To the uninitiated, the opening days and weeks of kindergarten may not seem all that different from preschool or daycare -- playing, reading stories, running around outside, sitting in tiny chairs for fairly short periods of time ...
But even in those opening days, there's at least one dramatic and non-negotiable difference: Kindergarten teachers don't do diapers.
Your child must be potty trained before the first day of school. Accidents happen, of course, and there's no problem with that. But being able to take care of his or her own bathroom needs effectively and consistently is a necessity for any child starting kindergarten, so if your 4 or 5 year old is still having trouble with it, you may want to step your potty efforts up a notch.
Hopefully, this all sounds doable -- or, better yet, already done. If your child is lacking in any of these areas, though, that illustrious school career is in no way lost. You can work on the potty, the language, the sorting and the handful of numbers and letters in the months leading up to the start of school and make some remarkable progress.
You may be surprised to see how quickly your little baby can become a kindergartener.
For more information on kindergarten readiness and child development, including tools to help you teach at home, check out the links below.
Author's Note: 5 Things to Know on the First Day of Kindergarten
As a mom writing about kindergarten readiness and curriculum, I found myself constantly surprised in the course of my research. With a toddler at home, we have several years before we'll start school, and yet in gathering all of this information, I found that some kindergarten skills are ones my child already has -- and others are ones I can scarcely imagine her possessing. For me, this article reinforces the idea that every child really does develop at a different pace -- that whether he or she measures "ahead" or "behind" or "just right" seems more a matter for textbooks than for practice. As with almost everything else in parenting, the kindergarten experience varies from child to child and can be exciting, stressful and/or a huge surprise -- hopefully somewhat less the latter after reading this.
- Child Development Tracker: Mathematics. PBS Parents. (May 27, 2012) http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/mathematics.html
- Geiser, Traci. "10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills Your Child Needs." Education. (May 22, 2012) http://www.education.com/magazine/article/kindergarten-readiness-secrets/
- Gisler, Peggy and Marge Eberts. "Kindergarten Readiness Checklist." Family Education. (May 22, 2012) http://school.familyeducation.com/kindergarten/school-readiness/38491.html
- Kindergarten readiness: Is your child ready for school? Baby Center. (May 22, 2012) http://www.babycenter.com/0_kindergarten-readiness-is-your-child-ready-for-school_67232.bc
- Miller, Maria. "Kindergarten math curriculum." Home School Math. (May 27, 2012) http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/kindergarten.php
- National Vaccine Program Office: Immunization Laws. CDC. (May 22, 2012) http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/law.htm
- Prekindergarten. Subject Area Interactive Lesson Online. Pasadena Independent School District. (May 27, 2012) http://www.pasadenaisd.org/sailon/gradePK.htm
- What Does My Child's Stage of Development Have to do With His Readiness for School? Gesell Institute of Human Development (via Education.com). (May 22, 2012) http://www.education.com/reference/article/does-my-childs-stage-development-readiness/
In a study on academic integrity, 59 percent of high schoolers admitted to cheating. HowStuffWorks talks to experts about the cheating and its stigma.