All children can start school wherever they are at! Great teachers can teach children at any skill level, and The Vanguard School offers achievement-based grouping to ensure that all children receive an education based on their specific skill level, without feeling like they are too far behind or too far ahead.
However, there are some basic skills that you can teach your child now to ensure that they are as prepared as possible for their first day at school!
The following are some helpful skills to teach children before entering kindergarten:
- How to identify individual letters of the alphabet (most libraries and bookstores have books designed specifically for teaching children the alphabet).
- How to properly grip a pencil, marker, or crayon (with the index finger and thumb guiding the tip).
- How to spell their first name.
- How to count from one to ten (most libraries and bookstores also have children’s books that teach counting).
- How to use arts and crafts tools such as scissors, tape, glue, and paint.
- Organizational skills such as the ability to classify objects based on size and shape.
- The confidence to go to the bathroom on their own and clean up after themselves without needing help.
- The ability to get themselves dressed.
- The ability to follow directions.
- The ability to clean up after themselves.
- The ability to sit through a story and listen without interrupting.
- The ability to get along with other children.
- The ability to cooperate and share with others.
- Good table manners and proper eating habits.
- Feeling comfortable being away from parents for extended periods during the day.
Most children will not check off every item on this list on their first day of kindergarten, and that is okay! Don’t put too much pressure on your child or yourself trying to establish these skills before the first day.
How to Help Your Child Develop Skills
A little encouragement can go a long way! Set aside time with your child each day to teach them some of the skills mentioned above. Even if it is only 20 minutes per day, the time you invest in teaching your child these skills will set them up for success when they start school.
The main goal should be to teach your child autonomy — to wean them from feeling entirely dependent on you. For example, carrying their backpack, tying their shoes, and zipping up their jacket are valuable skills for your child to develop. As trivial as these skills might seem, having a sense of autonomy will serve your child well in kindergarten and set a great precedent for the future.
Helpful Routines to Establish
To build literacy and language skills, we encourage parents to establish a reading routine with their children. Decide on a scheduled reading time, and sit down with your child to read for 20 minutes at that time each day to build strong reading habits.
Reading time can be at bedtime or any other time of the day. The most important thing is that it becomes a part of your daily routine. This will ensure that your child gets regular practice and makes consistent progress.
To make reading a fun and exciting activity that your child looks forward to, we recommend letting them choose which book they would like to read! Allowing children to decide which book they want to read will make them feel like reading is their own voluntary choice, rather than a chore that is imposed upon them. As such, they tend to be more engaged and less resistant when reading time comes around.
Additionally, having a good bedtime routine is essential to your child getting a good night’s sleep so that they can feel rested and recharged the next day. By having a specific bedtime every night, your child’s circadian rhythms will adjust to their sleep schedule, and they will naturally feel sleepy when it comes time to go to bed.
We suggest following a predictable order of activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath, putting on pajamas, brushing and flossing teeth, and then reading a bedtime story. No matter what bedtime activities you choose, consistency is key, and your child will start to associate this routine with sleep, which will make it much easier when you put them to bed.
Enrollment Process at The Vanguard School
The Vanguard School is a tuition-free, highly-rated, and esteemed charter school serving grades K-12. If you are looking for a school where your child will prosper and be challenged to grow in an encouraging and supportive environment, The Vanguard School may be a great fit for you!