As we enter August, “summer” as a season of freedom, staying up extra late and sleeping in the next morning is rapidly coming to an end for many especially across southern USA. In fact, even as I write this, some kids are already back in school and some teachers have been back at work for over a week or two now. As an educator, I too am mentally preparing myself to go back to work, although honestly I never ended because our summer semester spans pretty much the entire summer break. We literally are in finals week for summer school right now and faculty report back to work for Fall semester next Monday… On top of this, there is still so much uncertainty due to the Bebe’s Kids Viral Invasion that we are still in the midst of globally. With breakthrough cases in many hotspots, ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE SOUTHERN USA, many educators and parents disagree with administrative decisions. Thankfully, in some states where the state-level leadership is continuing to fail its citizens, there are county and city level officials who are make scientifically sound decisions to either begin school virtually or reinstate mask mandates regardless of vaccination status. On top of these new worried based on the times that we are in, there are the old worries of parents sending their kids to school for the first time.
Recently I saw a post describing how parents should prepare their kids to start school for the first time. This was apparently written by an early childhood educator and broke down the steps into various types of development that kids could use to be successful in this transition. I tried to share the post, but it keeps disappearing; however, I was able to copy the content prior to losing it.
“A lot of parents want to know how to prepare their kids to start school for the first time. My personal advice is to skip the flash cards right now and teach them the below things.
- How to open and close containers. Specifically the kind you’ll put in their lunch boxes.
- How to pinch and tear packaging. (Pre-packaged snacks, ketchup packets, etc)
- How to put a straw into a Capri sun pouch.
It will take your child’s teacher a long time to circulate around the lunch table to assist. That means less time your child has to eat. Also, your child’s teacher would really love to eat too 🙂
- How to take off a jacket so that the sleeves don’t get pulled through. How to fix the jacket if the sleeves do get pulled through. How to zip it up.
- How to zip and snap or button pants.
- Your child will be the holy grail of their class if they can tie their shoes.
- TO GO TO THE BATHROOM WITH THE DOOR CLOSED. Lawd. Please teach them this. It may be no big deal at home, but it will be at school if they expose themselves to an entire classroom full of their friends.
- How to pump soap. How to properly wash their hands. To turn the sink off and dry their hands.
- How to wait and take turns.
- How to share. How to compromise.
- How to listen and follow 2 step directions. (First, take your jacket off. Then put it on the hanger) If you want to get crazy – try 3 step!
- Build vocabulary with them! Talk to them. Use big words. Explain that they mean. When they start to learn to read, it’ll be much easier for them to identify a word that is already in their vocabulary.
- Help them build their own language and memory by reflecting. Tell them what you need at the grocery store. When you get there, ask “What did we come to the store for?”
- Make them ask a question! Don’t let them say “I’m thirsty” and hand them a glass of water. You are being their problem solver, rather than having them find their own solutions. Teach them to ask for what they need. “Can I please have a glass of water?”
- Talk very intentionally about strategies to deal with emotions.
- “When you’re feeling scared, let’s try doing box breaths.”
- “If you’re feeling sad, what’s something happy that you could think about to cheer you up?”
As an early childhood teacher, your child will be ready to learn if you can just work on these things. All the academic stuff will come! You don’t need to pound their tiny brains full of memorized facts. Just work with them in developing as a tiny human 🙂
Parents of upcoming kindergarteners – starting school can be scary, but we can do hard things! ♥️” — Unknown
I have no idea who wrote this, so if you know the author then please drop it in the comments so that I can properly cite the source!