Starting school is a big deal for our kindergarten students; sometimes it’s an even bigger deal for their parents. Each year, we delight in the wide-eyed stares of the five-year-olds, the sentimental tears of their parents, and the enthusiastic grin of our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stewart. Other than making sure your child has every item on the supply list, though, how can you prepare your little one for their big day? At St. Philip Lutheran, we’ve observed this important rite-of-passage for years and have a few helpful hints that might make your child’s first experiences with school be the beginning of a lifelong love of learning.
- Develop routines. Don’t wait until the last few days of summer; start routines early. Children thrive on routines that include a regular wake-up time, consistent mealtimes, and a reasonable bedtime that allows them to be rested and ready-to-go the next day. If you establish routines at home, your child will be better able to adapt to the routines they must adhere to in kindergarten.
- Create opportunities for learning. In addition to helping your child learn letters, numbers, and colors, spend time reading with your child. Expose your child to art by visiting one of Chicago’s many museums or simply by pointing out and discussing the statues and sculptures you occasionally pass. Provide hands-on experiences with art or at-home science experiments. Anything you can do to get your little one excited about learning will help them succeed in school.
- Provide opportunities for socialization. St. Philip offers Early Childcare for children ages two to four, but if your child is at home, you can still help them learn to interact with others. Going to storytime, playgrounds, or playdates will help your pre-kindergartener practice sharing, taking turns, helping, and expressing feelings – all skills that are needed in school.
- Talk about it. Talking about kindergarten will decrease your child’s anxiety and increase their enthusiasm. Ask them what they want to learn. Allow them to talk to older siblings or friends about what they might expect from day-to-day. Attend open house or meet-the-teacher days so your child will recognize a smiling, welcoming face on the first day of school.
The most important thing you can do for your child to get them ready for school is being positive. If your child senses your sadness or anxiety, they could become fearful. Be enthusiastic about school, classmates, teachers, and learning to start their academic experiences on the right foot. If you are interested in enrolling your child in kindergarten at St. Philip Lutheran School, contact us today. We look forward to watching your child grow academically, socially, and spiritually.