I’ve been teaching school for 24 years. For the first ten years, it was 4th or 5th grade bilingual. Then for ten years I stayed home to start a family. I’ve been back now for fourteen years teaching first grade and kindergarten. Kindergarten is a fascinating grade. (Really, I’ve enjoyed all the grades I’ve taught.) I would have never thought to teach kindergarten, but when our school lost four teachers, I had the lowest seniority so I was the one moved to kindergarten since that’s where we needed a teacher. I love kindergarten! The kids are so enthusiastic! “Today, children, we are going to do writing.” “Yay!” they respond. “Now, we’re going to do math.” “Yay!” they respond.
On their first day of kindergarten, some children are a little leery. Who’s to blame them? This may be their first time leaving home. I tell the parents to stay as long as they’d like. I definitely believe in a strong teacher-parent partnership! As I said in my previous blog, I am fortunate to have such wonderful parent and grandparent volunteers.
The following are some things parents should know about kindergarten:
- If your child does not know how to tie shoes, don’t send him to school with lace shoes. Velcro is wonderful! My husband and I tried and tried to teach our boys to tie. Tying shoes is a difficult skill for many kids. My two boys wore Velcro shoes for many years. I don’t know when they finally learned to tie. I do know they went to college wearing tied shoes.
- Many kindergarten children have been to pre-school. Many children come to kindergarten knowing their ABCs. They not only know the names of the ABCs they also know the letter sounds. Some even come to kindergarten reading.
- Many come to kindergarten knowing how to count to thirty.
- If your child comes to kindergarten not knowing how to tie his shoes, or his ABCs or counting to thirty, that’s fine. What all parents do need to do is monitor how their children are doing in school. Look at the papers that come home in your child’s backpack. Then make sure your child can really do what’s on the papers!
- Some parents will just need to monitor their children, making sure their children can do the classroom work. Other parents, whose children may have difficulty, will need to give their children help and the necessary practice.
- What do parents do who have to work full time and their children need help at home with their schoolwork? For kindergartners, it’s best if you can give them five to fifteen minutes a day. Don’t expect to help them just one day a week. Their attention span may not be longer than five to ten minutes.
- Read to your children. Go to the public library and get picture books. Ask the librarian where these books are. They’re beautiful books. Reading to your children will increase their vocabulary and listening comprehension. Ask your children when, why, where, what, and how questions about the story.
- Research shows that parents who attend teacher conferences and other school functions, their children do better in school.
- Bottom line is to enjoy your children! They’re just starting kindergarten. You have a long haul a head. Pace yourself.
If you know a parent or grandparent who doesn’t know English but would like to learn, our series: English for the Spanish Speaker is an excellent workbook series for them. The pace is not too fast and the large print helps to make the workbooks user friendly. On each page the directions are in Spanish; and there’s an Answer Key at the end of each lesson. See all our workbooks at www.Fisher-Hill.com.