Getting your child ready for Kindergarten

Families are every child's first teacher. Parents can help their child transition into kindergarten feeling happy, confident and safe. If you child's preschool years are coming to an end, you may be wondering IF you have instilled the skills needed for a successful kindergarten experience. Her are 7 skills most kindergarten teachers expect their new students to have.

1. Enthusiasm Toward Learning - Teachers look to see if kids appear eager to learn, explore and discover. Do they ask questions to gain a better understanding, do they take initiative and are they persistent when tasks are difficult.

2. Solid Oral-Language Skills - Research shows that one of the best predictors of later reading success is a well-developed oral vocabulary by kindergarten. As parents, we need to give our children a wide background of knowledge about their world and the words that go with it. Start this summer by taking your children to many new places and given them words and descriptions about what he or she is seeing. LIVE OUT LOUD!

3. The Ability to Listen - Parents are expected to be reading to their kids everyday. Through the use of children's literature, families are able to enrich and expand early developing language. In addition to enriching a child's vocabulary, reading daily to your child will foster comprehension, attention and listening skills which are vital to a successful kindergarten transition. The more animated you are when reading, the more fascinated your child will be. Promote critical thinking by asking questions like, "What do you think will happen?" or, "How would you feel if that happened to you?".

4. A Desire to be Independent - Some children arrive to kindergarten expecting their teacher to do everything for them. Encourage self-help skills this summer. For example, encourage your child to get their own coat and put it on and take it off themselves, work with them to follow simple two-step instructions, go to the bathroom and wash their hands independently, blow their nose and cover their mouth when they cough, eat neatly and pour into a cup, open a juice box and put the straw in.

5. The Ability to Play Well With Others - Fostering social skills are important as kids will need to share, compromise, take turns, and problem solve in kindergarten. By the time they reach kindergarten, children should be able to express their feelings in words and begin to understand that two people can use the same object/item at the same time.

6. Strong Fine-Motor Skills - Fine motor tasks are used everyday in kindergarten. Your child's hands must be strong enough for coloring, cutting, pasting, and holding a pencil. To hold a pencil the correct way, the small muscles in the palm and fingers must be developed. If you notice your child has a difficult time holding a pencil or cutting scissors, reach out to an Occupational Therapist for a consultation.

7. Basic Letter & Number Recognition - Most students entering kindergarten are expected to recognize most letters by sight and to be able to count to ten. Many letter and number lessons unfold naturally while you interact with your child throughout their day. For example, when playing with Legos sort them by color and shape, or, practice counting while pretend playing with play-do. Alphabet magnets for the frig are also a great way to build in some quick and effective practice opportunities!

If you suspect your child may be lagging behind in any of the above mentioned areas, call and schedule a complimentary screening with one of Burke Therapy's

Speech or Occupational Therapists today!

Thanks for reading and enjoy these beautiful days with your loved ones!

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