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What is your best advice to parents who want to make sure their child is ready to start kindergarten ready to hit the ground running?
Depending on where you live and where your child will attend school the Kindergarten teachers will have different expectations. I would advise you read with your child each day. Teachers notice when children gravitate towards books and have a love of hearing, telling and “reading” stories. It also builds their language development.
You can also help your children prepare for Kindergarten by teaching them colors and shapes. Luckily no matter where you live these are things in your child’s everyday life. When you are running errands, going to the park or when you are at home you can do shape and color hunts. I used to have my kindergarten classes do these hunts for one shape or color at a time. They would write or draw where they saw the shape. For example, the TV is a rectangle. This is especially great if you live in a city with tall buildings that are rectangular and have square windows. The children love these hunts.
You can also do the same hunts for reinforcing numbers and letters. Children would benefit from knowing their alphabet and numbers to at least 20 both printed and verbally. You can also support counting by setting the table. The child would need to count how many people in the family, how many napkins, forks etc. You can ask them to “add” how many utensils depending on the level your child is working at.
If you child attends preschool or day care then they have experience with socialization and learning how to participate in a group setting. If your child does not participate in these types of school settings then it would be helpful for them to attend some “classes” such as movement or sports classes to practice these very important skills.
Most of all have fun with all of this. You want your child to enter Kindergarten excited to be there and to have a LOVE of learning.