Category Archives: Maturity

Emotional Growth of 5 and 6 Year Olds

Your child 5 year old child will experience enormous physical and emotional growth this year. We focus on the physical because we can measure it and see it but we cannot measure the emotional growth of a 5 year old as easily.  You’ll have to make observations about the emotional growth as it matures during this school year.  The American School Counselor Association published the following about Kindergartners:

Where They Are:
The average five-year-old is enthusiastic, helpful, and conforming. He:

  • Attempts only things he/she knows he/she can do.
  • Needs attention, affection, and praise.
  • Is energetic and fidgety.
  • Has a short attention span.
  • May show opposite extremes of behavior.
  • May become less well-behaved as the school year progresses.

Where they’re Going:
At five years old, your child is learning to understand himself/herself. You can help by encouraging him/her as he/she:

  • Develops a positive, realistic self-image.
  • Learns to respect himself/herself.
  • Begins to understand his/her own uniqueness.
  • Gains awareness of his/her feelings.
  • Learns to express feelings.
  • Learns how to participate in groups.
  • Begins to learn from his/her mistakes.

To learn about the emotional growth of a first grader read here:


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Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents

Learning Classmates’ Names

  1. Names of classmates, step out of the comfortable world of ‘me’ to realize that others are around
    1. Encourage your child to learn names
    2. Teachers have various ways of introducing kids to each other, reinforce this when your child gets home



Kindergarten and First Grade students have been in school now for 3 weeks or more.  How many friends’ names from class has your child learned?  1, 2, or hopefully more.  5 and 6 year olds live in a very ‘me’ world and do not often realize what is going on right around them, especially in a classroom  Kindergarten and First Grade teachers spend a great deal of time in September helping the children to learn their new classmates’ names but no matter how hard we try, it is hard for many children.  They will refer to another child as ‘that girl’ or ‘that boy in the red shirt.’  When this happens I stop them and make them go to that child and ask what his/her name is and then come back and repeat it to me.  Sometimes, by the time the child returns to me with the name, he/she has already forgotten it and we have to start the process all over.  Kindergarten teachers will sing out names of children, dance to names of children, and play I Spy with names of children all in an effort to help our new little class family get to know one another.  It is a challenge but we work on it every day.  You could help at home by asking your child to name a few class friends each day when he/she arrives home from school.  Write the names on a piece of paper and continue to add to the same list each day when you talk about the school day with your child.  You could reward your child with a sticker for new names learned and you should continue until the list is complete. You might check with your child’s teacher to find out how many children are in the class and make a pretty big deal when your child finally completes the list and has learned the names of all of his/her new Kindergarten or First Grade friends.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents

Self Help Skills

Is your child in Kindergarten or First Grade?  Learning to take care of yourself while at school is a big step in the life of a Kindergartner or First Grader.  Many children are coming from homes where Mom and Dad have done almost everything for them.  Please don’t do things for children that they can do for themselves! It is time to encourage your child to do more things on his/her own.

  • Practice tying shoes at home (don’t cheat and buy Velcro) really practice tying shoes
  • Teach your child how to take off and put on his/her jacket.  This means learning to pull sleeves inside out after the jacket has been taken off too quickly.
  • Practice buttoning or zipping jackets/coats.  This is hard for little fingers.
  • Practice opening and closing snack container that will be used at school.
  • Using the toilet, cleaning themselves and washing hands properly after each bathroom use
  • Don’t forget to write your child’s name in the collar of all clothing that comes to school.  Many parents buy new school clothing for their children and the children are not familiar with the clothing and cannot recognize it when it is left behind in the classroom.  Label the clothes!
  • Practice opening and closing the backpack that will be used for school.
  • Parents you are not doing your child any favors by ‘babying’ them and doing things that he/she is old enough to learn to do for himself/herself.

Re-posted from 2009

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents

Backpacks and Responsibility

School has already begun and backpacks are everywhere.  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 and/or First Grade 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.

Re-Posted from August, 2009

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents

Retention is Refused

I would just like to say a few sentences to all parents who have forced their child to go to the next grade level when he/she wasn’t at all ready or well prepared. I mostly am talking about Kindergarten retention and moving on to first grade when you shouldn’t, but what I have to say goes for any early elementary grade level. When an elementary school teacher recommends retention there are usually many, many reasons that she/he has said given that advice.  Among the most frequent reasons are:

  • Developmentally not ready
  • Academically not ready
  • Emotionally not ready

I have recommended retention for many children through the years and more often than not, the parents refuse.  When your child is not ready for the next school year, he/she walks into the new classroom already behind.  Yes, I know that some children pick up skills over the summer months, but let me tell you, so do the children who grasped all of the skills the previous school year.  Your child will give up before he/she even begins because the feeling of not knowing what is going on is overwhelming.  I see this every year! I always try to talk to these parents to see if I can understand the reason behind their decision to send their ill prepared child to the next grade, but there is never a concrete answer.  Then, what I usually say to the parents is to be prepared for 12 long school years ahead while their child tries to catch up with his/her peers, but more often than not, is unable to do so.

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Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents, Social Skills

Child Development Tracker

Here is a wonderful site from PBS that will help you to track the skills your child should possess for his/her age. Take a look at how your child should be functioning in the following areas according to his age:

  1. Approach to Learning
  2. Creative Arts
  3. Language
  4. Literacy
  5. Math
  6. Physical Health
  7. Social and Emotional Growth

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Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Behavior, Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Maturity, Parents, Play, Reading, Responsibility

My Child Is Shy

Each year I meet a new group of children that will be in my classroom for the entire school year.  I meet these children usually at School Open House which takes place a few days before school actually begins. I love meeting the children with whom I will spend so much time with this year.  I love meeting parents and talking to them about their children.  What all teachers do not like, is when a parent says “My child is shy” in front of that very child.  Beginning of the year jitters are common, even for teachers if you can believe it.  Jitters aside, when children are hiding behind parents legs, won’t talk to the teacher when spoken to, the LAST thing a teacher wants to hear from the parent is “My child is shy.” When your child hears you say this time after time after time, he/she will begin to feel that being ‘shy’ is exactly the way you want him/her to behave.  Praise your child in public, especially when meeting a new person, such as a new teacher. Talk about what a wonderful year he/she had in other school situations.  Talk about something your child is good at, like a sport, or singing or drawing.  If you have just moved talk about something special from your last school or home.  The more you draw attention to positive things about your child, your child will begin to expect that you are going to say something nice about him/her when you meet other adults and your child will be ready and listening.  In time, the ‘shyness’ will go away, but it will take a much longer time to happen if your child is always hearing about how ‘shy’ he/she is.  If you think that your child really does need practice in new social situations, join a sports team, make some playdates with new friends from school, take lessons from another adult where you won’t be able to stay and answer for them when the instructor is talking to them. No one can answer for your child in school.  Think about that parents!


Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents, Responsibility, Social Skills