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Topic: Getting ready for kindergarten?

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Subject: Getting ready for kindergarten?
Date Posted: 9/7/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2008
Posts: 1,658
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My son starts kindergarten next year, unfortunately we don't have any Pre-K programs in our area that we can afford.   I was hoping someone here could give me some advice on how to prepare him to start school next year.  Thanks!

Date Posted: 9/7/2008 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2005
Posts: 642
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Read to him, read to him, read to him.  Have conversations, make up stories, sing, sing, sing!  Is there a church, libary,  or local play program he can belong to, just so he is around other kids?  Let him be away from you for short periods of time so Kindergarten isn't such a jolt.  Let him be a kid!  Expose him to the alphabet, writing (kids love to draw and "tell" their own stories) and numbers in "natural" ways - count the cars, jump six times, count how many times daddy makes the fish face! 

Date Posted: 9/8/2008 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
Posts: 2,743
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I agree with everything Molly said!  I also say go over nursery rhymes with him (of course make it fun), a lot of studies are showing how important the rhyming aspects of nursery rhymes are later when the child begins to read.  Does your school district have some sort of "kindergarten round-up" or "kindergarten open house" where they have the parents & children come & give you a sort of heads up on what they "expect" from children entering kindergarten?  I know a huge help which isn't academically but will help the teachers is making sure he can do everything he needs to in the bathroom by himself. 

There is this series of books that are out called What Your Kindergartener Needs To Know, ...First Grader Needs To Know, etc...I haven't personally read them but they may give you ideas.  Here's a link:     http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780385318419-What+Your+Kindergartner+Needs+to+Know+Preparing+Your+Child+for+a+Lifetime+of+Learning+Core+Knowledge+Series

Hope this helps. Shayla

Date Posted: 9/8/2008 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2008
Posts: 1,658
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Thanks ladies!  I read to him as much as I can, it depends on his mood.  Some days he'll want me to read to him all day, and others he doesn't want anything to do with it.  I think I'm just being an over-concerned mommy.  That's what my sister says anyway. LOL. He knows his ABC's and can count, but he doesn't know his letters to see them.  He can't even spell his name.  My sister says that's pretty normal, DH thinks he's slow.  I've checked the web-sites for the schools.  One school in the area has a pre-K program, but it's for special needs children and was already full anyway.  Other than that, there's nothing around here.  He's ok with me not being around.  We did daycare for about a year when I was working full time, and he did fine I just couldnt afford it.  He can do the bathroom by himself as long as his pants have a snap and not a regular button.  I put that book on the WL, hopefully it will give me a good idea what we need to do over the next year. 

Date Posted: 9/26/2008 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 16
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Get him used to a routine that mimics the way school is. That is, structure your days (when you can) to include a litle craft, a little outdoor play, a little storytime, a little learning time....This way, he is not totally shocked by having a routine. Kid's like routines by the way--very comforting and secure for them.

Another thing I would suggest are activities that help small motor skills. Boys tend to be a little behind on these. Get him scissors with rounded edges and let him "help" you clip coupons, fold clothes, wash dishes, etc..

There are many resources on the internet about Montessori methods. These are wonderful all-around activities that help kids see the steps that are taken to perform a task and to be independent. It makes them feel very grown up and confident because they are working at their own pace.

Best of luck--your post brings me smiles remembering those years with my own children.

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2007
Posts: 2,269
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Have him practice writing his name often. Recognizing his name will come naturally if he can write it. Make it fun - sidewalk chalk, shaving cream on the wall in the bath, markers, etc. Start teaching him letters that are meaningful to him - start with the first  letter of his name. What sports does he like? That is a great way to teach numbers.

Give him a good pair of Kids scissors (Fiskars are great) and let him cut pics out of magazines, coupons, anything! You can develop his fine motor muscles by letting him play with clay or tearing lettuce for a salad.

Mine learned their letters very quickly with an electronic ABC toy, but some computer sights are free and just as good (I like Starfall).

I know this sounds basic, but you would be surprised how many kids do not know colors and shapes. Do not assume he knows them; quiz him! Praise to you! I wish more of my parents were concerned about their upcoming Kinder kids. I tend to get a lot that do not even have a good vocabulary (those are usually the ones that know all the bad words!). Good luck to you!

Date Posted: 11/10/2008 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 10/12/2008
Posts: 467
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Have him help cook. It is a great time to count things as you are putting in cups of flour or such. Also you can stir things clock wise and counter clock wise. Just look at all the everyday things you do and see what can be learned in each. Encourage him to make a new discovery about his world every day. Put up a bird feeder and learn about birds. The big thing is help him to get the feeling that learning is what everyone does every day whether you are in school or not.


Date Posted: 11/10/2008 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 497
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My son just turned 4 and is in a Montesorri program. He spends a lot of time working on fine motor skills. Things like spooning rice from one container to the next. Puzzles, coloring.

As for letters, his school does phonics. So, instead of focusing on the letter, we focus on the sound. What sound does "frog" start with? Then they slowly build in letter recognition. I like this because we can do it anywhere! And we do! The other day someone asked him how to spell his name, and he sounded it out. He is now sounding out lots of words.

The only other thing I've heard from moms who kids have recently started kindergarten is that the kids say there are a lot more "rules". I don't know how you get a kid used to that, other than helping him be a good listener.

I think just that fact that you're worried about it means he'll be fine!

Subject: Getting Ready for Kindergarten?
Date Posted: 11/25/2008 12:33 AM ET
Member Since: 11/22/2008
Posts: 836
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As a former preschool teacher, former kindergarten teacher, and present second grade teacher, my advice to you would be let him enjoy his childhood while it exists! 

Oh sure, count when the opportunity arises, point out letters of the alphabet in the market, and read, read, read and then read to him!  Spray shaving cream on your kitchen counter if he'd like to "practice writing his name and letters"  (one hand behind your back and only use the pointer finger keeps this fun activity from "spreading").  It feels good, smells good, and your counter will sparkle when he's done! Let him use your turkey baster to move water from one container to the next.....a great way to build the muscles that will enable him to grip and control a pencil with ease when necessary, etc. 

Most children are eager learners, and those who are not can be encouraged to want to be.  It saddens me that I see so much "academic" stuff being pushed down to the younger children in an effort to improve "scores" in higher grades.  Get him ready?  Let him use his natural curiosity to explore the world around him, allow him opportunities for sharing and playing with others, foster independence, teach him to use eye contact when listening to someone, and teach him to care and take pride in his efforts.   

Your child will arrive to school in Sept. with his own individual level of readiness, and hopefully he will be blessed with a quality educator, who will strive to provide learning experiences to meet his needs and encourage him to soar! 

Date Posted: 12/3/2008 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 30
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I am a stay-at-home mom who was formerly a teacher. I have a 3 and 4 year old who I am homeschooling. I have a blog that shares what I am doing with them if you are interested. There are some fun lapbooks on there that I created and are posted on homeschoolshare.com. My blog is www.wordoftruthboysacademy.blogspot.com . I hope this helps! Robin