The first day of school can be an exciting time full of curiosity, excitement, and new experiences for children but it can also be a source of distress, anxiety, and difficulties. Making the transition into school life might not be easy for your child. Whether they are starting Pre-School or Kindergarten, our top tips for preparing your child for their big day are sure to help with the transition.
- Read with Your Child Daily: This will help develop their phonological awareness (how words sound, rhymes, alliterations) which improves their readiness to read.
- Encourage Positive Problem Solving: Give your child tasks slightly above their current ability level. When your child cannot find a solution on their own, encourage them to calmly ask for help and then explain the problem solving process.
- Provide Different Opportunities to Learn: Play board games to practice taking turns, have your child help you sort household items according to color, size, and shape to reinforce cognitive development, and always encourage pretend play time.
- Give your Child Choices: A certain amount of independence is associated with classroom life and you won't always be there to help guide your child's choices. By offering your child choices in their daily life, you will prepare them to make decisions on their own in the classroom environment.
Now that summer is in full swing, this is the perfect time to get outside and explore with your little one! Learning is not limited to the school environment; exploring the neighborhood and participating in outdoor activities is a great way to teach your child about the world. SO what are you waiting for? Get outside and learn!
- Go Pick Some Fruit: The summer season is the perfect time to explore local farms and produce markets. Taking a trip to a local farm to spend the day picking fruit is a great outdoor activity for you and your child. While picking fruit you can talk with your child about the different types of fruit, different colors, and even the different tastes they are experiencing!
- Explore Local Parks: The world seems a lot smaller to a child and your local park is like a vast treasure cove of exploration. Regardless of age, encourage your child to explore, smell and touch nature, meet new friends, and truly experience the magic of the outdoors.
- Build an Outdoor Fort: Building a fort in your backyard is a great way to spend time outdoors with your child. Not only can this be a fun and memorable experience, it also reinforces building concepts and helps develop your child's understanding of how various objects and shapes fit together.
- Chalk it Up: Spending the day creating sidewalk art is a cheap and fun way to have outdoor time. Playing with chalk and coloring reinforces drawing concepts, hand-eye coordination, and creativity.
Sesame Street has partnered with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to create a video series that helps children learn about the many wonderful and interesting things that there are to observe and discover in nature. Sesame Street offers a number of different learning units that focus on different areas and aspects of National Parks. They also offer supplementary educator packets that have activity and discussion ideas that relate back to the topic and even simple labs/projects that your child can work on while watching!
Wordless books are a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, comprehension, vocabulary and an increased awareness of how stories are structured. Sharing wordless books with your child provides an opportunity for literacy-rich conversations because each child can create their own story in their own words.
Initially start by taking a “picture walk” through the pages of the book, ignoring the story and focusing mainly on the details of the beautiful illustrations. Go through a second time, focusing more on the book’s message and the actual story. While your child is flipping through the pages of the book, talk to them about what they see, the expressions on character’s faces, the setting of the story, and the use of color. Finish your wordless book by asking some questions about the story like “what was your favorite part” or “have you ever had an experience like the one
in the story?”