Kindergarten is no longer the time when children learn their alphabet and how to write their name. Kindergarteners are expected, according to state standards, to know basic skills before entering Kindergarten. This means that more than half of preschoolers entering Kindergarten are not prepared for the concepts they are learning. If you want your preschooler to be ready for Kindergarten, here are 10 things to teach your preschooler!
#1 Show them How to Hold a Pencil
Holding a pencil correctly is the basis for all writing. Your children will learn how to write letters, numbers, and words in Kindergarten, but they must first be able to hold their pencil correctly. If your child has a hard time holding a pencil or crayon without their entire fist, consider getting pencil grippers
#2 Teach them to write their name.
Teaching them to write it isn’t enough, however. You need to teach them to write the first letter of their name as a capital letter and the rest lowercase. When you teach your kids how to write their name in all uppercase or lowercase, they must relearn this skill which puts them behind.
#3 Work on Knowing the Letters of the Alphabet
According to academic standards, children are expected to know 13 uppercase and 13 lowercase letters before they enter kindergarten. This means lessons and skills are made around the fact that all Kindergarteners know at least 13 upper and lowercase letters. Start working on helping your preschooler identify letters. Match uppercase and lowercase letters using file folder games, BINGO, or letter hopscotch.
#4 Practice Letter Sounds
Did you know that by the end of Kindergarten, your child will be able to read simple books? Reading no longer happens in 1st grade; it happens in kindergarten. This means your preschooler needs to know their letter sounds. Learning their letter sounds as they learn to identify their letters will help them blend words together and learn to read easily.
#5 Count Objects to 20
Teach your child to count objects. We like to count our grapes, carrot sticks, or other food items. The kids like to line up their cars and trucks and count them up. Your child needs to understand the concept behind a number such as 2 stands for 2 objects. Counting various objects will help prepare your preschooler to start adding and subtracting objects in Kindergarten.
#6 Count from 1 to 100
Although your child is only expected to count objects to 20 at the beginning of kindergarten, your child will need to be able to count all the way to 100. Make a weekly habit of counting from 1 to 100. Practice counting the days up to the hundredth day.
#7 Identify Numbers
Not only will your child need to be able to count, but they should be able to identify at least 10 numbers at the beginning of kindergarten. Some easy ways to learn numbers are to practice writing them with chalk, jumping from 1 number to the next in hopscotch, and giving your kids opportunities to push the right elevator number. When it comes to letter recognition, there are lots of ways to teach your preschooler where they don’t know their learning.
#8 Teach them Shapes
Kids usually pick up shapes easily because as we talk, we describe the items we are talking about. Teach your preschooler shapes through play. You can make a square house, a triangular piece of pizza, or a round circle cracker. As long as you are using description when talking about objects, your preschooler will easily pick up on shapes. Practice using shapes to make animals, food, or other creative pictures.
#9 Use Colors to Enhance Description
When going into kindergarten, your child will be expected to know all their colors. This includes: yellow, black, gray, pink, blue, green, purple, red, and white. They don’t need to know all of their color words, but they will learn the words throughout kindergarten so learning them early would be helpful. I like to hang color words like black on the refrigerator or brown on the door.
#10 Teach them Simple Sight Words
Sight words are challenging for kids because they have no rhyme or reason. They can’t sound them out. The earlier you teach your preschooler simple sight words, the easier it will be for them to learn to read. In kindergarten, they will be able to read before the end of the school year. Start teaching them sight words such as: a, the, dad, mom, as, it, he, and other 2-letter words.