Teacher tips to set your child up for independence to begin kindergarten!

Sending your young child off to kindergarten can be an overwhelming experience. There’s a lot to prepare and some things you may not have even considered. Let us help! Educator Katie Stadler held a webinar sharing insider tips on things you can do to set your child up to be independent and happy as they begin their kindergarten journey. Watch her “Kindergarten Hacks 101” here. Short on time? Read them below!

Katie shares her five tips for a proactive approach to preparing for kindergarten, small and often overlooked things you can do now at home that will have a positive impact at school.

  • Shoes: No matter what kind of shoe your child wears (velcro, lace-up, hybrid, slip-on) as long as your child can be independent with putting on and taking off their shoes, it will make their day go much smoother. If a child is wearing a shoe that they cannot manage themselves, they can become frustrated because they want to be independent. Take the time now to be sure they can tie and re-tie or slip on and slip off all on their own. Your child (and their teacher) will thank you!
  • Lunch: Many popular food items sent to school with your child are difficult for them to open on their own. Think Lunchables, Capri-Suns, etc. Practice at home when your child is not hungry to have them open their favorite lunch items so when hunger strikes at school, they aren’t upset and frustrated because they need help. *Pro-tip: You can make a small cut on certain items (like granola bar packaging) to make it easier for your child to open the package at school. 
  • Reading: We have all heard that reading to your child is one of the best things you can do, which is true, but I want to share a more focused idea on what to read to them. Build phonological awareness by reading A, B, C books – but not just any A, B, C book but a GOOD one. So what makes a good one? Flip to the “Q,” “X,” “Z,” and “G” and see what they have for those letters. If it’s an “x-ray” for “X”…that’s too easy! “Zebra” for “Z”? Too common! Find books that have unusual or less obvious words for these letters. And when looking at the “G” I think that “Goat” is a better example than a “Giraffe” because of the sound it begins with, which can be confusing for some kids. “Giraffe” sounds like it starts with a “J” instead of a “G.” 
  • Whatever you are excited about, they will be excited about! If you want your child to be excited about something, you just need to sell it and be subtle. And if you are worried that they lack excitement about something or when you ask your child how their day went and they respond with a one-word answer like, “Good” or “Fine,” know that they are likely talking about you most of the day in class–sharing what you love and how excited they are about it, too.
  • Make your teachers part of your village: We want to be a part of your village and do whatever we can to help you. Oftentimes teachers help your child do things that parents can’t and we are eager to help! Don’t be afraid to use us as a valuable resource.

Want to learn more about kindergarten at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School? Katie shares some highlights of the program-–watch here! 

Following the recent “Kindergarten Hacks 101” webinar, Katie and SSSAS Lower School Admission Director Katherine Carbo answered parent questions related to kindergarten. Watch the Q&A here.