When you were holding your newborn baby in your arms, kindergarten was probably the farthest thing from your mind. The years pass too quickly! Now you're realizing that your child is going to be starting kindergarten in a year and you may also be realizing that he or she is just not ready for that big step. If you want to prepare your child for kindergarten, here are some ideas that might help you do that in a fun way.
Expand Your Child's Horizons Away From Home - You probably already take your little boy or girl with you as you run errands and meet your friends and their children for lunch. You probably already set up play dates, too. However, it's a good idea to expand your child's world by going on field trips, both together and with other parents and their children. By doing this, your child will learn to focus on specific learning opportunities. For example, a trip to a museum can be extra meaningful if your child has a job upon arrival. Bring colors and a drawing tablet and encourage your child to copy some of the paintings he or she likes.
The same goes with a visit to the zoo. Even though going to the zoo is already a lot of fun, make it a learning experience for your child. Bring a camera that is simple enough for a child to use and let your child take as many pictures as he or she wants to take. Once pictures are developed, help your child to make his or her very own book about his or her trip to the zoo.
Set Up a Routine at Home - Part of being in kindergarten means that there will be a set schedule for learning experiences. Mimic that at home. For example, set thirty-minute intervals where your child goes from one learning station to the next one. Some learning stations you could set up might include a table with building blocks on it, another area for crafts, an area for indoor dancing to music, a spot at the table for preparing snacks in the kitchen, a table for creating things out of modeling clay, and a place for curling up with a good book or reading books together.
Be sure to talk to your child about each activity he or she does. Even if your child isn't in love with some of the activities, encourage him or her to do that activity anyway. After all, there will certainly be times in kindergarten when a planned activity has to be done, even if your child doesn't want to participate.
Enroll Your Child in Preschool - Another great way to prepare your child for kindergarten is to enroll him or her in preschool. Even though activities won't be as structured as those found in kindergarten, there will be some structure to which your child will be expected to adapt. Your child will also learn to follow rules, take turns with other children and share toys.
It will be excellent for your child to become close to another adult as his or her instructor helps him or her to learn the ropes of being a preschooler. Preschool offers wonderful learning opportunities. Your child will actually begin the process of learning how to read. In addition, learning games and educational toys will be used to develop your child's body and your child's brain. It might be smart to start your child's preschool experience with only two or three days a week, extending that time to daily preschool when you know your child is ready for that.
Always talk to your child about the things he or she enjoyed most each day. When he or she expresses that an activity wasn't special, help your child realize that part of life is just doing things that have been planned by people who care for her or him. To ensure you make the best choice for your child, consider a few different education options in your area, such as Rainbow Montessori.