As summer comes to a close in the northern hemisphere, it’s time for the little ones (and especially their parents!) to start making preparations for their first year at school. While the start dates vary based on location and region, in general, this is often known as Get Ready for Kindergarten Month!
History of Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
When the first kindergarten was opened in Germany in 1837, it was a new concept for parents to send such young children to school. Over the years, education of young children in kindergarten, as the first unit of school, has become commonplace throughout the world – although it may be executed uniquely in different countries.
The idea behind kindergarten was originally to allow children an opportunity to acclimate to the activities and expectations of school, learning social skills, playing games, listening to and following directions. Kindergarten today is radically different and children are expected to leave kindergarten able to read, perform math problems and have a basic understanding of science.
Many teachers now expect children to enter kindergarten knowing their alphabet, being able to write their name correctly, knowing the parts of the body, knowing the days of the week/months of the year, and quite a bit more. Parents who are sending their kids to school may have gotten a jumpstart with preschool, but Get Ready for Kindergarten Month is a useful time to observe for any kids who are headed to school in the fall.
How to Observe Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
Going to school is a big deal and deserves some preparation. Get Ready for Kindergarten Month can be observed with some of these plans and activities:
Talk About Going to School
Going to school is a mighty big step in life! And it can be a stressful transition if a child is not emotionally prepared. Begin ahead of time by having conversations about what to expect, what questions the child might have, or even asking them if they are afraid. Talk about what might be fun and exciting, but also allow them to feel their sadness about the world at home they are letting go of.
Practice Kindergarten Skills
One way that parents can help their children, especially those who have not already been to preschool, to get ready for kindergarten is to help them practice some of the skills they might need to use. Some of these ways to prepare might include:
- Prepare with morning and bedtime routines. Whether it’s an earlier time waking up or the need to eat breakfast more quickly, start helping with these new adaptations.
- Practice school activities. Holding a pencil, using safety scissors and coloring are all activities that children will experience in kindergarten, so get them started and make it fun!
- Work on following directions. Kids need to practice listening and responding to directions from teachers, so make it fun with little games like Simon Says or allowing them to help in the kitchen.
- Make New Friends. Kids who are not accustomed to being around new children may need some preparation by introducing them through play dates or playing at the park.
Gather School Supplies
In addition to getting kids ready emotionally and with skills, they will also need a list of school supplies. Backpacks, pencils, rulers, crayons, pencil boxes, school glue and many other items will be on the list for back-to-school shopping. Get Ready for Kindergarten Month is the perfect time to collect these.