Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

Rebecca White  |  2/25/2005 4:10:11 AM

kindergarten-age child

Parents can help children prepare for kindergarten by taking several actions before the first school bell rings.

Learning more about how and when to register for kindergarten, finding out about school personnel and even visiting the school are just some of the steps you can take to help prepare your child. Kindergarten is a special event for children and their parents. For many children, it is the first experience they have in a formal educational setting; other children will find the kindergarten environment somewhat similar to their preschool educational experiences.

In the month before the opening of school, parents can help their children by learning several things, such as these suggested by the U.S. Department of Education:

  • When to register for kindergarten.
  • What registration forms to fill out.
  • The school principal's name.
  • Their child's kindergarten teacher's name.
  • What immunizations are required.
  • A description of the kindergarten program.
  • The kindergarten schedule and a daily schedule.
  • Transportation procedures.
  • Food service arrangements.
  • Ways to become involved in the child's education and the school.

Additionally, parents can help children by visiting the school in advance with their child. Walk up and down the hallways and help your child learn where things are. This helps the child to become familiar with the school and reduces fears. Parents should talk with children about school during the visit in a positive way. Your attitude will rub off on your child. Make positive comments on what school and their teachers will be like, what kind of activities go on there and how much fun it will be to learn.

Tell your child often how important it is to go to school every day and learn. Another tip to consider is for parents to attend any school orientation meetings. Ask for any printed information and visit with the principal or teacher in advance to help you find out what the school expects from entering kindergarten students.

When the long-awaited day arrives, go with your child to school. But don't stay too long. It is important to be patient with young children, since the first experiences of school can be overwhelming. It is not unusual that some children may cry or cling to their parents as they say goodbye each morning, but, with continued support from you and the teacher, this will change rapidly.

As the school year proceeds, continue providing encouragement to your child and become involved as a school volunteer. Share your child's enthusiasm and let your child know how proud you are of his or her accomplishments. Let your child know you believe he or she will succeed. Your child will sense your confidence and feel supported and encouraged.

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