Sending your elementary school age child off to school for the first time can prove to be a scary thing for us parenting types that haven’t been down that road before. This year, I’m embarking on sending my 7th child to school for the first time and I must admit, it hasn’t gotten any easier even though he’s the 7th one that I’ve done this with. However, knowing what to expect in the early years of elementary school as you enter in to this environment for the first time can help to calm your nerves and take the sting out of the whole experience for you.
The August 2010 issue of Parenting School years’ article on this topic is quite helpful.
For parents that are new to school, here’s some back to school tips on what you can expect from the first four years.
If you remember K-5 being play time, you’ll be surprised to see that all that has changed. Kindergarten has become academically intensive with full days on board. Reading in groups is emphasized, as well as solving easy math problems, and counting by tens. They’ll all be seated as they practice pencil and paper skills while they are mastering the alphabet, numbers and writing small sentences.
There’s a lot of ground covered in 1st grade as well, things like different genre’s of English that include nonfiction, fiction and poetry and how they differ. They begin to read with fluently and graduate to chapter books. Punctuation comes into the picture and becomes easier. They’ll also be working with time and counting money along with the concept of less than, greater than, and equal to. You can also expect short homework assignments.
I enjoyed this grade. It is a year in which the kids learn to read in silence as well as aloud. They will relate the experiences in their lives to what they read in books, and they maintain reading logs in class. They spend a lot of time writing simple types of stories, categorize shapes, and practice math problems without visual aids to help them figure things out. Some schools introduce cursive writing in this grade. Overall, at this age the kids tend to like a quieter atmosphere in the classroom than in the years prior.
Standardized testing will start this year, pulling in a big dose of math and spelling work. They begin to learn the tables of multiplication, as well as become familiarized with division and fractions. Writing is a large part of the curriculum in this grade and they become more fluent in using complete sentences that contain adjectives. You may see some teachers implementing oral reports in this classroom and if cursive was not introduced last year in second grade, it will be in third grade guaranteed.
You may find yourself being a bit uneasy as the first day of school approaches. However, these insights will help you to see the bigger picture and hopefully make you more comfortable and aware of what you can expect from the lower elementary grades.
Source: August 2010 issue of Parenting School Years