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OTHER ITA SITES:
Are You Failing Your Child?
Now that Noah is a month into kindergarten I am happy to report that he loves it and is thriving. Every morning he pops out of bed eager and ready to go to school. On the weekends he actually misses school although he does enjoy the opportunity to sleep in. When I drop him off in the morning he quickly switches into school mode. When I pick him up at the end of the school day he is excited to share all his news of the day including what he learned, what happened in class and on the playground, and what he did with his friends. He loves all his teachers and has made many new friends.
As I spend time in my son's school and observe his peers I am sad to see a large group of youngsters who are not enjoying their school experience at all. While tears and panic are to be expected the first week of school it is sad to see the tears continue after children have had weeks to adjust to a new way of life. Some children get over their tears as the day progresses but others continue to cry through lunch and even throughout the day. My heart goes out to these little ones who were not emotionally prepared for school.
It is also troublesome to see how many children are not mentally prepared for school. There are many skills children should master before starting kindergarten that fall into these basic areas: cognitive skills, listening and sequencing, language skills, fine motor skills, social emotional skills, and gross motor skills. See my article about kindergarten readiness at http://preschoolerslearnmore.com/blog/?p=13 for more information.
Finally, the worst cases are the children who are not physically prepared for school. These children have not had enough sleep, not had enough food, and are not wearing suitable clothing. These children also are unable to take care of themselves in the most fundamental ways.
Parents must prepare their children for school emotionally, mentally, and physically or they are setting up their children for failure. Children who have not been prepared for the separation from home and family and children who have not been prepared for the school day structure will have difficulty adjusting emotionally to school and a negative experience can have long term effects on the child's academic success. Work to build your child's confidence and self esteem so he is better equipped to venture out into the world on his own. Most children successfully transition into kindergarten so it can be done and you should make it your goal for your child to start school with no tears.
Mental preparation for school is more than simply knowing letters, numbers, shapes and colors. It is also about being able to listen, observe, and remember. In addition to learning reading, writing and arithmetic, children are learning how to negotiate and survive a bureaucracy. Even kindergarten students will be expected to remember their teacher's name, their room number and location, their schedule, and various other administrative miscellanea (for example, a lunch code or bus number). The more a child can handle these details for herself the more confident she will be and the more comfortable with her school day. If she is familiar with the daily and weekly school schedule it simply increases her comfort level. It may seem overwhelming but most kindergarten students quickly master the essentials they need to negotiate the day. The more parents work to help and support children to master these skills the more the child will succeed.
Physical preparation for school is essential. Children who do not have enough sleep cannot learn effectively and also have difficulty negotiating in the social atmosphere of school as well as have discipline problems. Young, growing children need enough sleep to wake up rested and bright-eyed and ready to face the day. Children must also have proper nutrition to learn. They need enough of the right kind of food (a balanced diet) to keep their bodies healthy and growing. While fashion should not be a major factor in kindergarten, children should wear clothing suitable to the outdoor weather as well as the classroom activities they will engage in during the day. Kindergarten students are often involved in physical activities and should wear clothing suitable for running, dancing, and jumping as well as sitting on the floor or at a desk. Of course, children should also be clean and neat to help build their confidence and lessen distractions.
If you do not do your best to prepare your child emotionally, mentally and physically for school then you are failing your child and worse you are setting your child up for failure. While early success does not guarantee continued school success, early failure can haunt a child's academic record or worse set up a pattern of expectation and behavior that child will be doomed to repeat throughout his school life.
Do not fail your child. Take full advantage of your child's preschool years to prepare him for school and for life. Kindergarten will be here sooner than you think.
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