Suggestions for ensuring that your child is ready for kindergarten

1. Allow your child to dress her/himself. It hardwires eye-hand coordination, balance and strengthens hands. Schedule enough time in morning and at pickup if your child is in daycare to accomplish this skill.
2. Allow your child to feed her/himself. Your child should be eating with a fork, and cutting with a knife at the table. Assisting with meal preparation encourages vocabulary, strengthens hands, and might even encourage healthy eating.
3. Read to your child daily. This is essential to building vocabulary and early reading skills. Turning pages strengthens fine motor skills.
4. Get outside and allow your child to run in safe open spaces. Allow them to climb. Doing so encourages confidence, strengthens gross motor skills, and strengthens hands for printing.
5. Talk to your children. Have conversations that require thoughts and more than simple yes or no answers.
6. Use wax crayons instead of felts for coloring. Felt markers do nothing to strengthen hands. Buy coloring books and encourage coloring inside the lines to strengthens eye hand coordination.
7. Don’t jump in too early to solve your child’s problems. Allow them to learn to independently problem solve. Encourage your child to do more for her/himself.
8. Play follow the leader so that your child knows what to expect when a teacher asks the children to line up.
9. If you know your child is shy, preschool programs are an excellent method of ensuring that your child won’t be overlooked in a busy kindergarten class. Experiences outside the home encourage confidence in managing different environments. Try to ensure your child is exposed to a variety of experiences prior to kindergarten.
10. If your child requires time for transitions, work on shortening that time. Teachers do not have time to wait for Junior(ess) to decide on when to start or finish required tasks.
11. Work on empathy and manners. The “treat others as you wish to be treated” works well for future years in school.
12. Ensure that you attend all orientation ps for kindergarten and maintain contact with your child’s teacher throughout their school years.

STILL WORRIED?

Preschool programs can assist you with preparing your child for kindergarten. Children learn how to function in a classroom setting and thus kindergarten is not such a big shock. If your child is attending a daycare, ensure that the daycare has an age appropriate program geared to getting four year old preschoolers ready for kindergarten. Check that the program instructional portion of class is not a mixed age group of 3-5 year olds. Three year olds are not ready to tackle the skills required for kindergarten. They should not be expected to listen, play or learn at the same level as a four year old. Nor should the older ones have to wait for a wee three to “get over” whatever the “issue of the day” these toddlers are experiencing at the time.

The Importance of Reading To your child

Did you know that your preschooler should have a vocabulary of 4,000 words prior to entering kindergarten? Did you know that Alberta preschoolers are behind in a variety of critical areas of development according to the latest statistics. One of those areas is vocabulary.

Daily Reading to your child is vital to building the foundation for acquiring vocabulary. That 15 minutes before bedtime is an excellent opportunity to connect with your child. Your child will associate reading with love and connection. Reading stories builds vocabulary and encourages conversation beyond yes and no.

Your child also needs to see you reading books. If the only thing you read is your phone screen, how are you going to encourage your child to read?

We are in an age of googling answers to every aspect of our lives. If we have a parenting concern, we turn to google. Unfortunately, while there is an infinite amount of instant answers, I liken it to a drive through approach to gathering information. We need to slow down and pick up a book. Make sure your child sees you reading that book.

Building vocabulary in preschoolers also involves conversations at meal times, in the cars, bedtimes and at every opportunity. The first five years are the most critical for developing and hard wiring a preschooler’s brain. Get your child thinking and solving problems independently. It takes time.

I know. In Calgary, time is never your friend. From the opening alarm at six to the rushing home to eat and then somehow fit in quality teaching time before bed is an impossible situation. This is where you add in your “village” to assist you.

Preschool can add that extra layer of enrichment in building vocabulary and yes reading stories. A good preschool program incorporates a variety of activities to hard wire that little brain for kindergarten. Yes, it can be a crazy time trying to get to preschool and yes a good preschool program is costly. But that ten months of crazy is an investment in your child’s future. Don’t shortchange your child. Get reading and discover the joy of books.

Preschool for English Language Learners

Kindergarten is not the best place for five year olds to start learning English. Unfortunately, too many English language learners (ELL) preschoolers are not getting the head start in learning that they need. Some parents have a belief that preschool is an expensive luxury and not necessary for children whose first language is not English. There is a belief that these children will somehow “pick up the language “ quickly. While this may be true, enrolling these children in preschool gives these children a better advantage. These same children who have been given the benefit of English Language Learning in a preschool setting are much more prepared for a kindergarten classroom. Too many families who don’t speak English do not realize or know that select approved licensed preschools like Think Sun have Alberta government approved agencies that provide free assistance for English Language Learners. Further there are subsidies available for stay at home parents that will enable these preschoolers to have a head start on English Language Learning.

This is not to say that preserving first language is not important. It is saying that giving all children a head start for kindergarten is something that shouldn’t be missed.

Why Preschool?

Preschool is sometimes viewed as a luxury.  However, the first five years are key to a child’s development. With the increasing use of technology, preschoolers are lagging in cognitive, fine and gross motor skills. Preschool classes are an important part of assisting in the development of key skills needed for kindergarten. Yes, quality programs are expensive, and, for ten months, it seems like all you do is rush to drop off and rush to pick up your child. However, those ten months of sacrifice ensures that your child is ready to tackle kindergarten and beyond with confidence.

The Think Sun Preschool prepares preschoolers who will be attending John Costello Elementary, St Joan of Arc Elementary, Battalion Park Elementary, Olympic Heights Elementary.

Think Sun Preschool prepares children for private school kindergarten.

Are you considering private schools such as Masters Academy, Rundle College, Webber Academy or Calgary French International School?

Calgary parents are blessed with a variety of private school options. However, some, not all, private schools have entrance tests for prospective kindergarten students.

Think Sun graduates are prepared for a variety of classrooms and are more than prepared for any type of learning situation. Through our cross curriculum, we ensure that our students are familiar with phonics, letter and number recognition. Further our graduates are able to follow oral and visual directions as well as creatively and independently problem solve. We are proud of our proven program and are confident in our graduates’ preparedness for Masters Academy, Calgary French International School, Webber Academy and Rundle College.