Ask Rainbow: How do I prepare my four-year-old for kindergarten?

By Roxeanne Marberl

Credit: Rainbow Kidschool

Credit: Rainbow Kidschool

How do I prepare my four-year-old for kindergarten?

Starting school in September can be a scary time for some children. As parents, we want to ensure we provide our children with the right tools to assist them with this transition.  

It can be tough for preschoolers, especially those at home with their families or caregivers, to go into a large classroom with teachers and a group of peers they don’t know.

One of the easiest ways to help with the transition is for your child to attend a preschool program close to the elementary school your child will attend. Often they meet others in the preschool program who will go to the same school. That will provide your child with a few friendly faces they will recognize on those first days of kindergarten.

A preschool program gives children their first introduction to a classroom setting with smaller group ratios: one adult to eight children. As well, your child will get into the routine of going to school on a regular basis without their parents/caregivers staying with them. Many preschool programs will offer flexibility and allow you to choose two, three or five days a week depending on your family’s needs.

Other important things you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten is to take him or her to drop-in playgroups or children’s programs at local libraries. These programs require parents/caregivers to remain with their children during the program. So, sit back and try to give your child the opportunity to explore and play on their own. This can help make separation in September easier.

Take advantage of any open houses your child’s new school may offer. Take your child to these. The more exposure they get to their new school, the more familiar they will be with it when they start in September. You can take walks to the school during the end of the school year and in the summer to let your child become familiar with the area.

Kindergarten programs are a full day for children. They will have to take a lunch. For many children, this is a new experience. Let your child take their lunch bag and have picnics in the back yard or at the park, where they can get used to opening and closing all the containers. This will help make them more comfortable during snacks and lunch times. Anything you do with your child will help them, even something as simple and fun as back to school shopping.

Send questions about your toddler’s development to the educators at Rainbow Kidschool. Rainbow (Carleton Preschool) has served as a community leader in child development and preschool since 1967. Rainbow also offers an after-school program for kindergarten and school-aged children. Submit your question via our Facebook page. For more information about us, visit www.rainbowkidschool.ca

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