Patience and fortitude conquer all things.Ralph Waldo Emerson
With the start of a new calendar year, we in the pre-K world begin to get many questions about transition to Kindergarten. Parents realize we are nearly half way through the school year and they begin to wonder (worry) whether their children are ready to make the leap to Kindergarten .
We do our best to reassure parents that there is a great deal of growth that will happen with four year old children between January and September. We encourage them to remember that 9 months of time is 1/4 of the time their student has been alive and a lot can happen in that amount of time!
Many parents worry about their children having the academic knowledge to go into K. Let’s face it, kindergarten is no longer the crayon wielding, cooperative, stay away from eating the paste experience it was 30 years ago. Many kids will leave kindergarten knowing how to read many words. They will know numbers, letters, letter sounds, and sounds of letter combinations along with an incredible list of site words they must master. Sure- this seems pretty scary. How can parents be sure their own children will be able to handle all of the learning expected of them in kindergarten?
Sit down. Quiet your surroundings. Focus only on what you are reading. I am about to give you the magic secret to readying your children for kindergarten. Teach them patience.
Say what? I know you think I am 100% off my rocker , lost my mind, whacko right now. I promise. Patience is key. Can your children listen to directions without interrupting? Are your children able to wait for you to finish speaking AND actually listen to what you are saying? This question makes me think of the times I have participated in Kindergarten Round up at our school…. so many teachers will have a classroom rule, “Ask 3 before you ask me.” I may be wrong about the number, but the idea is clear. Are your children able to problem solve? If they don’t see their mittens where they think the mittens should be, will they look around, ask a friend for help, or do they yell at the top of their lungs, “Where are my mittens?” When given a direction from a teacher, will your child follow it or say no?
When you are parenting your four year old, imagine a room full of 20 or more children of the same age acting the way your child is acting right now. Would you be able to control them? Would you be able to teach them a concept? Make your goal with your children to get them to behave in a manner that allows teaching them to be possible. You are your children’s first teacher and the lessons you teach them about their conduct at school will be some of the the most important lessons you will teach them.
That’s it! Seriously- I am not kidding! When you think about all of the concepts and skills children need to know upon exiting Kindergarten, isn’t it nice to think you only need to worry about teaching them to sit, listen, and be teachable?
One thing I know for sure…… you can handle that!