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Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

28 July 2014

Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten!

Families Get Ready!
  • Using a permanent marker, write your child's first name in a prominent location on all items of clothing your child may remove at school.  This includes jackets, hats, and shirts worn over tank tops (between the long day and late summer weather, children often strip down to their tank tops, leaving a litter of indistinguishable shirts behind them).  Write directly onto the clothing or its tags as legibly as possible.
  • Then write your child's name on any backpack, lunchbox, or similar item your child will bring to school.
  • Fill out your emergency card.
  • On the first day of school, make sure to give your child's teacher
    • a working telephone number at which you can be reached all day (the first day is very hectic, and if a teacher has that number on hand in the event of an emergency, it saves a lot of time).
    • details about any allergies, illnesses, etc. your child has.
    • information about how your child will get home that day, including the name and phone number the person who will be picking up your child.  (Make sure your child recognizes this person).
  • Plan to get to school a little early and if applicable, arrive to pick your child up a little early.
  • Embrace the chaos that is the first day.  Once the meet and greet portion of the morning concludes, it is a remarkably smooth day.  But that meet and greet - twenty or more happy families, all of whom need to check in with one harried teacher - can feel hectic.  (And please, DO check in with that teacher before you leave.)
  • Even if your child generally does not want snacks, consider packing some anyway.  The first few days of school are really hard work for kids.
  • Anticipate that your child will sleep heavily, even if he or she has been in a full-day preschool or TK program. 
Help Your Child Be Ready!
  • If your child has a backpack, demonstrate how jackets, shirts, hats, and lunchboxes can be placed inside the backpack.  This really cuts down on lost items.
  • Kindergarten readiness skills get a lot of press, but the truly important ones are not academic.  It helps a lot if a child feels confident and self-efficacious.  Some ways to support your child:
    • Make sure your child is bathroom-independent.
    • If your child may feel embarrassed about asking to use the bathroom (hey, it's normal!), let your child's teacher know.  This cuts down on accidents.  Teachers have strategies for this - silent signals, simply sending that child to the bathroom, etc.
    • Speaking of accidents, they happen, even to the most school-ready, brilliant, and wonderful child.  Consider tossing an extra pair of undies and pants in your child's backpack.  (FYI, your child's classmates will be excellently understanding of any accidents that happen, as will your child's teacher.)
    • Make sure your child is wearing shoes that he or she can fasten.  Teachers have only two hands and two eyes.  They may not notice every straggling shoelace or be able to fix it if they do.  Moreover, shoelaces go many exciting places, like through puddles, into mouths, across mud, etc.  No one wants to tie manky shoelaces.
    • It is wonderful if a child knows his or her phone number.
    • If your child does not yet write his or her own name, that's fine.  It helps a lot if they can read it, though.
    • No one is expecting copperplate writing from a five year old, but a five year old who has some ideas about pencil grip (it doesn't have to be perfect) will feel more ready to go.
The First Week
  • In my experience, there is often a child (or even two) every year who loves, loves, loves to go to school Monday and Tuesday, but come Wednesday or Thursday wakes unexcited.  Kindergarten is hard work for young children.  It's a new environment with new expectations, a long day with many activities, some of which seem hard.  Moreover, the child to adult ratio is almost certainly lower than in any prior school experience your child has had.  So while I think children's concerns should be taken seriously, I would not worry overmuch about midweek blues the first week of school.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice.
It is nice to see you writing again.

E. Rat said...

thanks!