We’ve been prepping our son for kindergarten and school in general for a while now. It’s not that we’ve necessarily been worried about him not being on par with other students, but I wanted to give him a head start on what he’d be learning since I thought it would make his transition to school a little easier for him; plus, I think it’s just a good thing to do.
Therefore, we’ve been boning up on certain things before sending him off on his own and without mommy and daddy there to assist. I was surprised to find just how close we’d come with our preparations though, when the kindergarten teacher sent home a “top ten” readiness skills for kindergarten. Here’s how we stacked up against the school’s list.
“Kindergarten is a fun place to be!!”
Our son was super excited to start school, and we only furthered the cause. He’s been looking forward to school for months, and we were unwilling to temper his excitement; therefore, getting him to think that kindergarten was going to be fun, wasn’t an issue.
“Put on/take off shoes/boots independently.”
I started working on tying shoes with our son, back when he was four. Therefore, we had plenty of time and practice to prepare for this one well in advance. I continue, each morning, to have him practice tying, and then double-knotting his shoes, then I go back and tighten things up if necessary once he’s done.
“Zip/unzip backpacks and coats.”
We started working on zipping up pants and jackets around the same time we started working on shoe tying. Again, each morning, I have him attempt this first (as longer as he’s wearing zippers) on his own before providing any assistance.
“Sit and listen to a storybook read aloud for at least 10 minutes.”
To get our son in the school groove for sitting and listening (since he didn’t attend pre-school), we took him to story times at the local library. This got him used to sitting still and listening to stories in a group atmosphere before he got to kindergarten.
“Know full name (first and last) and nickname (if applicable).”
We would regularly do worksheets and workbook pages just about every weekday from the time our son was three until he reached kindergarten. Rather than just have him do the activity, even if it was just coloring, I would often have him right his name (sometimes just first, sometimes first and last) at the top of the page.
“Know address including house number, street, town, state.”
Having our son know his address was something I began working on during the winter before kindergarten. I did it not so much for the school aspect of it but rather for the safety and security side, just in case he was ever separated from an adult while at school.
“Know telephone number including area code.”
For safety purposes, we correlated him learning his phone number with his learning our address. I found that writing the number down for him and then having him copy it multiple time, saying it as he went, worked well for his learning both our phone number and address.
“Know birthday — month and day.”
Our son considers his birthday a major event; therefore, knowing this information was simple for him. There was no way he would let anyone forget his birthday…believe me.
“Practice greeting adults/peers using direct eye contact.”
Again, this is something we’ve worked on since our son was little. As he’s gotten older, I’ve added in shaking hands, which I think is a more adult approach to the greeting, but one that I’d rather have him become accustomed to sooner than later.
“School rules may be different than rules at home, but, like all rules, they are there to keep us safe and help us learn.”
This readiness skill was one that we really didn’t prepare him for too much. Since he didn’t attend preschool, all he really had were home rules. The story sessions at the library helped a little, but he’s transitioned reasonably well to this aspect of school life.
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