School readiness: 5 tips to help preschoolers enter kindergarten
Suzie was very eager to start her first of day of school. She was prepared with her backpack along with other supplies and her big enthusiastic smile. Her sister, Sonia, on the other hand, was nervous and rejected the idea.
Sonia had mixed feelings about starting school. She thought the first day might be confusing and didn’t know what to expect. She hadn’t met her new teacher and hadn’t gathered her school supplies. She didn’t even know where to begin.
However, Suzie was happy to have met her new teacher before starting school. She was excited to have seen some of her classmates and her new classroom. She was ready to learn. Sonia was not motivated.
Children don’t have to encounter the first day of school by themselves. Many of them, especially young preschoolers, will have an array of emotions. Starting school is a new experience for young children that may not be familiar in a typical setting.
How can parents, caregivers and educators help preschoolers on their first day of school? And, even perhaps, help them on their first week.
1. Walk with them to the new school
Even experts agree that having parents or caregivers assist their children in familiarizing with the new environment can be a great help. Preschoolers can feel apprehensive to new surroundings, especially when they are away from their caregivers.
To ease the uneasy feeling of separation, parents can walk together, if possible. Or, if the playground is available, parents can allow some playtime, emphasizing that is the school playground.
If at all possible, experts suggest attending parental meetings and any other events that can help ease hesitant preschoolers. And they will regard that action as an immense parental support, a memory they will never forget.
2. Shop for school supplies together
From crayons to backpacks to new clothes, it is all part of the new school experience. Children, even among friends, may be comparing notes on what type of backpack they want or what kind of clothes they prefer.
Although it can take away from the focus on learning, shopping together as a family can motivate the worried child to overcome those feelings. Even simply purchasing a lunch box together can show them how much parents appreciate their feelings in starting school.
3. Prepare preschoolers for daily routine
When starting school, many young children may not even be aware of a routine. The daily task of waking up, brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, packing a lunch, getting to there on time and so many other duties – all may be overwhelming to a new student.
Parents can help with a new routine by starting a few weeks before school. Although some preschoolers may dislike the idea of waking up early, it promotes the idea of beginning a new day fresh. Having a daily nutritious breakfast motivates them to keep healthy and nourishes their body. Opting for good sleeping habits can promote learning and increase their attention span.
When children are taught a routine, they are more apt to learn and succeed academically because they know what to expect. Events that are not planned can worry a preschooler, which can lead to more anxiety and, even possibly, stress.
4. Get annual check-ups and immunizations
Many school districts may even reinforce the idea of early vaccination before starting school. Children shouldn’t have to miss an important event or class time because of illnesses.
In fact, many clinics and community centers nationwide are providing free check-ups and vaccinations. It’s a matter of early planning and scheduling.
Even though it may be the first time to visit a dentist or clinic, parents should talk to their children about what to expect on their visit. They might need to know dentists, nurses, and medical practitioners are professionals to help them with their dental and health care.
5. Be compassionate and understanding
Perhaps, after all that you can possibly do as a parent or caregiver to ease the tension of starting school, your preschooler still cries and feels the anxiety that you’re abandoning him or her. But it is okay to have those feelings. It is even more important to make sure preschoolers know that, too.
Being ready for school is not simply getting ready with new supplies, backpack, and other materials. It is getting ready to learn. It is getting ready to know new classmates. It is getting them ready for a new stage in their lives.