Ready for Kindergarten – Issue 3

We spoke to the experts for advice to make your child’s transition from home to school as smooth as possible. Every month from now to September, our early learning and child development educators will share ideas, tips and resources to make sure your family is #ocsbReady for Kindergarten. Here are some ideas to try this month:

Keep speaking your first language at home!

Did you know that it’s easier for children to learn another language at school if they have strong first language skills? We encourage you to sing songs, read stories and poems in your home language whether it’s English or another beautiful language of the world.

Sing these ten songs with actions

Did you know singing fingerplay songs with your child is an excellent way for your child to develop their fine motor skills, learn about rhyming and have fun? Here’s a great list of 10 English songs curated by Anderson Music Therapy– the perfect spring playlist for your family, with videos included so you can learn the actions together.

  1. Itsy Bitsy Spider
  2. Wheels on the Bus
  3. Open and Shut Them
  4. Five in the Bed (also called Roll Over)
  5. Baby Shark
  6. Pat-a-Cake
  7. Five Green and Speckled Frogs
  8. Baby Bumblebee
  9. Five Little Monkeys
  10. Two Little Blackbirds

Explore the Welcome to Kindergarten album by Bob Schneider

Bob Schneider, Canadian children’s singer and songwriter, has recorded ten songs for the Learning Partnership’s Welcome to Kindergarten program. They’re fun, interactive and will have your family singing, dancing and moving to the rhythm all summer long. You can download the album, learn the lyrics and plan activities to make singing these songs fun for the whole family.

8 ways to get a head start on learning math!

There are many ways to foster a love for learning math before your child has to isolate a variable, find a common denominator or even start school! Here are 8 strategies to stimulate early mathematical knowledge, based on research conducted by Zealous Mom. These strategies support your child’s brain development and help set them up for future success.

  1. Teach your child quantity concepts by attaching numbers to nouns instead of just reciting numbers. For example, you could say “here are two crayons” or “hand me two books.” 
  2. Learn about shapes by describing them. Helping your child observe and describe shapes is a helpful skill to build. They might say, “the rectangle is like a square but tall and skinny.” You can also ask them to compare two shapes– what’s different and what’s similar?
  3. Talk about distance. You could ask your child questions like, “How many steps to your ball?” or “Does it take us longer to drive to Grandma’s house or the grocery store?”
  4. Involve your child in daily math activities. Math is all around us, so have fun exploring common tasks with your child that involve math skills like measuring ingredients when baking or counting the money in their piggy bank!
  5. Have fun sorting and matching. When playing, see how many ways your child can sort and match toys or items. You can start with colour, shape, size and texture.
  6. Play “I spy” with numbers and shapes. Have fun helping your child recognize numbers, geometric shapes and patterns in the world around them. 
  7. Set timers for certain activities like quiet time, playtime and bath time. This helps children begin to understand the passage of time.
  8. Go on a math scavenger hunt. There are lots of references to math in our environment. When at the park or grocery store you can identify and learn about colours, discuss shapes, recognize numbers on signs, and count things like doors and benches.

5 steps to build language skills

First Words has a lot of useful resources and strategies to help your child develop speech and language skills. Here are five tips to help your child learn about taking turns in conversations as they get ready for school.

  1. When having a conversation with your child, start by asking simple open-ended questions that start with “what,” “who,” and “when.” 
  2. As your child’s language skills progress you can ask more complex open-ended questions that start with “why,” and “how.” These questions teach your child to think, reflect and build complex sentences. 
  3. After this, you can work on thinking questions to further develop turn-taking conversation skills. You might ask: “How do you think your friend felt when this happened?” or “ If you were the big bad wolf, would you like to eat the Three Little Pigs?”
  4. Play board games or games with rules. These are great activities to get kids to wait for their turn and follow rules. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to spend quality time together as a family.
  5. Read books. Talk about absurd or puzzling situations– like how did the wolf find a ladder and get into the little pigs’ chimney?

Three ways to foster independence

Giving your child opportunities to develop independence and do things on their own is a great way to empower them before school starts. Here are three simple tips you can try:

  1. Allow your child to cut paper, write letters or words, colour, open up & tie items on their own. 
  2. Encourage your child to dress themselves. Let them put on, take off & put away their own shoes and clothing– even if they wouldn’t make the red carpet “best dressed” list.
  3. When playing games, don’t always let your child win. It’s important for young children to learn early on that “you win some and you lose some” and that is okay!

More welcome packages are being mailed out!

If your child is registered to start Kindergarten this fall, they may have already received a welcome package in the mail! If you registered your child after the March 18 deadline to receive a welcome package in the mail, do not fret. Once the stay-at-home order is over, we will be mailing out packages to get your child the welcome package. When you get it, share your child’s excitement on social media using the hashtag #ocsbReady!

Still time to register for Kindergarten

If you haven’t registered your child for Kindergarten yet, there is still time! We highly recommend you register your child as soon as possible to help us plan for September. This will help us make sure there is space for your child at your local Ottawa Catholic school, and we have a Teacher in place to support your little one’s learning.

More issues of Ready for Kindergarten

This post is part of a series. Read our other issues:

  1. Ready for Kindergarten – Issue 1 (March)
  2. Ready for Kindergarten – Issue 2 (April)
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