Now that it’s summer break, you may be trying to prepare your preschooler for the next exciting year of kindergarten. Where do you start, what do you practice? As a parent you’ll most likely want your child to feel successful and enjoy school. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your little one for this exciting new chapter of their little lives.
Language arts (aka reading):
Practice writing your child’s name: This will include holding a pencil correctly and using an uppercase for the first letter and lower case for the rest of the letters. Remember to teach your child to write their name correctly from the beginning because it can be very hard for them to “relearn” it the correct way. There are always a handful of kids who come into kinder writing their name (which is GREAT) in all uppercase letters (not so great).
When practicing name writing, focus only on your child’s first name (unless of course your child is ready for both names). I never expected any students to be able to write their last name when coming into kindergarten (or even half way through kinder).
If your child has a nickname (ex. Sam, CJ), remember to practice writing their “long name” (ex. Samantha, Cameron).
Name writing activities:
- Write your child’s name on paper with a highlighter and let them trace your letters.
- Practice name writing with different writing tools such as white board markers (on a white board or glass), crayons, or washable markers.
- Let your child write their name with their index finger in sand, pudding on a cookie sheet, or rice on a cookie sheet.
Practice letter names and sounds: Throughout the school year, your child will learn all 26 letter names and their sounds. If your child comes into kindergarten knowing even a few of these letters, they will feel successful and hopefully not frustrated.
When teaching the vowels to your child, start with the short sounds. Once those are mastered, you can explain how the long vowels “say their name” (Ex. “E” say it’s name “E”).
Be sure to find out which type of print your child’s school requires. They will most likely be using D’Nealian (which is curvy and prepares your child for cursive writing) or print (basic block letters). You can find great handwriting worksheets in both types of print at http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/.
Start by rote counting to 10: This means counting out loud. Your child will need to be able to count to 100 by the end of kindergarten.
The best way to learn rote counting is by doing it over and over and over. Practice counting everything you do (count the steps you take, or practice counting while driving down the road). Make sure your child counts slowly so they don’t skip numbers because that can be a tricky habit to break.
Number recognition: Start with numbers 1-10. Your child will need to be able to recognize them in and out of order. Only move onto the higher numbers when your child has mastered 1-10 because those are the basic building blocks to numbers.
Shapes and Colors: Practice basic shape and primary color recognition with your child. The shapes I suggest your child learn are circle, square, triangle, and rectangle, and oval.
Enjoy this summer with your “big kid.” Remember to also read with your child every day. Soon, they will be reading to you!
**These are all skills that are required by the State Standards of Arizona. If you have questions about what your child’s school requires, don’t hesitate to call or contact them. I can’t imagine any school not wanting to help eager parents.
Written by Melanie Chiappini from Mom Made Easy.
I’m currently a stay at home mom and LOVING it! My son AJ is 17 months old and always on the move. Before my husband and I started our family, I taught kindergarten and first grade for 8 years and have a current Arizona early childhood education certificate. I love spending time with my family and finding new activities to participate in.
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