Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? 8 Tips for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
Sending your child to Kindergarten for the first time can bring up a variety of emotions—excitement, anxiety, relief, sadness. It’s the very start of your child’s journey in education, and it can be a big transition for the whole family. At Mark Day School, teachers, staff, and administrators work closely with families, including before the start of the school year, to help guide a positive educational experience. Below are their best pieces of advice for getting your child ready for Kindergarten at Mark Day School and beyond.
Tips for Fostering Kindergarten Readiness
- Group social experiences are key. The more opportunities children have in group social settings prior to starting Kindergarten, the more likely they will be to experience a smoother transition. Kids will experience conflict in their daily interactions as they learn that people differ in likes and dislikes, interests and desires. The sooner they start to experience these interactions, the better they will be able to navigate social situations that arise in school.
- Set—and stick to—a routine. At school, Kindergartners quickly establish routines and procedures that are practiced over and over. Following routines helps free up brain space for deeper learning. Similar routines with empathetic but firm expectations should also be set—like having a bedtime routine and getting to be on time, eating a healthy breakfast, reading every night, and showing up to school on time or early. Even small changes can have a big impact on Kindergarten readiness.
- Reading for 20 minutes a day at home can vastly improve a love of reading. Students participate in an individualized reading program at Mark Day, during which they bring home books on their reading level they can read to their parents and guardians. Both practicing reading themselves and also listening as an adult in their household reads to them can improve their readiness for kindergarten and literacy skills and help foster a love of reading.
Tips for The First Few Weeks of Kindergarten
- Drop the kids off and go. It may be tempting to stick around and peer through the window as your child begins their day. But allowing them to settle unaccompanied by a parent or guardian can help your child with kindergarten anxiety and instill a sense of confidence and security in their new environment. It shows them that you believe they truly are ready for Kindergarten.
- Expect conflict and challenge—it’s part of the learning process. It is normal for kids to struggle in kindergarten at times—expect some bumps in the road, whether it’s a disagreement with a classmate or a difficulty grasping a new concept. And, that’s when the best learning can happen. Teachers are on hand to uncover the needs underneath the challenge and help the student navigate through those growth moments.
- Remember that all Kindergartners enter school with varied levels of skills and knowledge. Teachers at Mark Day differentiate through individualized instruction and small group work. “We get to know each child—their strengths, areas for growth, and personal interests—and work closely with that student to meet them where they are and help them stretch to their next level,” says Jennifer Southern, Kindergarten teacher at Mark Day.
- A comfortable and safe learning environment is important. For the first few weeks of Kindergarten, teachers at Mark Day help students adjust to kindergarten and feel comfortable to share, participate, and be themselves through a variety of activities, class discussions, role playing and role modeling, and literature. “SEL is embedded in everything we do throughout the day,” says Jennifer. “Kindness, acceptance, and inclusion are part of our classroom environment—and they’re necessary for learning.” Parents and guardians can also help model these behaviors at home.
- Collaborate with your child’s teacher. At Mark Day School, the three-way partnership between parents/guardians, teachers, and administrators is key to a student’s success. If you have a concern or a question, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s teacher. It is a true reciprocal partnership in favor of the child’s best interests.
In Summary: The Earlier You Work on Getting Ready for Kindergarten, The Better
Preparing for Kindergarten and helping your child settle in to the first few weeks at school can make a big difference in the start of their educational journey.
To learn more about our Kindergarten program, click here.