This week we are focusing on Social and Emotional Readiness. Last year, I touched on these topics by sharing my top 5 Social Skills for Kindergarten Readiness and ideas on how to help your child Develop Kindergarten Language Skills.
Gasp! Did I just say that? Yes, I did. Do you want to know why? A child who doesn't know those things will learn them during their year in kindergarten. Most kindergarten classes start at the beginning and help your child build a solid foundation (unless they are in a more advanced class). Kindergarten is filled with so much learning and it happens in leaps and bounds. We take children who may not know all their letters and sounds and turn them into beginning readers in our 180 days together. (Ok, not all children learn at the same speed so some may not be reading by the end of kindergarten but on average most of them will.)
In my experience as a teacher, what makes the biggest difference is a child's social and emotional development.
When a child can:
1. Participate in a structured class schedule
2. Follow directions
3. Work cooperatively with others
4. Express themselves without resorting to being physical
5. Adjust to new situations and environments appropriately
They are able to learn and that makes a huge difference in the classroom.
How can you nurture and encourage your child's social and emotional development so that they will be successful in the classroom?
1. Provide structure or some sort of daily routine at home this summer. It doesn't have to be rigid. You don't have to account for every minute like we do in the classroom but there should be a schedule they can identify with and count on. For example,
8:00 - 9:00 Breakfast and Get Dressed
9:00 - 9:30 Activity Time (something you have set-up & they must complete)
9:30 - 10:00 Free Time
10:00 - 12:00 Outdoor Activity
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Reading Time & Extension Activity
2:00 - 2:30 Quiet Time Activity
Don't worry if your child appears shy or even anxious at first - it's normal. The more opportunities your provide for them to practice their social skills, the easier it will become for them. Your child's teacher will help the students in his/her care get to know each other over the first few weeks of school. It's always helpful if as parents, we provide them with the tools they need. You are your child's first and most important teacher.
- helping set the table
- helping clear the table
- matching socks after the laundry is complete
- help in the care and feeding of pets
- make their bed
- straighten up their room and/or play room daily
- sweep or vacuum (you'd be surprised how much kids love doing this!)
Doing these things at home encourages their independence. This is important once your child begins school because we nurture and foster their independence from the beginning. It also encourages a sense of community ownership which is crucial in the classroom. As a kindergarten teacher I quickly establish in my classroom that it will take teamwork to keep things tidy, organized and available for everyone. Finally, having and completing chores will help your child be able to follow simple directions in the classroom. A child who is unable to follow directions not only disrupts the overall flow of the classroom but also impedes learning - both their own and the learning of those around them.
For more info on children and chores read our Wk 3 post - Foster a Child's Independence with Chores at Home.
You'd be surprised at how doing these 3 simple things at home will positively impact your child's transition to kindergarten. A child who is socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten = a student who is ready to learn.
More ideas on how to help your child be socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten by my Get Ready for K Through Play co-hosts:
(Coffee Cups and Crayons)
(Here Come the Girls)
(Mess for Less)
(Rainy Day Mum)
(The Pleasantest Thing)
Be sure to follow the Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest Board for even more ideas from around the web to help you get your child ready for K in playful and easy ways.