Top 10 Steps To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten
By – Wendi Munguia
Can you believe it? Your baby is almost ready to start kindergarten! As you prepare for the big first day, here are some ideas to help prepare them. You are your child’s first teacher. What you do with them greatly impacts their success as they progress through the educational process. Here are my top ten things to practice before starting school next year:
- Practice Writing Name. Start with a capital letter and use lowercase for the rest of the letters. If you are unsure how to write it for them, google DNelean and write your child’s name as suggested. Make sure the first letter is capital and next letters are lowercase.
- Count Things And Identify Numbers At Least 1-10
- Count stairs as you walk up them, snacks as you lay them on the tray, tiles on the floor as they wait in the bathroom- you can count just about anything!
- Make sure they are using a one to one correspondence (Each item is one number- don’t just count rotely.)
- Write numbers one to ten on individual index cards and have your child match the number to how many they have of snacks, buttons, play dough balls, etc.
- Make numbers out of play dough and have your child them to index cards
- Check out this great video that teaches how to write numbers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liKBXp5kdL8
- Use Thumb And Finger To Grasp A Crayon Or Pencil To Draw And Imitate Lines And Letters
- If your child still uses a fisted grasp, give small broken crayons to draw with making it difficult to use a fisted grasp
- Put small snacks like goldfish crackers into an empty egg carton to encourage thumb finger grasp
- Draw on blank paper- DO NOT use coloring book pages, they encourage scribbling and discourage creativity
- Draw a line across the page and make a sound like “Weeee” then have your child imitate. Do this up the page as well with a different sound. The first imitation of lines will be these horizontal and vertical lines. Then, they should be able to imitate a circle. After that they can imitate a cross. You can also start doing some simple letters or shapes. Adding sound effects always makes it more motivating and fun.
- Use Scissors And Glue. Cut Along Lines And Make Things.
- Make cards for people and have your child imitate folding paper in half. Cut out construction paper and glue things into the card. This is also a great opportunity for your child to practice signing their name or writing letters. Have them sign any project they do.
- Draw a straight line and have your child practice cutting along the line. If they are good at that, have them practice cutting simple shapes like a triangle or square.
- Read Together
- The only way your child will become a good reader is if someone is reading to them. Make reading a part of your daily and bedtime routine. Read kids books. Read silly things. Read comics in newspaper. Read cereal boxes. Read signs as you drive. Read boxes that toys are in. Read magazines. Read letters that you write.
- Read books you make together. Make books about a trip you took to the zoo or a batch of cookies you made together or a trip to Grandma’s house. After your child draws a picture write what they say it is and read that together.
- Label things in your home and read those labels. Label bins of toys (dinosaurs, balls, puzzles, etc.)
- Read repetitious things that your child can “pretend” to read back to you.
- Encourage your child to “read” picture books to you that have no words.
- Ask your child during reading a book how people feel, what they think will happen next, etc.
- Make a family book with pictures of loved ones. Read it.
- Make an emotion book with pictures of your child or loved ones. Label them as happy, sad, mad, afraid, excited, shy, etc.
- Make a book about going to school. Read together to help prepare for the transition. You can use pictures of the school, your car, etc. If you would like a picture of our classroom to help prepare your child for the transition, let me know and I will provide a photo.
- Engage your child in the reading process. Read! Read! READ!
- Identify Letters and Sounds (you can do most of these ideas to practice numbers too)
- Start with letters that would be significant to your child like the first letter of their name, the letter of a sibling’s name, etc. You can use M for mom, D for dad, etc.
- Take poster board and make a parking garage for toy cars. M spot is for mom, D spot is for dad, etc. Use pet names too or any loved ones they see a lot.
- Use sidewalk chalk and make letter hopscotch. Jump in shapes or letters that you call out or throw ball at the letter that you call or stomp on the one you call.
- Use a flyswatter to hit the letters you call out that are written down
- Take a shallow box or a shoebox lid and fill with sand or salt. Practice drawing letters in it.
- Make cookies or play dough shaped like letters you are learning.
- Have a letter of the week and practice finding that letter everywhere… cereal boxes, in books, in pictures on wall, etc. Also practice finding things that start with that letter.
- Play videos that encourage learning whatever skill you are teaching and sing together. Here are some great ones:
- Follow Directions Give simple directions and have your child follow them. Have them clean up, find things that you ask, or follow steps to simple games or activities
- Dress Self And Clean-up After Self
- Encourage them to zip by putting snacks or toys in cosmetic bags.
- Give them opportunities to dress and undress before and after bath or in morning.
- Identify Colors And Shapes
- Have a color or shape of the day and spend the day finding things that are that color or shape.
- Label things as you see them or play “I spy”.
- Sort colors. You can use almost anything (buttons, fruit loops, M&Ms, socks, etc.
- Do shape puzzles or make your own by cutting shapes out of cereal boxes. You can put those shapes back in the holes as if it is a puzzle. You can also use the shapes and punch holes into them and use a shoestring to “sew” them together. Give your child choice of two – “Do you want the circle or square?” as you hold them up then you are always modeling the name of both.
- Pray Together
- Pray about family, about snacks, about anything happening in your child’s life. Model to them that prayer is just talking to God like you would talk to a friend. He is there for them. Give your child opportunities to pray on their own. Take turns praying. I like to do popcorn prayers where each person pops in with what they want to pray.
- Pray the “Our Father” prayer together to close your prayer time. If you don’t know the words I can get them to you! We pray this every morning after our daily prayers. If you make it a daily routine during morning prayers at home or at the close of your bedtime prayers, they will hear it often and feel more comfortable with it. If you don’t already have daily prayer time, see me for more ideas of how to get this started.
- Use daily life experiences as opportunities to lift up quick prayers. (If your child hurt themselves pray that God makes it better, if there is a beautiful sunset then thank God for the beauty He made, when they are sad or scared pray together.)
I would love the opportunity to talk with you, meet your child and learn how together we can help your child not only reach goals academically, but also to learn to see themselves and others through Christ’s eyes as they step into the next stage of life as kindergarteners! Plan to attend our upcoming Family Preview Night, Thursday February 1st from 4p – 7p. Call our school office at 618.667.6314 to learn more!
About Wendi & Saint Paul’s Lutheran School:
Wendi Munguia joined Saint Paul’s in 2017 and has worked with young children for over eighteen years; working as a developmental therapist she provided evaluations and ongoing therapy. Wendi also consulted with the migrant head start program educating teachers on how to help the kids with special needs be successful in the classroom.
Saint Paul’s Lutheran School has been providing Christian education to students in preschool through eighth grade in Madison County, IL for more than 150 years. Students at Saint Paul’s score, on average, 2.7 grade levels higher, participate in sports at an earlier age, and have music and art performance opportunities.
Saint Paul’s Lutheran School admits students of any race, color, gender, religion, nationality and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, and athletic and other school-administered programs.