As a parent you probably thought that kindergarten was a very big deal, and a big step for your child. And of course you would be completely right in that assumption. But many parents do not think about preparing their child for the first grade. I have worked in the school system for several years, and I have been able to observe how children react to the changes of transitioning from kindergarten to first grade. In kindergarten the focus is still on playing games, and getting along with one another. When your child enters first grade they are then introduced to real academics. They are expected to sit for longer periods of time, and do begin working a lot more independently. For some children this comes very easily, but for others it can be one of the most difficult challenges. They lose a lot during this transition. For example there is no more nap time, there are not as many toys as there used to be, and there is a lot less group activity.
Some children can find this frightening, and may withdraw. It should however, comfort you to know that there are several things that you can do as a parent to help and prepare your child for this. First throughout their kindergarten year at school, you will want to reinforce whatever they learn in the classroom. You can do this by encouraging them to practice what they learned that particular day. Kind of like homework given by you the parent. There is no reason why you should wait until the teacher decides to send homework home, before actually getting your child to practice. For example if they worked on writing certain letters in class then you can practice the same at home with your child. You do not have to spend hours doing this, maybe just fifteen minutes in the evening. This will help your child to learn to work independently and also will help to further advance their skills. Not to mention the quality time that you will be spending with your child. Another good idea is to purchase some first grade workbooks for your kindergartner, during the summer time. Just because they are on summer break does not mean that they can not continue to learn.
There are several ways that you can help to make learning fun for your child. Most of the workbooks that you will find for first graders are made to teach your child in a fun way. The summer time would also be a good time to begin weaning your child off of nap time. They need to be able to function for a full eight hour day, without getting cranky or grouchy. Not only will it make your child’s adjustment to first grade easier, but the teacher will appreciate it as well. Also do not be afraid to let your child know exactly what they will be facing when the enter the first grade. You do not want to scare them, but you want them to understand that as they grow and change, so do the things around them.
If your child understands that growing and learning is fun, they will love the first grade and look forward to the many challenges. It is important for parents to take a very active role in their child’s education. Never leave all of the educating work to the teacher. The teacher should just be reinforcing what your child has already learned.