So you’ve registered your child for Kindergarten! Now what? Your involvement in your child’s learning is important at every stage of their education. There are many things that you can do at home to give your child a positive start on learning and help them make the most of kindergarten. Here are 10 helpful tips to get you started:
1. Familiarize your child with their new school.
Take a 3D Tour to show your child their future classroom in 3D! Our Kindergarten tour is accessible on any mobile device or laptop. Walkthrough and visit the various areas like the arts and crafts table, cubby area, playground and – all from the comfort of your couch. Then, when it’s safe to do so, visit the school and play in the yard. It’s another great way to familiarize your child with their soon-to-be school! In the summer, you can practice travelling the route to school by going on a family walk, bike or drive. Talk with your child on the way noting landmarks they might notice like special buildings, signs or trees.
2. Encourage independence.
Let your child practice everyday “big kid” tasks on their own. Getting dressed, opening and closing snack containers, and attending to personal toilet habits are great things for your little one to practice before school starts.
3. Label everything.
Make sure your child’s name is on everything you send to school! Their backpack, food containers, and clothing, including shoes and boots.
4. Give them parent-free time.
It’s helpful to give your child some separation from mommy/daddy. When leaving them with a babysitter or family member, be sure to tell them where you are going and that you will be back.
5. Empower their decision making.
Allow your child to make decisions on simple matters that are important to them. When doing groceries, let them pick out their favourite fruit for a snack. Or, during their bedtime routine, let them choose a story or the clothes they want to wear for the next day.
6. Get involved in their learning.
Children perform better in school if their parents are involved in their education. Before school starts you can get them excited for learning by reading bedtime stories, visiting the public library, doing puzzles, making things together, reading recipes or road signs, and singing songs together.
7. Ask specific questions.
Having discussions with your child will help them practise expressing their thoughts and feelings. It’s helpful to ask specific questions, rather than general ones. For example, “Which story did you like best today?” is more specific and easier for them to answer than “What did you do at school today?”
8. When it comes to clothing, go with “function over fashion.”
Physical activity and movement are part of the daily routine in school. For your child’s safety and enjoyment, send your child to school with clothes they can move in freely and comfortably. Clothing and running shoes should be easy to put on and remove.
9. Give them quality fuel.
Young children need frequent snacks to restore energy. At school, snacks might consist of fresh fruit, vegetables or unsweetened food. The teacher may contact you to make suggestions regarding snacks. It’s also important to ensure your child gets enough rest or sleep. Try to “unplug” and limit screen time well before bedtime.
10. Share your positive experiences.
Your child might be curious about your experience when you were in school. Keep the conversations positive and avoid sharing your fears or anxieties with them. Share some of your favourite memories, activities, and experiences to help them anticipate what it could be like for them.
Supported School Readiness Program
Have you heard about this excellent program designed to help prepare your child for Kindergarten? The Supported School Readiness Program, offered in partnership with the Licensed Home Child Care Network of Ottawa offers home visits and support during the first weeks of school to all children entering Kindergarten for the first time. Available at 12 OCSB schools– register now to take full advantage of the program!