On the Road to Kindergarten: Preparing Your Kid for the Big Day

Metro Editorial
Posted

Kindergarten will be many children's first foray into school. Their experiences in kindergarten can set the scene for a lifetime of learning. To start laying the foundation for your child's entrance  into formal education, consider the following tips.

* Identify the school your child will attend. You can call your county school board or simply ask other parents in the area. Some communities assign schools, while others allow parents to choose their child's school. When determining which case applies to your community, inquire about bus service as well.

* Some schools have full-day kindergarten programs, while others offer half-day. This may be district-specified or the choice of the parent.

* Visit the school to find out about registration requirements. You'll likely have to fill out forms and provide proof of residence. The school also will inform you of any rules they have, including copies of health records, screenings or placement testing.

* A routine physical exam and a copy of immunization records will most likely be required. Visit your child's pediatrician to ensure that he or she is up-to-date with shots and receives a health check-up. Proof of dental visits may be required.

* If your child will be attending a private school, the school may have registration fees, supply fees, uniform requirements, and other expenses. It's important to find out about these costs ahead of time.

* Visit the school with your child ahead of time. Attend a kindergarten open house or school tour. This way kids can become familiar with the premises and won't be caught off guard the first day of school. A tour will provide an example of the school's layout and overall atmosphere.

* Make friends with parents whose children attend the school. Set up a play date so your child will see some familiar faces on the first day of school.

* Talk about attending school and make it seem like a positive experience. Let kids know school is something to look forward to. Some children get excited about kindergarten just because they get to ride the bus.

* Shop for a backpack and a lunch box early on so that your child will be excited for school. Enable him or her to choose supplies in the theme of choice.

* Find out which types of lessons your child will be learning and begin to practice some of them at home, including the alphabet, preliminary math and writing.

* Always use positive reinforcement and talk about school in an upbeat way. This increases the likelihood that kids will look at school in a positive light.

* Discuss fears and concerns about kindergarten with your child. This way you can work out situations before the first day of school starts.