This past week I held our first parent session as well as our first KinderStart session for the new children who will be entering Kindergarten in September. I look forward to this every year because it provides me with a new opportunity to think about how I can best support both children and parents as they enter Kindergarten.
THE 4 GOALS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING (up to age 7)
Play and Exploration
Well-Being and Belonging
These 4 goals are essential to child development. They are also interconnected, which means that growth in one area will often impact growth in another. For example, if your child is better able to express their wants and needs to others, then they will find it easier to join in play and contribute socially. This, in turn, will enhance their sense of belonging because they feel included in play with others.
There’s something REALLY important you need to know about Kindergarten. It isn’t the place where learning STARTS. Learning for your child starts at birth, and YOU are your child’s first teacher. Everything that you do matters, and it matters a WHOLE lot.
But school is where children LEARN and home is where they LIVE, right?
Children are living and learning all the time, both at home and at school. Inside, outside, places you go, things you do.
Kindergarten is not a place where kids sit in a circle and teachers tell them about letters and numbers and then children print them on worksheets and teachers put stickers on the worksheets and then children know all they need to know in Kindergarten. Please take a look at the Kindergarten outcomes found here.
Participating in conversations, listening to others’ opinions, and adjusting the volume of your voice are just a few language arts outcomes. There are hundreds more kindergarten outcomes from the different subject areas that focus not just on how to communicate, but how to figure things out, understand how things work, or explain things about being a good citizen in today’s society.
Kindergarten teachers are responsible for designing a learning environment that children live and learn in with caring, supportive adults. However, you are STILL your child’s teacher. Your child will continue to learn at home even after they enter school. Communicating, playing, exploring, being happy, feeling included, contributing socially — your child learns about these things from YOU as much as they learn about them in school, perhaps even more.
So, here’s what you need to do to prepare for Kindergarten:
- Talk about things with your child. Listen to what they have say and how they feel. COMMUNICATE.
- PLAY with your child. EXPLORE the world and all it has to offer. Get OUTSIDE. Spend quality time with other humans – big ones and small ones.
- Be HAPPY. Find joy together in everyday experiences and spend time with people you love and that love you.
- DO GOOD things for other people, for your community, or the earth. Talk about WHY. Celebrate accomplishments together.
- READ together daily. Your local library is full of thousands of free books that can open your mind and your child’s mind to a whole new set of experiences and places, both real and imagined.
And one more thing. Please IMAGINE what school will be like for your child. Then imagine what school COULD be like for your child.
SHARE your thoughts.
With ME. With others. THINK hard about what you want school to be like for your child.
Because we’re in this together. And if we all work together, we can make school an AWESOME place to be. For you, for me, and most importantly, for YOUR CHILD.
Let’s start talking.
Dedicated teacher for the past 15 years. Lifelong learner. Newbie blogger. Follow me on Twitter @Baker1973Cathy