How can I prepare my child for kindergarten?
In this article, you'll find answers to questions such as:
- How can I help prepare my child for K?
- What can I do to encourage independence during this transition?
Starting kindergarten is an exciting time for both children and parents, but it comes with plenty of questions. To help set the tone for a positive school year, parents should encourage independence and speak openly about this new experience.
“Throughout the summer, talk to your child about what to expect in August and highlight all of the positive things (meeting new friends, learning new things, playing on the playground) and exciting things unique to the school,” says Maria E. Lloyd, Principal of Limestone Creek Elementary School in Jupiter.
If students understand what will be required in the classroom, it can help boost their confidence once they are there.
Principal Lloyd suggests practicing colors, shapes, numbers, and sounds, as well as practical activities such as packing and unpacking a backpack, writing their first name with a capital letter at the beginning, and opening snacks and drinks by themselves.
“The most powerful thing you can do as a parent is to get your child to school on time and send them every day. Creating a routine and supporting the teacher is the best thing you can do to help them be comfortable.”
Whether transitioning from Pre-K or starting school for the very first time, the first step for everyone is new student registration. Locating the assigned school for your home address can be found here on the School District’s website, in addition to information on events such as the ‘Kindergarten Round Up’ held each spring, and ‘Meet the Teacher’ during summer break. Each school also has its own website for information on school registration, aftercare programs, parent-teacher organizations, school dress code, and more.
Once the school year is underway, open-ended communication may help provide some insight to what your child is experiencing both educationally and emotionally, and how they may be feeling during this time of transition.
Olivia Marino, Supervisor of Therapy Services for Community Partners of South Florida, suggests asking questions about your child’s different activities each day to spark feedback, like if they sang a new song or learned a new classmates’ name.
“Allow the child to open up at their own time without pressuring conversation,” says Marino.
When parents discuss routines and set daily expectations, a student feels more stable when they are away from home. Marino suggests letting students choose their own outfit for the day and explaining when and how they’ll be picked up from school, to ease concerns.
“It could also be beneficial to discuss the child’s favorite part of the day at pick up, to highlight the positive,” she says.
Click here for more resources and information from the Florida Department of Education on starting Kindergarten.
- Maria E. Lloyd, Principal, Limestone Creek Elementary
- Olivia Marino, Supervisor of Therapy Services, Community Partners of South Florida