Kindergarten for the First Time
Many parents are facing a first time event this September: Little Johnny will go to kindergarten! What kind of program should you look for? What kind of visit should you make to each school being considered? Here are some suggestions. First and foremost, try to schedule a visit with THE teacher your child will have. You know your child’s personality and ability level and should soon be able to see if this teacher and your cherub will be a match. Second, ask about the school day schedule. Does it make sense for a 5-6 year old? Is there ample learning time in the morning when the kids will be fresh and adequate rest and snack time for fidgety bodies? Does this teacher encourage parents to visit at reasonable intervals and to participate in activities? Next ask to be given a summary of the curriculum. Listen carefully for these items to be the ones your child will spend a major portion of time with: oral language, speaking, listening, and learning to read; written language which is taught from a phonemic approach (this teaches the relationship between individual sounds of letters and the written words); writing of letters, and practice, practice, practice! Likewise, there should be emphasis on the basic geometric shapes and what real world items they mimic. There should be plenty of time spent on numerical sequence learning, including counting, grouping, and matching of numbers to groups ( five apples equates to the number 5). Of course, an introduction to money, clocks, and rudimentary adding and subtracting must take place. Science at this level will be more fun than anything! Kids grow plants from seeds, paste together cloud puffs, make snowflakes, and collect pictures of animals. Of course, there is still health, music, art, etc. which will be included as time permits. The three R’s, though, must be the primary focus.