Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kindergarten Preparation

Knowing my past life as a classroom teacher, my sweet friend sent me the following question in a message a few weeks ago.

Hi Fatima!
I've been doing preschool at home with ***** and I will continue it at home for 4 year old preschool instead of sending her somewhere. I want to make sure I have her ready for kindergarten. Are there any resources, books, websites you would suggest I check out?
Thank you!

There are many milestones and curriculum guidelines I could have pointed to. but my answer was a bit different.

Here is what I think about kindergarten prep…

Honestly, and in my own personal opinion...
Don't sweat it!
Make sure she can say her ABC's and recognize most of them. Help her learn to count and understand that you are counting individual things.
Most of all...
Let her explore her world. Let her dig in the dirt. Let her play in the sudsy water in your kitchen sink with some measuring cups. Take her to the zoo and go to the state parks to explore the world together. Let her help you cook the pancakes for breakfast. Sit down at a table and paint a picture together just for the fun of it. Set out a jar of buttons and see what kind of neat games she comes up with, sorting, stacking, counting, crafting. Read good books together. Pray together. Go on rainbow hunts on rainy days. Fish in a mud puddle. Leave what my kids call "bear prints" by letting her kick off her shoes and walk through a puddle on the deck and then examine the cute little feet prints that are left behind. Plant some flowers.
Explore and have fun. Kindergarten will come and these days will end, assuming she goes on to a traditional school. These are the days of wonder and wandering. Live it up. Help her see the world in all it's beauty. Her love of learning will be shaped by the curiosity and joy she finds right now.
Oh, and let her get bored sometimes. It's good for the imagination and for the soul.
And love her.
That is all. ;)

So here is my question for my dear readers.

How are you preparing your little ones for the grand adventure of kindergarten? Do you have some kind words of advice or encouragement for my friend? Hope you’ll share with us by leaving a comment. :)

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My littles on a bug hunt back when Danny was still pre-school age.

I’m sharing this post with my friends over at…image

9 comments:

  1. Gorgeous gorgeous! As my daughter has just started kindergarten, this has made me feel a bit nostalgic for our days at home together. Although now I get to enjoy all of those moments with my boy.

    My girl was quite anxious about starting kindergarten, so we borrowed lots of books from the library about the topic. It's obviously a big milestone in a kid's life, as there are plenty of lovely books about starting kinder or school. We loved Rosemary Wells books in particular. They just celebrate the wonderful new horizons for learning, in a very calm and fun way.

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  2. Beautiful! I totally agree, DON'T sweat it! This is one of the reasons we are choosing to homeschool for now, so that she can continue to learn that way, and continue loving it :). As a former K teacher this is an awesome way to prepare for Kindergarten!! Kids who have that type of background and support catch on to academic lessons in a snap especially if they are in an age appropriate (one in which they are able to play, explore, have fun and discover, not sit at a desk or table with a worksheet in front of them all day) Kindergarten class! If your frined is interested she can also look up her states Kindergarten standards (keeping in mind this is a list of things they must know at the END of Kindergarten) and she might just find that they are already well on their way to being "ready".

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  3. We sent my son to a 3 morning a week preschool so that kindergarten would not freak him out. And even though we are now going to homeschool, I am glad we did. It was just enough for him to venture out on his own and make friends and find his way. And I still got to educate him at home and do all the fun things while they taught him to write!!

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  4. Michelle & WyattMarch 24, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Thank you for this post!! I can't tell you enough how much this meant to me. I've been conflicted with what is the right thing to do now that Wyatt is about to turn 4 next month. His exploration, his curiosity, and his ability to learn as he is doing all that makes a child a child is the most amazing thing I've ever watched. He picks the dandelions and counts them as he hands them to me, we explore clover patches to try and find the lucky 4 leaf clovers, we count school buses when we're driving, and we construct legos to see what his imagination hold for that moment. These are the moments we won't ever get back, and I am so thankful to be able to teach him while he explores and learns about the small things in life that we often forget to appreciate. Thanks Fatima!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on kindergarten prep. As a former kindergarten and preschool teacher, I chose to keep my little ones home and did not do preschool. However it was not an easy decision. I worried and fretted that perhaps I had done him a disservice. He participated in a couple of activities in the community (soccer and gymnastics). We did a structured Mommy and Me co-op once a week, but mostly we just enjoyed each other. My son is in kindergarten this year and is doing well, socially, emotionally, and academically. I don't think there is anything wrong with preschool, but I do not think it is a MUST for all children, as we have recently started accepting as truth in recent years.

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  6. I would encourage mom to sit down with their child and just 'play' school. See what letters they know, see what numbers they know. You will be surprised what your child has learned in every day situations.

    And after realizing that their child has, indeed, already learned what they 'need' to know...I would encourage them to homeschool their child. Obviously, they have been a better teacher then they realized. Maybe this would give them the confidence to consider this option for their child.

    I'm not saying that school-preschool, kindergarten, or any other school-is a bad thing. It certainly is not. I just feel that so many people just assume they can not do a good job at home teaching and dismiss it out of hand.

    Good luck to your friend!

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  7. Love it. :) I was so the same way....I tried to mainly just enjoy life with my preschooler, knowing that there would be plenty of time for academics later in life. Not to say, of course, that we didn't explore and encourage questions and read and learn...but those things were mainly experiential in nature, and my son's interest guided them.

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  8. Thank you so much for this awesome post! Our daughter turns 5 tomorrow and we are homeschooling her in prep for Kindy (homeschool as well). I am reminded to step back a bit and let her explore. Thank you!
    Blessings,
    Aria:)
    http://growing3godlygirlz.blogspot.com

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Thank you so much for leaving me a comment. Comments make me so happy that I dance around the room! ;)