Saturday, August 30, 2014 child is going off to Kindergarten!!! Eeeek!!!

Today's quote:

"I am a
Jacket zipping,
Crayon drawing
Subject testing,
Milk opening,
Folder stuffing,
Computer dusting,
Alphabet singing,
Storybook reading


1. Sing the ABC's.  

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be shocked at the number of students who enter Kindergarten without being able to recite the alphabet!  If you don't know how to sing the ABC song, how on earth could you be expected to write them?  Sing the ABC song with your children throughout the day.  Sing it as you change your baby's diaper, or give your kids a bath, or set the table for a meal, or when you're driving in the car…  It takes less than a minute to sing and there are plenty of minutes in a day where you can sneak them in! 

*Hint: Be sure to sing clearly and slowly through the "L, M, N, O" portion of the song.  When we sing it quickly, it sounds like one long letter - and your child will learn it that way!

2. Write his/her first and last name.

Start by concentrating on the first name.  Be sure to encourage proper grip on the pencil or crayon!  Say each letter as you write.  Don't worry about writing on lined paper or making each letter perfect - it's not developmentally possible at three or four years old!  Help your child learn how to write first and last name and worry about making it look nice a little later. 

3. Identify all 26 letters - capital and lowercase.

This is a skill that would be great for your child to know when entering Kindergarten, by the truth is: it might be too much to know by September.  I would expect most children to know by January though.  Start with the first letter of your child's first name.  Whenever you see his/her name in print, point out the first letter and say its name.  Pick random letters as you encounter them: on a cereal box or licenseplate, in a book, on a toy…  Be creative. 

*Hint: Capital letters are easier! 

4. Write all 26 letters - capital and lowercase.

A great way to practice writing the letters is by tracing them.  Write the letters on a piece of paper with plenty of space around each one.  Have your child trace the letters with a pencil, crayon, or marker.  After your child can trace them, see if he/she can do it without the tracing as a guide.  Again, start with capital letters.  There are even fonts available for download that print letters (and numbers!) with dashed lines for tracing!

*Hint: Use unorthodox materials to learn how to write!  Finger paint the letters, laminate a piece of paper and give your child a dry-erase marker, write in the sand at the beach or in a sandbox, make a letter with cheerios or veggies during meals…

5. Know all 26 letter sounds.

This is obviously dependent on actually knowing the letters first!  Be sure to build up to letter sounds once your child can identify each letter.  This is a crucial skill as your child learns to read and must "sound out" a word.

*Hint: Want a great educational video to help?  Try Leapfrog's The Letter Factory.  It's one of my favorites!

6. Count from 0 - 20.

This is another skill that is essential!  Be sure your child knows at least 0 - 10 before starting Kindergarten.  Just like with the ABC's, you can count anytime!  Spend a minute here or there counting, point out how many of something there are ("Wow!  There are two doggies walking outside!") and eventually start asking your child to identify how many there are ("Look at the doggies outside!  Maia,how many doggies are there?")

*Hint: Many kids get confused after 10 so be patient!  Always correct your child's mistakes calmly and then move one!

7. Identify numbers 0 - 20.

As your child is learning the numbers, be sure to point them out when you see them in day-to-day life.  Point to and identify numbers in a recipe, on a sign, in a book, at the store, or write them yourself!

8. Write numbers 0 - 20.

Again, start by tracing!  It's fun and it will help your child learn how to correctly form each letter.  Don't stress that each number is perfect - there is plenty of time to help them write on the lines later.  Developmentally, it just isn't possible yet!

9. Basic sight words.

Sight words are a great way to give a child a "head start" in reading.  These words occur often in beginner reader books.  Knowing these words will eliminate the need to "sound out" every. single. word.  Help your child identify (and eventually spell) the following words: a, at, am, and, can, I, like, me, my, no, said, see, the, to.  Add to this list as your child masters the words.

*Hint: HeidiSongs makes GREAT videos that incorporate song and movement to help your child learn sight words.  We started each day in my classroom with a word or two from a video to reinforce what we were learning.

Ten perfect books to share with your Kindergartner:

1. The Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing

2. Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis

3. Countdown To Kindergarten by Alison McGhee

4. Miss Bindergarten Gets Read for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

5. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

6. The Kissing Hand - Audrey Penn  ***

7. Welcome to Kindergarten by Anne Rockwell

8.  Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes  ***

9.  Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson

10.  The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Stan Berenstain

Yes, it truly is an exciting time in both  the life of your little one, heading off to school for the first time, and YOU ( the parent) ....having to release your baby into a huge academic system and let him/her go.  I promise you that as former Kindergarten teacher .... all will be just fine. :)   It is a busy, exciting time and a huge milestone in the life of your child.  Enjoy the  transition and remember that books can teach and comfort as your little one goes through changes that will change his life forever.  Pick up a book and read to soothe and have an open dialogue about that extraordinary change.  Have an amazing day and remember to .....Read on and read always!  

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