By Barbara Allisen
Do you have a child between the ages of new and 6 years old? Chances are your child will be going to kindergarten. But, once at school, what about your child’s chances? No matter if it’s a long time away or a very short time, there are things that you, as parents and caregivers, can do to help your child with kindergarten readiness.
Research is showing just how essential kindergarten readiness is. Children who are ready for school at kindergarten entry are:
- less likely to be held back a grade,
- less likely to need educational intervention,
- more likely to graduate and go on to college,
- less likely to be in conflict with the legal system, and they earn more in their careers.
Readiness for kindergarten can help your child with the next decade or more of school and beyond. What can you do to help kids with readiness for kindergarten? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
#1. READ: Read and share books with your little ones. Just 3 little books a day adds up to over 1,000 in a year. That means a bank of over 5,000 books by the time your child arrives at school preparing the growing brain for reading and learning. (It’s okay to read the same book a hundred times!)
#2 TALK: Share stories, sing songs, tell jokes. If each word is a penny, kids whose parents have talked to them have an account of more than 40 million words by school entry. These kids are language rich.
#3 RELATIONSHIPS: A child’s social and emotional readiness too often takes a back seat to academics, but it is key to helping your child cope in a group of 20 or more peers. Support your child in learning how to share, to cope with waiting and to take turns. Another aspect is good manners which also help with social confidence. Being able to separate from parents and caregivers is a factor as kids learn about self-care.
Readiness is not another ‘to-do’ on a day’s list; it’s a ‘do-at-the-same-time’. With your child check out colors and shapes at the store; sort the laundry into groups, count the stairs, bend down and watch the ants cross the sidewalk, imagine the forks talking to the spoons as you wash dishes, and wish on the stars. Every day will have learning fun that can be piggy-backed onto what you are already doing, turning chores into adventure and discovery.
As parents and caregivers, you have tremendous influence on those chances before school ever starts. New studies estimate that between one-third and one-half of children are not ready for the learning opportunities and challenges that they will encounter in kindergarten. As a kindergarten teacher who has shared the school start of almost a thousand little ones, I have seen what a difference preparation can make. Make the most of your child’s chances. 1 2 3, here comes kindergarten.
Barbara Allisen is a much-loved kindergarten teacher, parent and author, too. Her book, 1 2 3 Kindergarten, Everything Your Child Needs To Learn Before Kindergarten was a Finalist in the 2011 Indie Excellence Book Awards. For more ideas and educational support, each day she posts a learning activity on her blog: www.123kindergarten.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook at facebook.com/123kindergarten as she shares ideas for readiness for kindergarten fun.