The perfect time to prepare your child for kindergarten is when he or she is 4 years old, according to Karen Golembeski, Assistant Director of School Transformation at the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Golembeski said early prep does not mean your child should already have the ability of a kindergartner while still in preschool. Rather, it means that it’s a crucial time to make sure your child is strong in age-appropriate skills.
For a 4-year-old, this can include:
- being able to retell a simple story
- recognizing letters in his or her name
- tracing letters and numbers
- following easy instructions
- recognizing a book’s title
- recognizing rhyming sounds
- taking turns with others
- holding a pencil well
- listening to stories in groups
BabyCenter.com offers more kindergarten prep tips, which include a focus on your child’s social life. Children who already feel comfortable in groups, such as those who have attended preschool, tend to do best in kindergarten. Besides preschool, consider taking your child to library story hours, playgrounds and parties to help him or her prepare for group activities.
Self-awareness is also important, so help your child memorize key pieces of information, including:
- how to spell his or her name
- His or her age
- His or her address
- His or her phone number
Some children learn this information more easily when you turn it into a song.
Find fun ways to practice numbers, perhaps by having your child count soup cans and vegetable cans in your cupboard or counting the number of windows in your house. To help with letters, assign your child a letter and ask him or her to think of items in your house beginning with that letter. Practice colors, too, perhaps by having him or her sort clothing by color and naming those colors.
Finally, PBS interviewed Ann Barbour, a professor of early childhood education, on kindergarten prep. Some of her tips include:
- encourage your child to practice dressing himself or herself
- praise and otherwise encourage curiosity
- work with your child in impulse control and in paying attention
- read together every single day
- be willing to respond to questions from your child
- play guessing games together
- collect empty food containers, then make things out of them using markers, tape and glue
- go places together and talk about what you observe
She also recommends that you discuss what kindergarten will be like with your child, including the daily schedule and routine, what friends also will be attending, the way he or she will be transported, along with the route, and more. If possible, let your child play on the school’s playground and arrange a tour.
Horizon Education Centers Preschool Program
If you live in Lorain or Cuyahoga counties and have a pre-kindergarten child, we encourage you to visit to discuss our preschool program (ages 3-5). You can count on:
- Rich educational services in preparation for kindergarten, aligned with appropriate ODE approved standards
- Qualified teaching staff working with your child every day to prepare him or her socially and academically for kindergarten
Discover more about our pre-kindergarten child care now!