Tips on preparing incoming kindergarteners for success during the summer

First Things First encourages parents to prepare children for kindergarten during summer months. (Submitted photo)

With summer approaching, families can use tips on preparing children for kindergarten during the summer by turning everyday events into learning moments leading to success.

Many kindergarten teachers tell parents that engaging in basic everyday activities are the best ways to help ensure incoming kindergarteners feel confident and ready for transitioning to kindergarten, according to a press release.

If you don’t have kindergarteners this year, it’s never too early to start helping toddlers and preschoolers prepare, the release noted. Children with positive early childhood experiences tend to score higher on school readiness assessments, are better in school and graduate.

“Something very important that parents can do to help their child be ready for kindergarten is to put the technology down and play. This could include both interactive play with the parent or play groups to develop social skills,” Queen Creek kindergarten teacher Flor Noble of Jack Barnes Elementary School said in a prepared statement. “Also, practice the development of fine motor skills through the use of play dough, scissors and coloring to practice proper grasp of writing utensils.”

First Things First tips to help preschoolers transition to kindergarten:

  • Read with your child at least 20 minutes per day. Try books that repeat words; involve activities like counting, identifying colors, objects or letters; or, are about things your child likes. Ask questions like, “What do you think happens next?”
  • Talk with your child everywhere – at home, in the car, at the store. Make up stories or songs
    about your outings.
  • Writing begins with scribbling. Give your child safe writing tools to play with, like crayons, chalk or markers and blank paper. Ask your child to tell you about their drawings.
  • Teach your child how to use the bathroom by themselves; how to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating; how to blow their nose and sneeze into their elbow.

Before the first day, talk with children about what to expect during the school day and types of after-school activities they may be involved in – the more details, the less anxious they will feel,  the release stated.

Rehearse for the “big day” with test-runs of the new routine to include:

  • Choosing what to wear the night before.
  • Waking up early to have plenty of time to get ready.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast.
  • Walking to the bus stop and talking about boarding and where to sit.
  • Practicing how to open parts of lunch, whether it’s a carton of milk or a small bag of carrots. Tell them that teachers or lunch staff can help if needed.

First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization funding early education and health programs to promote kids success upon kindergarten. Decisions on spending funds are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers, the release added.

To learn more, visit FirstThingsFirst.org.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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