So often parents “shop” for the perfect kindergarten for their child’s educational journey to begin. But are parents really stopping to consider the actual needs of their child before finding the “perfect” kindergarten?
Consider this as a checklist of opportunities when beginning the educational journey for your child, from what to look for when choosing the right school, to tapping into your child’s needs, and then taking it to the next level of how to prepare your child for the most successful Kindergarten in San Diego experience.
- CONSIDER THE WHOLE CHILD: Academics are important. Every teacher wants your child to succeed. There is no greater success than seeing the lightbulb go on for each and every student. However, academics are not the only focus for success. So often students are academically ready, but the social-emotional piece is a tad behind.
With so many different types of personalities, the necessity for students to be socially and emotionally connected to their friends is the secret to their success. You will want your child to be confident and relatable to their peers. A child is going to reflect upon themselves throughout their whole educational journey, which eventually leads them to the real world. This is why it is important to assess where your child is academically and socially, first and foremost.
For example, if an extra year of pre-kindergarten or transitional kindergarten is what your child really needs, this would be the greatest gift you can give to your child (if their entire being is not ready for kindergarten).
- CONSIDER YOUR CHILD’S PERSONAL NEEDS (Not Everyone Else’s): Remember, you are choosing a kindergarten and a school for your own child, not for your best friend’s child. This experience is about the least restrictive environment for your own child. Let this be present in your mind when you are shopping for a kindergarten and a school for your child. It’s about the needs of your child.
Is your child going to receive services that they need? Will they be challenged? Are they emotionally and socially compatible with the schedule and style of the school (arts, athletics, academics)? Your child is the focus of this process. You know what is best for your child. Go with your gut.
- SCHEDULE PLAY DATES AND GET INVOLVED: Once you have decided on a school, get your child involved. Find out if there is a buddy that your new school will pair with your child. Allow your child to have a few play dates. Not only will your child be more confident going into the first day of school, but you will be more comfortable knowing that they won’t be eating lunch alone. A little friend will be with them to help them along the way.
If your new school has summer programs, enroll them in a session. Your child will inevitably meet some new friends that attend the school and you will have the opportunity to meet their parents. There is no greater gift than fellowship with other parents and being included early on in the process.
- ENCOURAGE THE DESIRE FOR INDEPENDENCE: Does your child desire to take on independent tasks? More importantly, do you allow your child the space for independence? So often we see parents who want to do everything for their child, which actually takes away the independence their child is trying to create.
Parents, it’s OK to hand over a few reigns that will instill independence, self-confidence, and strengthen a lifelong habit of appropriate responsibility. Allow your child to carry their own backpack and lunchbox...then they will feel that they “own” part of their journey.
They will inhibit natural habits that will flow into their everyday life. They will still need you; just allow them the opportunity to recognize responsibility at home, as a reflection of what is expected independently from them at school every day.
- BE READY TO BE INVOLVED: There will be countless opportunities for you to be a part of your child’s new educational journey. Be ready. Events on campus and in the classroom will allow you to get involved. Embrace your child’s educational experience with your participation.
Education extends itself beyond the classroom and into the community. Schools’ existence is based on community; it is about a sense of belonging and being in an environment that is a safe place. Give your child the gift of an education that provides them with opportunities and memories that drive their desire to be in community with others.
Also, remember, your knowledge about what your child needs is the gage and use this as a guide to find the best program and community for your child.
Kindergarten is the year that children are given the opportunity to fall in love with school. Isn’t it amazing when people say, “He or she has been my best friend since kindergarten?” Who doesn’t want that experience and opportunity for their own child?