By: Lee Scott, Chairperson of The Goddard School’s Educational Advisory Board
Parents naturally are filled with excitement and anticipation this time of the year as their children prepare to return to school. For parents of rising kindergartners, it is also normal to feel anxious as the reality of the transition sets in. Entering kindergarten is not just a milestone for a child, but also for their parents.
Being ready for kindergarten is about far more than writing names and reciting the ABCs. It is also about building a foundation for deeper conceptual thinking, curiosity, creativity, and social and emotional skills that can help children during their early education and benefit them throughout their lives.
To complement and support learning that occurs in the classroom, parents can promote curiosity and instill a love of learning at home. To do so, here are some recommended skill-building activities to help parents extend their kindergartener’s education from the classroom to the home:
Practice writing and reading: To help foster language and literacy skills at home, have your child practice their writing by making place cards for the dinner table. For younger children, it can be the first letter of each person’s name or fun scribbles on the card. Early scribbles are part of developing writing skills. When reading together, choose books that relate back to an important social-emotional skill, like “Llama Llama Misses Mama” by Anna Dewdney or “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds.
Sing and dance while doing chores: Foster creative expression by making up songs or repeating favorites as your child helps with chores like putting clothes away or washing the dishes.
Care for others: Build a sense of responsibility and caring for others with real or pretend pets to help with social-emotional development. Take the dog for a walk, feed the cat, or water the pet rock. Taking care of a pet can help your child develop a sense of responsibility and empathy for others.
Establish daily routines: Daily routines help children practice fine motor skills while doing a few chores, such as setting the table, helping you cook by mixing or stirring, putting their clothes on, or brushing their teeth.
Solve puzzles: Solving puzzles supports the development of skills such as concentration, self-regulation, critical thinking, and spatial recognition. Plus, puzzles are a lot of fun!
Play board games: Playing games provides a number of benefits for children, including supporting memory and critical thinking, helping them learn to take turns and count, learning sportsmanship, and developing early language skills.
A child’s education is an ongoing journey of cognitive and social-emotional development, and learning shouldn’t be limited to the classroom. By continuing to promote cognitive and social-emotional development at home, parents are able to play a significant role in their children’s educational success.
To learn about The Goddard School and to access a wealth of parenting guidance and resources, including a recent webinar focused on preparing for kindergarten, please visit GoddardSchool.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee Scott is an education consultant with more than 25 years of early childhood education program development experience. She serves as the chairperson of The Goddard School’s Educational Advisory Board and supported the development of The Goddard School’s summer, after-school, Life Lesson Library, and kindergarten programs.
Lee has launched strategic partnerships on various family-oriented and educational projects with the National Head Start Association, Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, National Geographic Society, The Discovery Channel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Amazon Kids. She is the author of the national Partnership for 21st Century Learning Early Learning Framework (P21-ELF) and is an expert collaborator on the Mattel Fisher-Price Play Lab.