Cheri M. Gioe, Claesgens, Mark A. | 7/20/2007 12:42:24 AM
A milestone for many families is the day their child begins kindergarten. Typically, in Louisiana, children must be age 5 prior to September 30 to enter kindergarten.
Families must enroll their children in a kindergarten program. LSU AgCenter child care expert Cheri Gioe says many school systems have what they call "kindergarten roundup," where they focus on getting children registered for school before the summer begins. When registering children for kindergarten, families must provide the child’s birth certificate, an up-to-date immunization schedule and, if the child is eligible for any financial assistance, a copy of the current tax return or other requested financial documents.
It is also a good idea to provide copies of vision, hearing or speech evaluations and any type of developmental checklist or screening that may have been performed in another educational setting such as a preschool.
It is also important that current information is kept on file with the school, such as home address, phone numbers, etc. This also includes any custody or visitation schedules.
Gioe says families need to remember that entering kindergarten is an important event in their child’s life. Even children who have attended other educational settings think of kindergarten as their first experience with "real school." Those who have never attended another educational setting will experience their first moments away from home. Both situations can cause children stress.
Families also can play an important role in getting children ready for kindergarten. By following just a few simple guidelines, the transition into kindergarten from either home or another educational setting can be easier for all involved.
Children will have many questions about "real school" and may ask the same questions over and over again. It is important that family members practice patience and answer questions as honestly and thoroughly as possible.
If at all possible, visit the school your child will attend and meet your child’s teacher before school begins. Those kindergarten roundups offer you and the child opportunities to explore the classrooms. During these visits it is important to show the children other areas of the school that they will frequent such as the bathroom and lunchroom.
About two weeks before school begins, start your family’s "school routine." Practice following a homework or reading time. Have dinner, bath and bedtime at a scheduled time. Wake up at a scheduled time. These schedules will help ease your child into a routine.
Join the school’s parent-teacher organization and become active. Learn the names of the people who work at the school. One of the largest predictors of a child’s academic success is family involvement.
Provide requested materials in a timely fashion. Children get upset when they don’t have the materials they need for school. Make certain to label everything clearly.
When the big day arrives, say your final good byes, letting your child know you will be there for them when the day ends and then leave.
Families also must educate their children about strangers. Teach your children not to talk to strangers or accept gifts from people they do not know. Do teach the children who they can go to at school if they feel threatened.
During the school year Gioe says it is important to encourage children to take kindergarten seriously. Habits that are formed in kindergarten will follow your child throughout their academic career.
For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link at the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.