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Let's get one thing
straight. I sent my son to preschool and pre-K. He was supposed to learn
everything he would need for Kindergarten there. Sure, I'm not talking about a fancy
private school. Just plain, old neighborhood public school.
So, why am I
still finding things that he should have known before he went to Kindergarten? For
instance, he should have known how to write all of his letters and numbers. I
assumed he was learning this in preschool or would learn it in Kindergarten. But no. For the first worksheet he brought home from school, he needed to count up different objects and write the number.
That's when I realized pre-K didn't prepare
Even more humbling, I realized I hadn't prepared him either, though it was my job as the
parent. Now we are playing catch up at home on a few key
things that I just assumed my son knew.
Which just goes to show, you should never assume.
1. Writing ABCs
Knowing your ABCs is very
different from being able to write them. Most children are encouraged to know
how to read and write their name before they start Kindergarten. Chances
are, your child's name does not have all of the letters of the alphabet in it.
Print out worksheets to practice with your child. Work on all uppercase letters
or all lowercase letters. Find worksheets on sites like K5Learning.com that
have the lines already on the paper, which are similar to the lined paper they
will be using in the classroom.
2. Writing 1,2,3s
Just like the ABCs, your
child needs to know how to write numbers. When my son came home with his
very first homework sheet, and it had math problems on it, I didn't think it
would be a problem. My son knew how to count objects with no difficulty. He
told me how many were on the sheet, and I told him to write the number. He looked
at me like I was insane. He had no idea how to write his numbers. I instantly
downloaded worksheets so we could be working on his numbers the first week of
3. Sight words
I have always struggled
with teaching my son to read. I either don't have the patience or he doesn't
have the patience. If you are like me, find yourself a decent app or web
program to help your child practice sight words before they start Kindergarten
or to reinforce what they are learning during kindergarten. This will give them
a little leg up and get them reading sooner than a few of their peers.
4. Wiping his bottom
Yes, this one is gross
and obvious, but, truly, we hadn't worked on it very hard until the summer right
before Kindergarten. I felt like such a failure that I had taken the lazy way
out and just done it for him. The best part of our training was him saying "I
don't want to do that mom. It's gross!" And yet he expected ME to do it for
him? I found I wasn't the only mom to hit this snag with her kid as they entered
Kindergarten. Plenty of us had gotten used to our routine and forgotten that
our children should be doing this in preschool. Teachers aren't allowed to wipe
them, so if your kids won't do it while at school, no one will.
Thankfully there are plenty of resources out on the web for
parents to catch up or help their child excel in Kindergarten. Don't overwhelm
your kids with tons of extra work, but do give them the confidence and the
tools to get the job done. I've been humbled. Instead of being the mom who
expects the teacher to do everything for her child, I'm not taking a more
active role, the role I should have taken all along.