Starting kindy can be an anxious time for both children and parents, but there are plenty of things that you can do to ease the transition and set your child up for a happy time.
Remember, parents are powerful influencers. You are a source of inspiration and a source of great comfort and by taking some proactive steps to help your child prepare for the start of the kindergarten year, you can help them to get the most out of this rite of passage.
Going to kindy should be a happy time for a child. It’s a time of exploration and discovery, growth and learning and there is much that a parent can do to set them up emotionally as well as physically for a positive experience.
Here are some practical ways to help your child prepare for the start of the kindy year:
Focus on developing gross and fine motor skills. Do fun, simple things at home like bouncing and catching balls, climbing trees, jumping over obstacles, laying the table for a meal, building with small blocks, making pictures with dry pasta and doing arty, crafty activities with tactile materials.
Encourage their independence. Give them responsibility for simple daily tasks and let your child dress himself or herself even if the end result isn’t colour co-ordinated or fashionable!
Provide a range of materials for drawing, ‘writing’, creating artworks and building things.
Read, read and read. Reading and fostering a love of books is probably the most important activity you can do with your child to get them school-ready and it will help set them up for a lifelong love of learning. Visit your local library and start conversations with your child about their book choices.
Encourage their curiosity and genuinely listen to what they’re saying.
Practise problem-solving skills. Help your child manage their emotions by positive reinforcement and encouragement and help them understand that there are consequences to their behaviour - both good and bad.
Develop their numeracy skills by playing counting games and maths concepts in your day-to-day household activities. Simple classification games (size, shape, colour and quantity) are also good.
Establish clear expectations at home and help them to follow instructions. ‘Please could you pick up your toy and put it in the cupboard’.
There’s no substitute for good manners and constantly reinforcing the need to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ will set them up for the kindy environment and for later life.
Never miss an opportunity to help them with the concept of sharing and taking turns. The kindy classroom can be a baptism of fire for children who have had limited social interactions with other small children because they’re less likely to be able to handle frustration and be considerate of others. Starting daycare at an early age can be a significant advantage.
Other things that parents can do are:
- Establish a routine well before the school year starts that sets the scene for the transition to kindy.
- Familiarise yourself with the school’s routine so that there are no unexpected surprises that may unsettle your child.
- Organise a get-together with any other child or children in your neighbourhood who will be attending the same kindy before the start of the school year. Seeing some familiar faces will help them integrate more easily.
- Be aware of your own emotions and don’t let on to your child that you are anything but excited about the new school year. They’re surprisingly intuitive and will pick up on any negative feelings or anxieties.
Kindergarten should be an exciting time for both child and parent and it’s certainly true that the more effort you put into preparing your child for this milestone, the more likely that everyone will settle quickly and get the most out of it.
If your child has already been at an early learning centre, they’ll have a head start when kindy kicks off because they’ll be familiar with the surroundings, the set-up and the daily routine. Many parents choose to put their toddler - and often their babies - into daycare not because their circumstances require it, but because there are clear benefits to starting early.
Nido Early School is one of the most sought-after providers of premium childcare and kindergarten programmes across Australia and our network of centres have a reputation for caring excellence. We firmly believe in the view that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and that parents play just as important a role in a child’s education as a school does.
To see our philosophy in action or to discuss options for childcare, get in touch with Nido Early School through our website, nidoearlyschool.com.au.