Our daughters are just finishing up their first year of Kindergarten and it seems like this year just whizzed by! I hear a lot of discussions from moms getting ready to send their little ones off to Kindergarten next year and I can definitely relate to what they are going through. It’s stressful to let go and send your child off to a new place. Not to mention that sometimes it can be hard on them, spending their days in a new place with new kids. It’s a difficult step, but at the same time, very rewarding. Children learn many important social skills in Kindergarten and they start to develop their own identity away from home. It’s kind of like they get their own little “life”. As a previous stay-at-home-mom, this was hard for me because I was used to knowing what my daughter did at all times throughout the entire day. I was picking her up from school asking her 30 different questions about how her day went because I wanted to know every single detail, and there are only so many questions a 5 year old will answer before they tell you to leave them alone.

 

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While learning how to interact with others and fine tuning their fine motor skills are big parts of Kindergarten, I was really surprised to find out how much academics are introduced at this level. When I was in Kindergarten (ages ago when the dinosaurs were around), school was all about playing, coloring, learning how to use scissors etc. Let me tell you that Kindergarten has changed! Not that I am complaining because I am very happy to see everything that my daughter is learning, but I wish I was better prepared knowing what to expect. For those of you who are about to embark on the Kindergarten train next year, here is what your kids will be expected to learn throughout their first year of school:

  • They start with letters, knowing how to identify them and the sounds they make.
  • Colors and shapes.
  • Once they’ve learned all their letters, they will start to learn how to write them.
  • They will need to know how to read sight words – English and French.
  • Then they move on to reading simple books in both English and French.
  • Towards the end, they will start to introduce them to math, simple addition equations.

For some kids, these concepts may come very easy, but for most, the parents need to be involved. Working on reinforcing what they are learning at school in the home is important. With parents being as busy as they have ever been, this can sometimes present a challenge, but there is ONE thing that you can do with your child everyday and it only takes as little as 15 minutes – read to them! Children learn so much from reading and as the year progresses, your child will be able to start reading along with you. With everything that my daughter is learning, I still find that reading is the most important thing that we can do with her at home. Not to mention that she loves it. What kid doesn’t love hearing an exciting story? It’s like they are doing homework, but it doesn’t feel like it.

So, if I could give any advice to parents that are sending their kids off to Kindergarten next year – it would be to read with your kids every single day. Get them interested in the words and try to encourage them to read along with you. By doing that one thing, they will be that much further ahead and it will really prepare them for what’s to come next year.

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