On Thursday, June 2, the Islip School district will be offering its Kindergarten orientation for the class of 2029 and then it’ll be back to school in September. As parents and caregivers, we all share in the hope that our children are prepared for their first year of school. There is still time to help your child have a more successful first year of formal education by checking out books that offer practical ideas to prepare them for Kindergarten. The internet also includes many websites that include practical ideas to help with this important goal.
Commonly emphasized points are:
- Reading daily to your child. Your child learns new vocabulary, develops comprehension, practices listening, and learns to ask questions about the content. Ask your child to retell the story, predict what will happen, turn the pages, hold the book properly. Teachers can easily tell which children are being read to. Please note: The Islip Library offers a read-to-me program each summer. Children share 20 books with a caregiver, participate in contests, win prizes and are invited to attend our summer reading club party in early August.
- Recognizing and identifying the following: shapes, most letters (upper and lower case), common colors, and numbers 1 – 5. Your child should be able to count from 1 – 10 and write his first name. Teachers expect to teach children the sounds of letters and how to write. You can teach your child all of the above while playing with your child. While sorting legos, shapes, colors and numbers can be reinforced. Playing with alphabet magnets on the refrigerator will help your child learn colors, letter shapes and counting.
- Developing your child’s fine motor skills. Children need to be able to hold a pencil and write early on in their school experience. Make a bracelet by threading Cheerios onto a pipe cleaner. Mist houseplants using a spray bottle to exercise hand muscles. Use scissors to cut play dough. Color with crayons to practice drawing and writing.
- Offering opportunities for independence. Encourage your children to use the bathroom and wash hands by themselves, set the table, open their own snacks and drink boxes, and hang up their coats. Regularly give three-step instructions, for instance, “Get your coat, put it on and then meet me by the front door.” Make sure they respond to their names and not just their nicknames.
- Offer your child the opportunity to be social in social situations at the playground, the library, preschool, play dates and parties. With your help they will learn how to share, take turns, carry on a conversation without interrupting, learn to speak to adults and in class discussions, say please and thank you, and use language to communicate their needs.