07 May Is Your Child Ready For Kindergarten?
As the end of nursery school approaches, inevitably parents wonder about how their children will fare in the big next school. Have they been “prepared?” Many parents associate preparedness with academics, but social development is more essential for success.
If the children have learned to renounce biting, punching, crying, whining and tattling as problem-solving techniques and have taken responsibility for negotiating their own issues verbally, peacefully, they are prepared. If they know how to self-regulate, to respond appropriately rather than impulsively to situations, they are prepared. Do they listen to the teachers and comply with reasonable requests? Do they take responsibility for their own belongings and for class materials? These are the readiness questions parents should ask.
Hopefully, children leave Pre K with a great attitude. They have fun learning, love books and stories, and write their names and other words. All those hours of playdoh, clay, and coloring have strengthened their hand muscles so they can hold a pencil firmly and create legible marks. Most can count, sort, put things in sequence, and recreate patterns. They are beginning to recognize a few written words.
Most children have developed other tools to help them succeed in the bigger universe they are facing. They have learned to listen attentively (not easy in a room full of other children and many interesting materials). They can choose an activity and stick with it until finished. They can think through a problem and rise to a challenge. If they have these skills, the academics will fall into place.
Along the way, the children have enjoyed expressing themselves in art and music. They paint with joy, shape clay, sing out loud, and dance. They run, jump and climb, plant gardens and care for them. They know the joys and occasional difficulties of friendship. They hop, skip and jump into school, confident and ready to excel in elementary school.
Marianne Riess is the former head of the Putnam Indian Field School in Greenwich, CT. She has 40 years of experience in working with young children.