Starting Kindergarten is an exciting milestone in every child’s life. As parents, it is normal to feel a little apprehensive about what challenges lie ahead. You might be unsure of routines and how your child might adjust. Is my child ready? What happens if my child has trouble making friends? How can I help support my child’s learning at home? Will my child manage being away from me for an entire day? All these concerns are normal and valid when going through this experience for the first time. It is important to remember that no matter what, your child will feel safe, secure and supported if the home-school partnership is strong and if they are given the chance to adequately prepare for the transition to school.
All schools have a transition or orientation programs to introduce your child (and yourself) to school life. These programs vary from school to school and as each family is different, the program may or may not address all the concerns you may have. To put your mind at ease, we have put together a list of activities you can do in the months leading up to starting school to equip your child with the basics of going to ‘big’ school.
1. Trace name, shapes and letters of the alphabet.
2. Sit and listen to a picture book, answering oral questions about the story.
3. Use scissors to cut straight, wavy and zigzag lines.
4. Colour in pictures and draw.
5. Practice opening packets and containers for lunch and eating from a lunchbox.
6. Learn bathroom skills like locking and unlocking cubicle doors and washing and drying hands.
7. Have some playdates with other children starting Kindergarten (at the same school if possible).
8. Learn to tie shoe laces, use buttons and zippers on clothing.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.