I was recently surprised to find that even though my boys were just 2 1/2 years old, they may already be way behind in getting prepared for kindergarten.
Did you know that popular learning centers, like Sylvan, Kaplan, and Kumon, offer tutoring for toddlers and preschool age children?
So while many parents are simply concerned about potty training and picky eaters, others already have their toddlers in school learning colors, letters, and how to count.
You may think that these parents are pushing their kids into becoming little overachievers, but consider that kindergarten has become much more demanding in recent years. Most children are now learning to read in kindergarten, instead of just coloring, playing with blocks, and learning some letters and numbers.
If you are interested in doing some prep work during your child's toddler and preschool years, it can be helpful to contact your local school district and find out what they expect from children entering kindergarten. You can then work on those issues that your child seems to be having problems with.
You likely don't need to worry if your child can't count to 20 or doesn't know all of the letters of the alphabet before starting kindergarten though. One survey of kindergarten teachers found that they believed that it was much more important that kids entering kindergarten were able to 'communicate needs, wants, and thoughts verbally' and were 'enthusiastic and curious in approaching new activities.'
Preparing Your Child For School
In addition to tutoring or preschool classes, if you choose to go that route, to get your todder and preschooler ready for school, it can be helpful to:
- read to your child everyday, and encourage her to ask questions about the story you are reading
- visit museums, libraries, parks, zoos, and other places that your child can learn more about the world
- look up new words in a children's dictionary
- provide your child with age appropriate books for him to look at and 'read' to himself
- limit TV
- encourage your child to ask lots of questions about things
- make learning fun and avoid making your child sit down and memorize words and fill out worksheets