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Starting Kindergarten? Help Make It a Good Experience!

By: Illinois Early Learning Project
Starting kindergarten can be an anxious or an exciting experience for children. These tips will help you start your child off right. This article is also available in Spanish.

Talk about kindergarten before the first day of school

Talk with your child about kindergarten before the big day. Find out what he or she thinks kindergarten will be like. Be prepared to answer questions such as: What will the start of the day be like? What will the end of the day be like? Where will I eat lunch and play?

Visit the kindergarten classroom in the spring

If possible, visit the classroom during the school term before your child enters kindergarten. Talk with the teacher and walk around the inside of the school. Visit the playground, the lunchroom, and the bathrooms. Seeing these places and the people at the school can help ease some of the concerns your child might have.

Let your child know it's OK to feel anxious

If your child is hesitant about starting kindergarten, let him or her know that you (or an older brother or sister or friend) felt the same way. Give reassurance that he or she will get used to it very soon.

Be sure your child is well rested and well fed

Kindergarten is usually more tiring for children than preschool was. Your child will be better able to meet the demands of kindergarten if he or she is well rested and has had a good breakfast. When children start school, regular bedtimes and mealtimes are more important than ever!

Help your child develop a sense of responsibility

During the school years, you will want your child to begin taking responsibility for getting himself or herself and books, backpack, lunch, homework, papers, and other personal belongings to school on time. You will want him or her to complete schoolwork and classroom jobs. You will also want your child to let you know when he or she brings home important notes from school. As much as possible, let your child perform these important tasks for himself or herself, starting in kindergarten. Doing so will help your child feel capable and learn to be responsible.

Take kindergarten seriously

Showing interest in your child's kindergarten experience lets him or her know that school is valuable. Ask your child who he played with, what books she read, and what activities he or she took part in. Read the notes that come home from the teacher and school. Attend parent-teacher meetings and as many other school events as your schedule will allow. Your interest in your child's kindergarten experience sends an important message: School is important!

To learn more about starting kindergarten, see these articles from the Web site of the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

*This article is also available on the Web in Spanish. Also see our ColorinColorado.org Web site for additional Spanish-language resources for parents.

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Endnotes

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Reprinted with permission from the Illinois Early Learning Project (www.illinoisearlylearning.org).
Tags: Parent Tips

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