How to prepare your child and what to expect ::



Sending your child to kindergarten is full of exciting firsts, but it can also come with common concerns and questions. What skills does my child need to know before entering class? What if my son or daughter is afraid of school? How can I support my child’s teacher?

To get answers to these and other questions, we asked Durham Public Schools to give us an overview of the Kindergarten process. DPI Communications Specialist Casey Watson shared the following tips.

What can parents do at home to prepare their children for kindergarten?

We know that families are the first and most important teachers of our students. Families can support their young learners by establishing family routines around reading and sharing stories together.

Families can also help prepare their child for kindergarten by helping their child learn the letters of their name, playing rhyming games together, counting together on family walks and in the store, and supporting the developing your child’s vocabulary by talking to him often and including him in family conversations.

The summer before kindergarten is also a good time to practice fine motor skills like using scissors, glue, crayons and pencils!

What skills or knowledge should a child have before entering kindergarten?

DPI has some great resources called “Foundations for families” available in English and Spanish, which shows some of the skills students can develop at home before entering kindergarten.

How do you help children who are struggling with anxiety or fear of separation when they get to school?

We encourage parents to make the first week of school something to look forward to with their child. If you are able to drive, walk, or take the bus to visit your child’s school playground, it can help them feel familiar about the space.

You can also point out the yellow school buses you see around Durham and share the excitement of riding the bus as a kindergarten child. Many families also make a plan for their student to have time to share their day, so families can begin to take up the routine of creating a space to share their day before the first day of school.

Some families who have not been separated from their children for an extended period may decide to have short “training sessions” away from their children and work for longer periods without a parent present. . This can include playing with a cousin for a short time, staying with a trusted neighbor while the parent goes to the grocery store, and extending periods of separation.

Validate and honor your child’s fears, but also remind them that you can’t wait to see them again when you’re together again!

How can parents best support their child’s teacher?

Communication is the # 1 way to support a teacher. If any information comes home, be sure to read and respond. If you have a question, email the teacher or call the school.

How is discipline managed in kindergarten?

Much of kindergarten discipline is handled by redirecting students, celebrating positive behaviors (with tools like Class Dojo), and allowing time to process great feelings. Our youngest learners are just new to school, so teachers frequently remind them of classroom expectations and school procedures to keep everyone safe and engaged in learning.

What aspect of Kindergarten do children have the most difficulty with and how do you help them?

Students who haven’t been in person will need extra care, love, and support as they adjust their daily routines to be away from family and friends.

What Kinds of Books Should Parents Read to Their Children? Recommendations ?

Any book your child loves is a great book to read together! The best thing you can do is make a habit of reading together and mold the joys of reading and sharing texts with your child. Here are some resources:

How do you measure students’ academic progress?

Several metrics are used to help monitor the academic progress of kindergarten students. Teachers use the Early Learning Inventory to monitor many facets of a child’s development, from language, numeracy, and preparatory skills to social, emotional and physical skills. Teachers monitor progress along a continuum of skills from birth to Grade 3.

Teachers will also closely monitor a student’s reading ability through diagnostic measurements. This coming year will be watched by mClass where teachers listen intently to students read and monitor their growth over time.

How important is play and social interactions in kindergarten?

Social learning is essential for success in elementary school – play and socialization support students’ cooperation, communication, imagination, critical thinking and more.

We know that students who learn through play will experience increased confidence as it strengthens their academic learning and self-esteem. Durham Public Schools have an Outdoor Learning Guide to support outdoor learning through play as well as indoor play. If kindergarten work is serious, it is also fun.

Longtime education reporter Kelly Hinchcliffe is a mom and lives in Orange County.


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