Parents are often very good about reading aloud to children at this age, but it is also helpful if you take the time to discuss what you read with your child. “Pause when you are reading or listening to a story and ask them what they thought about what just happened in the story or what they think will happen next,” says Fay kindergarten teacher Lee Bogaert. “These conversations help prepare kids for the same kinds of interactions they’ll have in the classroom.”
Your child’s kindergarten teachers will be very appreciative if they are able to take care of some of their own essential needs. For example, can your child put on his or her own shoes (lace-free shoes are helpful at this age) as well as their coat and cold-weather gear? The teachers in Fay’s Early Learning Center use “the flip trick” to help students put on their coats. You can click here to watch a video that demonstrates the trick.
It is important that kindergarten students learn how to advocate for themselves separate from their parents. This may be regarding needs like asking a teacher for a drink of water when thirsty or to go to the bathroom when they need to. However, it can also relate to social situations and learning needs. At Fay, our kindergarten students work on topics like self-advocacy during homeroom time each day and it is an important part of our wellness program.
As parents, we often jump in immediately when we see that our child has a problem. You can nurture self-advocacy by resisting that urge. Give your child a little space to wrestle with a problem and wait for them to ask for help before stepping in. This will help foster self-advocacy, independence, and problem-solving skills. You can also create opportunities for your child to practice communicating their needs to an adult that is not their parent. Encourage them to order for themselves at a restaurant or to go ask the librarian about the book they are looking for.