Four to Five years
Soon your little one will be starting kindergarten. By the first day of school, some children will have learned to ride a bike, others to tie their shoes. Some will be able to sink a basket with a basketball, others to do a cartwheel. Some will have learned to play a song, others to help bake a cake. But no preschooler can or should be expected to do everything, or even keep up with his peers, so don’t be concerned. Remember, he is special and his timetable is uniquely his.
Celebrate with your Little One for having her own special talents. Don’t compare her to others, and try not to push her beyond her level of comfort. Try to say things that build her confidence, and avoid saying unkind things that can break her spirit.
Enjoy conversations with your child – at the dinner table, at the grocery store, in the car. Get her opinion on things; for example, what to cook for dinner or what errand to do first: ask her to give the reason for her decision. On the other hand refrain from sounding like an interrogator.
Your Little One can learn a lot when she’s in the car with you. Talk with her about directions, signs and whatever else you happen to see.
After a read-aloud time or TV program, ask her to tell you about the story – what happened first, next, and last. Ask who her favorite characters were and why.
Help her learn to describe things, not just name them. Point out the “fast red convertible,” not just “the car.”
You may have an encyclopedia at home; that’s great, nevertheless, visit the library regularly, and let your little one pick out books to read and enjoy. When you read together, try to get her to tell you what’s happening by looking at the pictures.
Let her see you read for your own enjoyment – books, magazines, or newspapers.
Help her learn to recognize her own written name by printing it on a drawing she has finished, or by simply taping her name tag over her bed.
Teach her your “real” name. “You call me Daddy/Mommy, but my real name is ___________.”
Let her pick out the clothes she’s going to wear each day. Give her choices – “Do you want to wear the blue dress or the red?” Be careful though: don’t overwhelm her or yourself.
Some parents simply select several things they want to solidify in their child’s mind at some point during the week, then take it one at a time until all are completed. Sometimes it may take more than a week to achieve just one of the selections. No problem, the memorable and fun time comes when the parent looks at the ledger at some future time and embraces the shared moments.
Teach her your family’s phone number and address.
Look for community-sponsored children’s activities like puppet shows and children’s plays to attend together.
Prepare dinner together. If your child likes to watch you cook, allow her to help you shell peas or snap beans.
On occasion, visit zoos, museums, and other cultural places and events..
Turn on some concert, jazz, rhythm & blues, country & western, soul, and contemporary music, or borrow tapes from your library. You may not care for certain kinds of music, that’s not important, keep in mind, your Little One is the recepticle that you want to be all she can be — yes, you want to introduce her to classical selections. In most of the music, try to distinguish the different instruments – pianos, flutes, drums, guitars, trumpets, etc.
Together, practice counting groups of objects to ten. Count how many chairs, pillows, mirrors, or toothbrushes are in your house. Show him what the numbers look like.
Play school with him. Turn the table on him now and then: allow him to take a turn as teacher (that can provide lots of laughs).
If he asks a question you can’t answer, just remember, that does not place you in a negative position. In fact, that becomes a sharing and teaching event, that’s even better than a “teaching moment.” Find the answer in an encyclopedia in the library. If your finances are such that you can purchase a set of encyclopedias for your home, by all means, do it. It will be one of the most important investments you can make. Let him study the pictures while you read the details.
Make books together. Children like to tell stories. Write them down (in her words), and have her add the pictures.
Never leave her at home alone, no matter how briefly, and never have her watch other children. If she has outside care, make sure you’re welcome at any time, and insure a clear understanding of the discipline used.
Home to School
Remember, all children are different, even your twin is different from his brother. They develop at different times and in very different ways. Some children will enter school with more skills than others. All children will work through kindergarten and the early grades to acquire learning skills.
Numbers and capacity interest children. Satisfy their curiosity with nursery rhymes, stories, and music. They will begin to count out loud (1 to 10 and beyond), understand empty and full, count objects like the three little pigs, “one, two, buckle my shoe…,” etc.
Physical development is an important part of his learning. He loves to move his body and use his hands. This is nature’s way for children to develop different muscles. But youngsters start school at very different levels of physical development. In kindergarten children will join in activities that encourage running, jumping, hopping, skipping, and marching – throwing a ball – clapping hands – building with blocks – walking up and down stairs. They will also be using their hands to use crayons, markers, and pencils – cut and shape with scissors and paste objects – complete simple puzzles, fasten buttons and use zippers.
In addition to physical development, kindergarten teachers will be working with your Little One to develop social and emotional skills. They are perhaps the most important merging components children use and learn in their first classrooms. Teachers look forward to building on social skills that children know from home. They want to supplement your training, help youngsters feel secure at school, and be confident working with others.
If you have kept up with us throughout this effort, your Little One will enter school being able to integrate into the school culture and:
*feel good about himself
*be away from you without being upset
*take care of dressing himself and satisfying his toileting needs
*care for his own belongings such as coats, sweaters, boots, lunch, etc.
*understand basic safety rules
*complete planned activities
*follow simple classroom rules and routines
*know where he lives
*share his things with others
*plan and carry out activities with others
*be happy at school
When your Little One enters the classroom, his world grows. It’s natural for him to be a little anxious; and it’s natural for you to be anxious as well. After all, both of you have a great deal of adjusting to do: first of all to being away from home, then to teachers, principals, and of course to other children. If you have followed along with me on this site and cherished and shared yourself with your Little One, you and your “Bundle of Joy” will enjoy school together. It’s a big beginning for both of you!
The major keys to the entire development of this new life is just two things and they come in packages. packages. First package: enjoy early learning with your Little One and be sure he is read to frequently (at least fifteen minutes every day), encourage him to look at books and magazines, and be sure he is introduced to him the library.
Even if you do nothing else, by all means be sure your Little One is included in your family discussions.
Package number two: “RAM Time” is the key ingredient in shaping your little one to expect and acquire a lifetime of success and happiness.
Be open, be real, and be the kind of parent your Little One deserves. And by all means, be yourself and enjoy it; after all, there is no one else exactly like you and you only live once – until
The end. (Now, for a