Kindergarten Panic, er Countdown: My Two Week Prep List.

I'm a preschool teacher yet I am the type of parent that seems a little too laid back according to other people's standards. My daughter isn't officially registered for junior kindergarten yet.  Due to an enrollment problem with the school we chose for her, I will be on the phone with local schools a few days before the Fall session is due to start.  After some observation of her self-help skills, there are a few issues my girl will need to work on before being released into the wild blue yonder of school life. I was feeling a little mom-guilt when I heard all the prep that other parents were doing to get their children ready for kindergarten, so I registered her for an 6 week summer-school Kindergarten readiness program.   I also had a chat with a kindergarten teacher to make my own pared down "Ready for Kindergarten" list.

Bathroom independence- This is a must for all children starting kindergarten since teachers do not enter the bathroom with children. Can your child use the toilet alone and wipe effectively? Washing their hands while singing Happy Birthday 2x will help them know how long to soap scrub and rinse.

Getting dressed and undressed-  I have bought her indoor and outdoor shoes with velcro instead of laces. She came on the shopping trip to try the shoes before buying.  My girl is beginning to practice putting on coats, boots, and zippers NOW for when the colder weather comes.

Opening lunch containers- My girl is practicing how to open snacks (granola bars, yogurt, juice boxes, etc.) and lunch containers as well as sandwich baggies. Invest in child scissors if you don't already have some, let your child snip the end off of granola bar wrappers for practice.

Recognizing her own name in print -  I have labeled her shoes, back pack, lunch bag, and coat.  She can spot her name amongst other children's items at nursery school. Your child doesn't have to know the entire alphabet or how to spell to enter Kindergarten. Simple name recognition activities will help them remember what their name looks like.  Print their name on a sheet of 8x11 paper (large font) and let them decorate with sticker dots, then insert it into plastic sheeting. Use it as a placemat so they see their name often.

Learning to be organized- Princess is learning to keep belongings together for easy access (ie. if she takes something out of her back pack she puts it back in when done, or when she plays with something, she is learning to tidy it up before moving on to a new activity). Learning organization will hopefully cut down on the expense of missing items and encourage respect for property- both hers and other peoples.

Communication- Young children may be overwhelmed with the new routines introduced in an all-day kindergarten setting.  Encourage your child to identify who they should ask for assistance and learn the proper way to ask for help. Develop a script for your child to act out or questions for them to answer. "If you need to use the bathroom what will you say?" "Who will you ask for help?" "The teacher may ask you to wait quietly with your hand raised in the air to get their attention." etc.

As I write this I am getting a little more nervous about her school start on September 3, but ready or not, she's going to be in someone else's care for the next 13 years. A little prep now will hopefully set her up for kindergarten success.


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