When children enter school for the first time, it can be exciting and scary for both parent and child. Parents can prepare children for school in a variety of ways. In fact, you have been preparing your child for school from the day that they were born. Being able to understand and use language will help your child learn many of the basic skills that are part of school. These include recognizing letters, knowing the sounds letters make and having experience looking at books. The kindergarten program focusses on learning language, math, science, technology and arts through play. With a focus on developing personal and social skills, children learn about the world and how it works, about other people, and about themselves.
One of the most important things that parents can do to get their child ready for school is to read to them from a very early age. Children who have had books in their life have a better chance of succeeding in school. Even babies like to cuddle with parents and share a good book. It is important when you are reading to your child that you talk about what is in the book and not just worry about the words. Babies like to hear animal sounds. Making fun sounds, while you are sharing a book tells your child that books can be fun and exciting and keeps their attention.
As your child gets older and starts paying more attention to the story, you can show him the letters and words on the page and talk about the letter that is at the beginning of your child’s name. This will help your child to become aware of print, both the letters and then the sounds that the letters make.
Library story times for children provide wonderful opportunities for you to share stories, rhymes and books with your child. Visits to the library story times will give your child a chance to listen to stories with a group of children. This is something that they will be doing when they get to school. When they have had experience being with other children and learning with other children, it will make the transition to school easier and they will have already experienced group sharing.
Children enjoy as many opportunities as possible to spend time with other children. Programs at the Ontario Early Years Centres have many interesting games and toys and often will also have a circle time for children to learn new songs and rhymes. Music provides skills that will later help children with reading development and other areas of learning. The Early Years Centres also offer Family Math programs that help to develop some of the early skills that children will need for developing their math skills when they get to school. Learn more about programs at the Ontario Early Years Centers.
If you give your child the chance to complete specific tasks, they will be more independent when they get to school. Children enjoy taking on responsibility at home. A four year old can put napkins on the table, can put away their pajamas and certainly can help clean up their toys. Research has told us that children who have responsibilities at home, even from a very young age, have more positive self-esteem. Giving children expectations at home will make it easier for them to take responsibility at school.
You are not expected to sit down and start to teach your child to read, write and do math, before they get to school. If you provide them with fun experiences, opportunities to explore, and opportunities to talk about what they have experienced, you will be setting them up for success. When you give children books, involve them in community programs, talk to them and listen to them, they will develop language skills and positive self-esteem that will help them to be successful in school.
Children who have been receiving therapy at tykeTALK will be transitioned to school- based speech and language services. This usually happens either before or sometime during the Junior Kindergarten year. When you register your child for school, it is important to let the school know that your child is receiving or received services from tykeTALK. Find more information on making a successful transition to school from tykeTALK.
A number of schools in the Thames Valley District have “Ready for School” programs that give children the opportunity to visit their local school in the spring before they begin school. This gives the child the chance to see the school they will be attending and often to meet their classmates and their teacher. Contact your local school for details.
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