Preparing Your Child to Enter Kindergarten
Entering kindergarten is a big first step in a child’s life. They may be interested in the concept of education by seeing their brothers and sisters, or the neighbourhood kids be sent off to learn.
But whether they are excited and looking forward to their first day of kindergarten or slightly frightened by the prospect of being away from their parents, there are ways that you can better prepare them for the structure of a school environment and give them a head start in knowing what will be expected of them.
These simple exercises will help focus their mind on learning, increase their confidence and may also ease their fears of entering school.
The attitude a child has when they first enter school goes a long way in determining how well they will handle the pressure, whether real or imagined. Children who look at learning as a fun game to be mastered tend to do better when they are confronted with concepts they don’t yet understand.
Children who are well-prepared tend to face the challenge head-on instead trying to figure out a way to avoid it.
Accustom Your Child to Your Absence
You can’t attend school with them, no matter how you’d both like to. Going to school is often one of the first major experiences your child will have of being away from a parent for an extended period of time.
But by taking them on playdates where you drop them off at a neighbour’s house and leave for a while, you’ll be slowly getting them used to your absence. This will make the first week or so of getting them dressed, fed and prepared to leave the house slightly less traumatic for you as well as your child.
To avoid your neighbours having to cope with an irate, screaming child who is missing their parent, start by having an aunt, uncle or teenage sibling take care of your child while you step out of the house for a while. Once they become comfortable with this arrangement, then you can progress to taking the child out of the house on playdates as well.
Maintain a Sense of Excitement About School
Take your child shopping for new clothes and school supplies to signal an upcoming, positive change in their life and keep telling them that they are going to love going to kindergarten. Buy them a small backpack to hold their new supplies and let them play with all their new items.
If they have older siblings, ask them to talk positively around their younger brother or sister about the fun and exciting aspects of school.
Take them to visit their new school and show them where they’ll be spending a few hours a day. Make it clear to them that you’ll be waiting for them when school is over for the day, this will reassure them that you’re not abandoning them in any way.
Start to Encourage Self-care
Practice having your child dress themselves and perform personal care tasks like brushing their hair and washing their hands and face by themselves. By starting your child out on the road to independence they will naturally develop a sense of self-confidence that may prove to be invaluable once the first day of school arrives.
Buying your child shoes with Velcro fasteners will allow them to gain even more confidence when they are able to dress themselves completely and not have to feel like they must depend on a grownup to tie their shoes.
Engage Your Child in Conversation
Social interaction is a large part of kindergarten. Your child will be expected to answer questions that the teacher asks and interact with the other kids in class. If you have an only child, make sure they’re prepared for this aspect of school by regularly engaging them in conversations where they both ask and answer questions.
But don’t assume that they’re prepared just because they converse with you. Invite acquaintances to converse with your child and get them comfortable with speaking politely with your acquaintances as well.
The more ability they show in social interaction, the easier it will be for them to make friends once they begin school and the happier and less isolated they will feel.
If you have any further questions about the aspects of school readiness of your child, please contact The Apple Tree International Kindergarten in Bangkok and arrange a consultation with one of our staff.