will be expanded.
Preparing your child for kindergarten may not seem like a high priority, but in fact, preparing your child for their kindergarten experience will help them significantly in adjusting to the new learning environment. According to an article from MayoClinic, “Kindergarten marks the start of a child’s formal education. […] As a result, it’s important to make sure that when your child begins school he or she is developmentally ready to learn and participate in classroom activities.”
During the kindergarten phase, children are typically exposed to letters and sounds, writing, numbers and counting, shapes and objects, and times and seasons, according to Parents.com. In order to help your child transition and learn during the year, it’s important that parents play a significant role in encouraging, supporting, and coaching their children in the home.
Kindergarten is a time of exploration as children learn to be more confident and self-reliant. According to Scholastic.com, there are a variety of skills that your children should possess or begin to possess as they enter Kindergarten, including:
- Identify some letters of the alphabet
- Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly (with the thumb and forefinger supporting the tip)
- Use scissors, glue, paint, and other art materials with relative ease
- Write his/her first name using upper and lowercase letters, if possible
- Count to 10
- Bounce a ball
- Speak using complete sentences
- Identify rhyming words
- Repeat his full name, address, phone number, and birthday
- Manage bathroom needs
- Follow directions
- Clean up after his/herself
- Listen to a story without interrupting
- Separate from parents easily
This list is not extensive and mastering everything on it is not essential to beginning Kindergarten. Children will learn and develop these skills and others, so it is only encouraged that children come as prepared as possible for these learning opportunities.
As their parent or caretaker, you can help them prepare as much as possible over the summer and while they’re in school by continuing to play, read, and explore new things with your child. Asking your children what they learned when they come home from Kindergarten and showing an interest in what they’ve learned can help foster your relationship with your child, especially if they’re not enjoying being away from home. It won’t be long before they begin to incorporate what they’ve learned in their activities at home!
The most important attribute to knowing if your child is ready for kindergarten is their eagerness or interest in learning. Kindergarten is all about learning basic skills and knowledge through colorful, fun games and activities. If your child is interested in learning, you can rest easy knowing that Kindergarten is a great next step!
Select branches at the Harrisburg Area YMCA offer Half-Day Kindergarten programs for children who are enrolled in an AM or PM class this upcoming school year. We provide enrichment activities such as arts and crafts, imaginative play, listening, reading, math, and science in a safe and supportive environment. For more information on our current Half-Day Kindergarten Programs, please visit our website and select your branch!
-Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator