6 Things Your Child Should Know Before Kindergarten

Although your child attends a language immersion school you should still be aware of basic milestones. While there are some lags in learning that researchers have identified take place until third grade it doesn’t hurt to continue to expose your child with opportunities to learn these skills.

My youngest daughter is entering Kindergarten in the fall and I found these tips from a seasoned educator in Michigan, Lois Hoekstra,  to be very helpful.

1. Encourage a child’s curiosity and eagerness to learn. It’s important for children to start kindergarten with a sense that learning is fun. “They’re going to be like little sponges” in kindergarten, Hoekstra said.

2. Know how to write his or her own name. “As a teacher, I loved it when a child could write his or her name, even if it was all in capital letters,” Hoekstra said. Other experts suggest a child should also know his or her parents’ names and the family address and phone number.

3. Know how to count, at least to 10. “Even 20 or 30,” Hoekstra said. Other experts also suggest that incoming kindergartners should have a sense of the order of the numbers — for instance, realize that the number 5 is after 4 and before 6.

4. Know the alphabet. 
While many, if not most kindergartners, know the alphabet song, it also helps if they recognize the letters in isolation — for instance, they can pick out that letter “s” in a word — and if they know the sounds that letters make. Hoekstra said this is a skill that parents can practice with their children in the car by reading signs.

5. Know how to use scissors.
 “Children who don’t know how to use scissors can get so frustrated” in the first weeks of kindergarten, Hoekstra said. Incoming kindergartners who have never used scissors should be given a pair now and a chance to practice, she said — an activity that also can serve to occupy a bored or restless child. Hoekstra also suggests giving Play Doh to preschoolers to develop their fine motor skills.

6. Know how to care for his or her own physical needs.  “If you really want to make a kindergarten teacher happy, teach your child how to tie his shoes,” Hoekstra saidLikewise, other experts say it can help a kindergarten teacher immensely if a child can use a restroom without assistance, including putting clothes back in order; can zip up or button their coats on their own; take on and off boots and other outerwear, and know how to use a tissue and to cover their mouth when they cough.

Neither of our daughter’s know how to tie their shoe or spell mommy and daddy’s names. That is something we will begin to work on. I don’t add these as goals because I need my children to be the best. I add these as goals because I love learning to parent and working with my children to learn new skills. I have no idea how to teach them to tie their shoes so look forward to future posts about our adventures in this area. We’ve gotten by with slip on shoes up to this point but it looks like a pair of lace up sneakers are in our near future.

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