October 13, 2015
Back-to-school isn’t just for kids and it really never ends. Parents can always use a few tips on how best to prepare their kindergarteners to start school or other young children to benefit in the best way. The City Heights Partnership for Children wants to ensure that all of San Diego’s young children have nurturing experiences to help them arrive at school ready to succeed. Here are a few ways to help make that happen
1. READING: As all parents know, storytelling is a key to helping young children learn language and literacy skills so they can speak, listen, read, and write.
Young children are more likely to thrive in school when they know lots and lots of words and can express their ideas and needs. Talking and playing helps increase their vocabulary and helps them begin school eager to continue learning.
When reading a book you’ve read to your child before, ask for their help! Instead of reading the words on every page, let your child retell parts of the story they remember. Ask your child questions as you read together— about the pictures, what they mean, and what may happen next.
Help them understand the story better by talking about characters’ feelings and why they do in the story. While reading, point out how to hold a book (right-side up with the spine on the left) and the orientation in which we read the words and look at the pictures (left to right).
After reading, ask your child what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Talk about the pictures in each story. Then read it again! Retelling stories helps children understand what they are reading and they learn more every time you read the story.
2. WRITING: First, ensure your child is holding her pencil correctly. Teach your child the uppercase and lowercase letters and, most importantly, the sounds each letter makes through play and games.
Show them how to write his or her name (capital for the first letter and lowercase for the remaining letters). To start, write his name using a highlighter and encourage him to trace over it. Be sure that he forms the letters from the top to the bottom.
SIZE, SHAPES & COLORS: Help your child learn the meaning of “big” and “small.” Point out shapes of common objects — the ball is round; the box is square. Use words like “over,” “under,” and “below.” Ask your child to help you sort items according to color, size, and shape—laundry, blocks, silverware, toys, and other household items.
Go on a shape hunt. Point out circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles to your child while walking or shopping. Let your child use child-safe scissors to cut out a variety of shapes.
Teach your child to recognize the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown, and pink.
3. EXPLORING ACTIVITIES
Kids love to explore things, try out new ideas, and use all their senses to make discoveries.
Go for a listening walk: Visit noisy places like the playground and quiet places in and around your home. Ask your children to listen carefully for any sounds they might hear or, if possible, tape record the sounds. Touch and talk about stones, leaves, puddles, and flowers. Encourage your child to look closely and notice details. Talk about changes in the seasons and the weather.
Talk about the things you see, hear, and smell on your walks. When you get home, encourage children to share what they heard. Ask if they would like to draw a picture about their walk. If possible, share the tape recorded sounds.
Later, have them create a Listening Walk Book. Staple their pictures together and ask them to copy or write the letters for the title of the book on the cover along with their name as author.
Create and frame family photos: Tell the children you are making family pictures. Ask them to draw their family however they would like and to describe their drawing.
Ask them to label each person or pet and to write something about them. They might dictate something to you. Maybe they would they like to “frame” the picture by gluing or taping it onto the center of a piece of construction paper.
Play I Spy: Look for letters, colors, words or familiar signs. For example, “I spy a lady with a red hat.” “I spy a person reading a newspaper.” “I spy something that begins with the letter ‘B’.” Take turns with your child finding different things.
Read billboards, point out street signs, point out maps along your route. Keep a notebook or journal and a pen or pencil with you for a writing activity while waiting or riding.
Thanks to Tia Anzellotti, Director of Partnerships for all the helpful tips! To learn more about preparing your child for kindergarten or the role you can play in the City Heights Partnership; contact Tia at email@example.com
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