Schools are preparing to open their doors for another school year. Many teachers are now in their classrooms making it look perfect to welcome this year’s group of Kindergarten children. Open House or Orientation is coming and this is your time to take your child into school and walk around and get familiar with the building. You should take the same path into the building and down to the classroom that your child will take every day.You and your child will be able to go and meet his/her new teacher and you will be able to explore a little in the new classroom. This Open House (Orientation) is a MUST attend for both students and parents. There really are no good excuses for not going. Children and parents who are unable to attend Open House (Orientation) truly miss out on a very worthwhile event. The sole purpose of Open House (Orientation) is to help calm the first day of school jitters, for both children and parents. Coming into the classroom for a brief visit will help to relax your child (and you) when the first day of school arrives. On the first day, you will be able to remind him/her about what his/her new teacher looks like, about the wonderful and exciting materials and toys that you saw in the classroom, and about new and old friends that he/she will be seeing at school. Please find out when your child’s school is having Open House (Orientation) and mark your calendar to be there!
Monthly Archives: August 2009
Memory games are challenging and fun for young children. They are a great mental exercise for young and old alike. You can buy memory games at the store or you could make your own with family photographs. That’s right, with pictures of your family. The next time you print out pictures, print out doubles of your favorite family snapshots and let the fun begin. Place the doubles of all of the photos on the table, turn them upside down and start flipping. Your child must use his/her memory to remember where the matches are and at the same time learn the names of relatives that you may or may not see on a regular basis. (You could also print out doubles of just about any of your pictures and use the photos to create several different variations of the memory game.) Have fun! for some free online memory games, try:
The first day of school is not far away and if your child is going to school in the southern states, school has already begun! All children will be carrying backpacks to and from school and with them carry a great deal of responsibility. Children must bring important paperwork from parents to school and see that the teacher receives it. At the end of the school day children must carry important paperwork back home and see that their parents receive it. Sounds like a simple task, but believe me, it is not. As parents, you must instill upon your child the responsibility of getting notes and papers delivered to the teacher. Show your child the papers that you have placed in his/her backpack so that he/she knows what to look for upon arriving in the classroom. I do not check backpacks, some Kindergarten teachers do, but most do not. For the first month of school I do walk the children through the learning process of how to ‘check’ their backpack each and every day the minute that they get into the classroom and instruct them what to do with the papers for me. When your child gets home from school, the process of emptying the backpack should be first on the list of things to do. This MUST become a routine for your child so that he/she has the responsibility of passing school work and important papers right into mom and dad’s hands. Yes, more and more teachers are emailing and blogging so much of the important information does get home without help from your child, however, work that your child has done and many papers that come from the school’s office still go home the old fashioned way, in the backpack. Please practice this skill with your child so that he/she will fully understand his/her role in the use of the school backpack.
Many, many classroom ‘accidents’ could be avoided during the first few weeks of Kindergarten if parents talked to their children about using the bathrooms at school. Classroom bathrooms are easy to use, but can be frightening for 5 year olds. They are usually large and not as pretty as the bathroom at home. The biggest complaint that the children make about the bathrooms is that it is loud when you flush. There are no rugs or towels to absorb sound so this type of bathroom is very new for our young Kindergarten children. Please speak to your incoming Kindergartner about the bathroom in his/her classroom. Take a look in the bathroom at your school’s Open House and talk to your child about how to use the bathroom on his/her own. Please check that your child knows how to button/unbutton, zip/unzip his/her own clothes. Fancy belts look nice, but believe me, they cause a great many ‘accidents’ because they take a great deal of time to fasten. Most of the sinks at school are not in the actual bathroom, but are located outside of the bathroom door, so remind your child to always wash his/her hands after flushing. Talking beforehand about many of the new situations that will occur in Kindergarten will help not only your child’s anxieties, but yours as well.
Breakfast is undoubtedly the most important meal of the day for children. After sleeping all night, kids wake up hungry and need energy to start their day. Going to school hungry makes kids only think about when they are going to eat, rather than about thinking and learning. Breakfast gives children the nutrients that they need to be successful at school. Children who eat a healthy breakfast have an improved concentration, a better attention span, focus better and perform better at school.
Here are some quick ideas for busy families:
- Fruit smoothies
- Cereal and milk in a to go cup
- Toast with cream cheese
- Egg and cheese sandwich
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Yogurt in squeezable tubes
- Whole grain breakfast bars
- Grain Bagels
- Warm milk with oatmeal
Prepare as much as possible the night before. Lay out what you need for breakfast on the counter, including bowls, utensils, etc. Place the items where your child is able to safely reach them so he/she can help out in the morning. Your child will do his/her best work in the classroom when he/she is sent to school prepared and fortified with a healthy breakfast.
As the daughter of a children’s librarian, getting a library card wasn’t a question, it was an expectation. I still remember the excitement of finally being able to print my own name across the application form (although I printed so large it didn’t even all fit) and being handed my temporary card. The thoughts of receiving mail with the ‘real’ card in it, took the excitement of the library card to whole other level. The librarians at the desk told me I could check out books that very day using my temporary card. Wow! I practically ran to the children’s room to start shopping. I won’t tell you how many years ago that day was, but the fact that I still remember it means that it obviously had a lasting effect on me. ALL children need to have their own library card. What a wonderful, not to mention free, way to enjoy books, music and movies. Choosing their own books help children:
- Feel responsible
- Realize that books are lifelong friends
- Learn to read
- Encourage imagination
Good readers make more successful students at school. What are you waiting for? If your child can write his/her own name, get out and get that library card today!
Dress for Success. We all know what that means, but what does it mean for a Kindergarten child. Children coming to ‘work’ in the Kindergarten classroom should come ready to work and play. Now that parents are shopping for back to school clothes, please keep in mind the comfort of your child. As tempting as it may be to buy that perfect outfit for a photo opportunity of the first day of school, please think carefully before dressing your child for that special first day. Your child will be experiencing many firsts on that first day of Kindergarten:
- First ride on a school bus
- First day in a new school
- First day with a new teacher
- First day with unfamiliar children
- First day of all day school (depending upon your school system)
- First day of not eating lunch at home(again depends on school)
- First day of new school rules…..and the list goes on and on
Children need to be dressed in comfortable, familiar clothing for this monumental day. Children should dress comfortably every day of Kindergarten and come ready to sit on the floor, paint, move constantly, play on the playground and get dirty. Kindergarten classrooms are full of bustling activities. Please save the special clothing and photo op for a few weeks after school starts when your child has become familiar with his/her daily routine. Remember, if you want your child to do well in Kindergarten, he/she needs to “Dress for Success.”
“Micromanagement goes against natural development,” says clinical psychologist and author Marc Nemiroff, PhD. “It takes away the child’s experience and [impedes] his learning how to handle himself in the world. Part of the job of the parent is not to do everything for the child, but to help him do things more and more independently.”
As parents and teachers we dream that all children will be able to play nicely with each other. As parents and teachers we also know that not all dreams come true. Many children are faced with handling their own small problems for the first time once they enter Kindergarten. Fighting over toys, friends, environment etc. is pretty normal for Kindergartners. 5 and 6 year olds are coming to the Kindergarten classroom from environments (home, preschool, and daycare) that solved most of their problems for them. Young children are accustomed to going to the adult in charge when there is a problem, expect it to be fixed immediately and have never learned to work it out themselves. My job as the Kindergarten teacher is to teach these children how to handle small problems on their own. Naturally if a child is sick or bleeding or safety is an issue, we teachers will jump right in, however, if there is no blood, sickness, or safety concerns then we step back and watch. This is not easy as these young children do not know how to solve problems so we have to teach and review this skill often many times a day. Parents and adult caregivers could help in this process by allowing young children to try and figure out a solution on their own. We can be arbitrators for the children but not the solutions solvers.
“One of the telltale signs of micromanagement,” Nemiroff says, “is during a play date when the parent steps in immediately” at the first sign of conflict. “The danger is the child doesn’t learn to be on his own in the world, to manage the conflicts that may arise.”
If you are tempted to step in an micromanage, ask yourself why? Our aim is the help the children become more independent in the ability to develop essentaial like skills, like problem solving.
School will be starting soon and more than likely your child will be using the school toilets. More and more Kindergarten children are arriving at school without the basic knowledge of how to wash their own hands. We teachers know that most parents are assisting their children with hand washing at home, but at school, your child will be washing his or her own hands. Now is the time to practice this skill at home each and every time your child uses the restroom and to encourage your child to wash without adult assistance. Keep in mind at school your child will be using a paper towel dispenser so you might want to practice using paper towels as well. Your child’s Kindergarten teacher will be forever thankful.
Does your child have a dress up corner? It’s time to give them one. Playing ‘dress up’ gives children an opportunity to dream, stretch imagination and stimulate creativity. Children work hard at this type of play because they have to make it up themselves and they learn a great deal while having fun. There are many stores and online sites that will sell you beautiful dress up clothing but you have dress up clothing already, right there in your own house. Go look in your closet and before you send your old clothes to charity, check them out through the eyes of a child. Your old clothes, (prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, sequined clothing, ties, jackets etc.), old shoes, hats, costume jewelry, glamorous items may be just the ticket for ‘dress-up’ items for your child. When young children have the opportunity to role play and dress up they develop:
- Improved communication skills that help to develop vocabulary
- They learn to express themselves.
- They have a chance to try out more grown up words
- Improve interpersonal skills as they play dress up
- Practice speaking to others in a very comfortable setting.
- Improved self confidence
- Improved social skills
- Improved creativity
- Improved leadership qualities
Clean out your closet and let the fun and games begin! (Be sure to have a camera ready because there will be MANY Kodak moments to capture!)