Column: Kindergarten starts path for a student's journeyWORTHINGTON — Kindergarten is the gateway to a journey. The journey kindergartners embark on is a lifetime of learning new and different things. Just like any journey, preparations are needed before one starts.
By: Martha Lubben, Worthington Christian School, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Kindergarten is the gateway to a journey. The journey kindergartners embark on is a lifetime of learning new and different things. Just like any journey, preparations are needed before one starts. The same is true with kindergarten. A child needs to be prepared to enter kindergarten. Being prepared will help a child fare better on the first day of school to the last day of school and beyond. What preparations are needed depends on the school your child will be attending. When preparing for kindergarten, there are three areas that need to be looked at. These include the area of academics, social and emotional, and physical.
Academics are the first thing parents want to know about. The question that always arises is “what does my child need to know.” The truth is they do not need to know any of the academic concepts; those will be taught to the child in kindergarten. With that said, kindergarten is easier to negotiate knowing some of the fundamental concepts, such as knowing the alphabet, being able to identify the 26 letters, and knowing some/all of the sound the letters make. Being able to identify shapes, numbers 1- 10, knowing the one-to-one correspondence and being able to count to at least 20 is wonderful. Another way for a child to be prepared would be to have them be able to write their first name in small letters — and possibly their last — along with most of the letters of the alphabet. Having your child know the above is awesome, but the best and easiest way to prepare your child for school is to read to the child 15 minutes a day.
Preparing your child socially and emotionally for kindergarten is probably more important than academics. A child needs to be able to handle the joys, the problems and the array of different people to succeed. Parents should provide opportunities for their child to play with other children so the child can learn cooperation/sharing, how to express feelings appropriately and learn self-control. Parents should provide opportunities for the child to learn to listen and carry out easy assignments without help.
Last, a child should be physically prepared. A child should be able to use large and small motor skills. Allow your child to write with a pencil, to cut and to color. Encourage your child to stay in the lines coloring and writing. Large motor skills involve your child being able to run, skip, jump and do activities with a ball.
Preparing your child for kindergarten does not need to be done formally. Teach your child informally or in a casual way using everyday activities you do in your house or car. Examples of informal ways would be to have your child count plates, glasses, Cheerios etc. You can also play the “I Spy” game with letters and sounds or write in shaving cream.
The journey of school can be long, but kindergarten is just the beginning. It really does set a path for the rest of a student’s educational journey. Worthington Christian School is a great place for your child to start the journey of school. The goal of Worthington Christian School is not only to educate the child, but to prepare the child for a life of service to God, His creation, and His community. Come and check out Worthington Christian School. The school will be holding an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 19.
Martha Lubben is a kindergarten teacher at Worthington Christian School.