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I want to do all I can to help our oldest son (he'll be 5 this fall) prepare for starting K next year. He loves learning and I want to take FULL advantage of that!! Are there any books or programs you recommend that we use to help him? We are not doing preschool but are involved in programs at the library and our church that are great for the social side... any ideas would be great!!
ALSO... are there things that I can be looking for or saving this year to help his teacher out next year? things that classes "always" need?
You could donate books that your son no longer reads - but please not ones that are in poor shape! Keep an eye out at FOL sales, here in PBS, at yard sales...
When school starts you could ask the teacher if she allows the students to have snacks, then donate enough peanut butter and crackers, juice boxes, etc. for everyone. My kids (4th grade) love apples and raisins, so I try to stock them for kids who don't bring in a healthy snack (we let them have one every day).
Keep an eye out for clearance sales and pick up boxed crayons, scissors, etc. to donate. Go by the school and ask if you can visit with a few of the teachers and get some ideas from them.
In my opinion (and I have taught K-5 for 33 years) the best thing you can do for your child is read to him, converse with him, sing with him, make up songs together, make up stories and poems, let him draw and color and paint, invite friends his age over and let him visit friends, let him PLAY - too many parents are trying to take away the child's developmental play time that is so important to them. Give him crayons, marker, chalk, paper - don't worry if it doesn't look like ____, what does it look like to him? Be sure, if dad is around, to include him and have him model positive behavior towards school, books, playing, etc. There are some good computer programs, but limit his time - the average attention span of a child is their chronological age plus 1.
Sounds like you will do a good job - wish every parent asked us your questions.
Thank you for your time in replying, and for the compliment about doing well... his dad and I are real dedicated to helping the boys do well in school (and any girls we may have in the future of course LOL). I appreciate your suggestions and will be sure to contact the school as well as watching the clearance sales.
YEAH...we need more parents like you for our kindergarteners! I always can use donations of art supplies: glitter, white and brown lunch bags, pipe cleaners, pom poms, cotton balls etc.
I agree with the previous post about PLAYING with your son!! Unfortunately, even kindergarten has a very rigerous curriculum and doesn't allow, in my opinion, enough time for kids to play and be kids! After just doing some kindergarten screening on some children last week, I do have a couple "acadmic " things that would be great for your son to be prepared with.
Counting (at least to 10)
Singing or saying the alphabet and beginning to identify letters of the alphabet (he doesn't need to know them all when he enters K)
Writing his first name
Let him use scissors to cut!!! I can not believe the number of parents that do not allow this. It is a great way to develop fine motor!
Good luck, it sounds like your son with be well prepared!