This year we begin the school year with another introduction to Kindergarten. My son Owen is 6 ½ years old and began last year due to his birth date being in the winter. My daughter Hannah begins this year due to a summer birth date.
Both Owen and Hannah were in preschool prior to Kindergarten. For our family, the routine of preschool helped with transition into public school immensely. Owen and Hannah attended a preschool located in the other end of the building where they will attend Kindergarten.
Doesn’t everyone remember their first day of public school? It was 1982 when I began and due to home preschool and not being around other children, I was terrified. My 84 year old grandmother owns two photos of my cousin and I that were in the local newspaper for the Kindergarten section that year. Even without looking at the picture I know I had my Annie shirt on and was terrified. I have never been a social person and walking into public school for the first time was somewhat akin to a wolf being led into the slaughter. For the next thirteen years, I experienced a lot of teasing for being so quiet.
The question remains what you can do to make the transition easier. For most, the option of preschool is over. Preschool is wonderful because they teach children their letters and some basic needed skills for Kindergarten but many parents do this at home. Kudos to these parents as what our children are expected to learn nowadays is much more than what we needed to learn. My son Owen is six and asked me to tell him what a phrenologist is. A phrenologist is a pseudo scientist known for examining bumps on the head and correlating it to personality traits.
To prepare a child for a Kindergarten routine, the best thing to do is begin a routine several weeks before school begins. We keep the routine the same in the summer break so as not to make the situation more difficult when school begins. Our children go to sleep at 8:30 p.m. each night. We give them snacks about the time they would have them at school. Usually I find a craft activity similar to what they would do in art class. I take them to the park for a recess activity to expend energy.
One important thing we do is try to review what they learned in preschool. This is an intelligent act no matter what grade your child is beginning. While the year typically begins with some things learned the year before (because children tend to forget over the summer months), it is easier to help them retain what they have learned during their break. I buy tablets to help with their writing skills and own several books that teach pre-school and first year public school skills.
For me, when Hannah begins Kindergarten I do not expect a lot of difference except missing her throughout the day. We are blessed in that Owen began Kindergarten last year and we could see what needed to be done to help her in regard to routine. If your child attended preschool, in the weeks before school begins refresh what he or she learned. Keep bed time consistent. Make sure your children continue to be exposed to other children especially if they are shy turned as mine are. One thing we did was take them to the library to be read to for several weeks earlier this summer.
Moms who are leaving their children in Kindergarten without the benefit of preschool have a difficult road ahead. It is painful to send your baby away every day when they are typically at home. Take heart in knowing you will adjust to it, as will they. Your child may act upset with you for a while but the fun of Kindergarten usually overrides it.