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Keep Preschoolers Cool about School

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Keep Preschoolers Cool about School

The first day of school is a momentous occasion for parent and
child. Excitement, tinged with uncertainty, fills the weeks
before September. Anxious mothers coax awkward five-year-old
fingers to tie shoelaces (or give up and buy sneakers with
Velcro), while proud fathers urge their children to write their
own names or recite the alphabet.

It used to be that children entering the school system were
expected to have mastered certain skills before arriving, but
times have changed, according to Marilyn Philbrick, a primary
education co-coordinator for a large, progressive school board.
“We recognize that children develop at different rates, and there
are no skills as such that we insist a child learn before
entering kindergarten. What we like to see is a child who has
confidence and a positive attitude.”

Still, starting school marks a child’s first step into the world
outside the family. There are changes and challenges to face.
It’s a rare parent or child who can “let go” without some pain.
To ease the transition from home or nursery school to
kindergarten, practice these strategies during summer:

• Talk about school. First-day jitters are common, but being
frightened may be more manageable if you encourage your child to
express his or her feelings.

• Read about school or help your child to “play school” with you
or with friends.

• Reinforce basic safety rules. Your child should be able to say
his or her name and address clearly. Try helping your child
memorize your home phone number, too; it may be easier if you
sing it together to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

• Encourage friendships with neighborhood children who are also
starting kindergarten. Knowing even one child who will be sharing
that first day can make a big difference.

• Tell your child to choose something from home to take to
school. A favorite small toy or family photo can help ease
homesickness.

• Take advantage of introductory days when you and your child can
meet the teacher and have an advance look at the kindergarten
classroom.

• Maintain a cheerful attitude towards school; chances are your
child will then feel cheerful about it, too.

A kindergarten program should provide a warm, caring and
fun-loving environment sensitive to individual differences, where
each child has an opportunity to advance at his or her own rate.
As children progress, they learn new things and meet new people.
Your encouragement can help them feel good about themselves and
their accomplishments; in years to come, this new-found
independence will bring its own rewards, not only in school, but
in the rest of the big wide world, as well.

About the Author

Jane Lake is a successful freelance writer and editor of the top-ranked craft site, http://www.allfreecrafts.com, where you will find photos and full instructions for hundreds of craft projects. She also edits and produces http://www.allfreeprintables.com, which features printable recipe cards, chore coupons, school lists, check lists
and paper toys.

 

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