Next year will be a big year in our house. It is exciting, and yet I try not to think about it much because it makes me wistful. In a few short months my baby will be off to Kindergarten!
Clearly K has mixed feelings on the subject too. Every time she sees a school bus she insists that she does not want to ride the school bus next year, but on the other hand she regularly tells me how she can’t wait to learn how to read and be a big kid like some of her neighborhood pals. She is very excited about the idea of learning to read, in fact “reading books” (books that she can read by herself) were on her short list for Santa this year.
To continue to foster K’s love for learning, and help her achieve that goal of reading. I have been stocking up on workbooks and flash cards for a while now. Because she is so excited they made excellent stocking stuffers, and I have more set aside for her Easter basket. (Moms you would be surprised how excited my four year old was about workbooks, try it!)
The best part about workbooks at this age is that they seem like a game. Drawing, tracing, matching and coloring — they are all fundamentals that will help build the skills she needs to be a reader. After talking to a friend who is a former teacher, I was particularly excited to find the Mead workbook Shape Builders. She told me learning to draw simple lines and circles is a building block for letter writing, and this workbook teaches kids with lines and circles to draw simple pictures like a house or face. Another example of learning disguised as play — K was thrilled to learn how to draw an ice cream cone.
In addition to workbooks, we also love using the Mead dry erase board. This year, K helped me write all of her Thank You notes. In year’s past she drew pictures that I included with notes I wrote, but this year I wrote simple notes on a dry erase board and let her copy them onto her own thank you notes. “To Mimi + Papa Jack Thank You.” Over and over I wrote notes on her board, and she copied them onto cards.
In the fall, we worked in her books sporadically, but with the return to school (the homestretch before the big K) one of my goals is to do a little in her book each day — like homework. Not only will this help build skills, but I hope it will also soften the blow when she actually has homework next year. To celebrate going back to school (today), I decided to surprise K with the Mead Preschool Workbook. With 320 pages of colors, shapes, patterns, pre-writing skills and beginning writing skill building I think the book will keep us busy for a while! Some pages look simple enough for her to figure out and do on her own, while others will be a great opportunity for her to learn something new.
There is a lot to learn, but with her excitement and the right tools (plus an awesome preschool teacher) K is well on her way to being ready for Kindergarten. Will I be ready?
Samples provided, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Trisha W. says
If she can identify upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet, count to 20, knows her basic shapes, how to spell her name and say her phone number and address she is MORE than prepared for her first day of K.
If she’s interested in computer activities, my kids loved Reader Rabbit and Jump Start software. It was fun and educational. If you have an iPad (I don’t.) there’s a great handwriting app available from Handwriting Without Tears. By being involved in your child’s early education, you are already making a difference. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Kindergarten is usually harder on first time parents than on the child. =)
P.S. With my sixth pre-schooler I have been using ABCMouse.com for a few months. My soon to be 5 y.o. seems to enjoy it.
Thanks so much Trisha – We are still working on the phone number/address (she seems to have a mental block on those), but she can do all of those other things. Yeay! I’m not worried about her (other then being sad that my baby is growing up – I KNOW it will be harder on me!). I just figure while I can capitalize on her being excited, I will! 🙂 You should have seen how excited she was to come home to a new workbook. Love it!
I will totally check out all of those apps/software. She loves the computer/iPad, so that would be another great place to let her learn/play. Thanks!