Help your child prepare for the transition to kindergarten
How ready is my child for school? That’s a question many parents ask. Your child already has many skills. Your child:
- knows the difference between him or herself and others, between family and strangers
- grasps the connection between cause and effect
- understands and can express spatial relationships—up from down, in from out, front from back
- can use the grammar of your first language and has a large vocabulary of words
Your child will continue to build on these skills during the early years of school.
There are activities you can do with your child now to help prepare for kindergarten. You may choose to use books or videos to prepare your child for school. Here are some additional ideas:
Language, reading and writing development
Make jewelry out of everyday items. Arrange buttons, beads or pasta on a plate or tray and invite your child to string the items to make necklaces or bracelets. Count with your child or work with them to make different patterns. Talk with your
child as you play together.
- Play bingo and dominoes.
- Play “store.” Put price tags on toys (under 20 cents) and let your child use pennies, nickels and dimes to pay for them. Then switch places—let your child be the shopkeeper and “make change.”
Go for a walk in the neighbourhood. Look for numbers that are in the environment, and listen to what your child is noticing. Follow their interests and curiosities as you talk about the numbers, the shapes, the colours and everything that you see along the way.
- Let your child help you follow a recipe to cook something. Measuring is math, cooking or baking is chemistry.
- Measure the rain. Use a plastic jar with straight sides and a flat bottom and a marker. On the outside, mark “half full” and “full.” Keep track of the amount of rainfall.
- Give your child a magnifying glass to inspect things up close—bugs, leaves, fabrics or anything your child is interested in. Encourage your child to draw pictures of what he or she sees and keep them in a “science journal.”
- Let your child become a bathtub scientist. Give your child different objects—together, predict which will float and which will sink, then test the predictions.
Developing listening skills
Listening is a complex skill. Help your child by understanding and practicing the steps involved in listening:
- Stop what you are doing.
- Look at the person who is speaking.
- Don’t talk or move around when the person is speaking.
- Think about what the person is saying.
Dress for (kindergarten) success
When you’re shopping for school clothes for your child, here are some tips to choosing the ideal wardrobe for “power learning”:
- In the course of an average kindergarten class, your child will jump, run, walk, bounce, stretch, crouch, bend and sit in a chair or on the floor. Choose clothes and footwear that will be comfortable during all of these activities.
- Choose clothes, jackets, shoes and boots that are easy to put on, take off and fasten.
- Kindergarten children learn best when they explore, discover and experiment—in other words, get messy. Choose clothes that are durable and easy to clean.
- Outdoor play is an important part of the kindergarten program. Your child needs outdoor clothing for all types of weather.
More helpful hints
- Speak positively to your child about starting school.
- Expose your child to fun activities that include the use of crayons, markers, paint brushes and scissors, etc.
- Teach your child how to dress themselves.
- Read and look at books with your child.
- Contact the school to find out if there is an Open House event you can attend with your child.
- Visit neighbourhood and school playgrounds together.
- Encourage your child to play with other children.
- Practice washroom routines like flushing the toilet, washing hands and dressing.
- Teach your child how to tidy up after themselves.