Preparing Your Child

Child playing with blocks

You are your child’s first and most important teacher. You set the foundation for the formal education soon to come and we know you want your child to get off to a great start. There are many things you can do now to prepare your child to enter kindergarten with a sense of self-reliance, confidence and an enthusiasm for learning.

Getting School Ready

The Getting School Ready!® booklet is a free guide for parents, families and caregivers to help prepare children for kindergarten. Download the Getting School Ready  brochure in the following languages: Cambodian, ChineseEnglish, Korean, RussianSpanish, or Vietnamese.

What you can do now to help your child:

READ! READ! READ! Reading and telling stories to your child are invaluable. Read with enthusiasm and delight. Talk about the pictures and the characters with your child. Enjoy new stories and re-read old favorites. The public library has a wealth of wonderful picture books and knowledgeable children’s librarians to help you choose.

Engage your child in conversation. Chat about the things you see and do. Ask “thinking” questions that require more than one or two words to answer. Ask your child’s opinions and share yours. 

Help your child learn self-help skills including using the bathroom properly, washing hands, managing buttons and zippers, putting on coats, opening snack packages and recognizing his or her name in print. 

Monitor screen time. Select a good balance of educational and recreational television programs, videos and computer or video games.

Set age-appropriate rules and expectations at home. Help your child learn and follow them. Foster independence and responsibility by giving your child appropriate chores or tasks. 

Offer opportunities to practice sharing and taking turns through group interactions with peers. Story hour at the library, playtime at the park, co-op, preschool or church groups are a few ideas.

Provide materials similar to those in school – books, paper, pencils, scissors, clay, paint, chalk, tape, staplers, markers, crayons, etc. 

Make sure your child has time outdoors everyday for fresh air, exercise and just plain fun.

Give your child plenty of experiences. For example, visit the zoo, a fire station, an aquarium, a farm and building sites. Explore parks, woods, streams and beaches. Explain and talk about what you see. Make comparisons, predictions, and draw conclusions. Check out books from the library to learn more.

What you can do as school approaches:

Establish routines that will make the transition from summer to school schedules easier including bedtime and eating a healthy breakfast.

Set the stage for success by speaking positively and confidently about school and teachers to your child. Attend an open house to meet the teacher and visit the classroom if the opportunity is available. Take advantage of that opportunity to show your child how sure you are that school is a wonderful place with kind people and lots of learning adventures in store! 

What you can do after Kindergarten begins:

Read books about starting school such as "Look out, Kindergarten, Here I Come" by Nancy Carlson; "Will I Have a Friend?" by Miriam Cohen; or "If You Take a Mouse to School", by Laura Numeroff.

Plan play dates with new classmates.

Establish a quiet study time in the afternoon or evening; the child may draw, look at books, or listen to stories. This will help you establish good study habits that will help him be successful throughout his school career.