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Ask A South Florida Expert: 5 Tips For Getting Your Child Ready For Kindergarten

August 12, 2016 8:00 AM

Children wave their hands at a private nursery school. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Going off to Kindergarten is a big step for a child; therefore, it’s important to be prepared for this milestone. Many parents often aren’t sure of what to do or where to look for resources on getting their child ready for Kindergarten. Marisol Diaz, of the Early Childhood Programs of Miami-Dade County Public Schools provides some advice on ways to get prepared for that big first official day of school. These five tips are sure to help put both parents and children of rising Kindergartners a little at ease.

Marisol Diaz

Early Childhood Programs, MDCPS
1450 N.E. 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33132
(
305) 995-7632
www.dadeschools.net

Marisol Diaz has worked for over 30 years with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She’s served in many positions including a teacher, curriculum specialist, elementary school principal and currently as the District Administrative Director of the Early Childhood Programs. Early Childhood Programs mission is “to provide curriculum leadership and instructional support that enables young children and their families to participate in high-quality, developmentally effective programs.” To learn more be sure to “like” them on Facebook.

Documentation

One thing many parents often are unaware of prior to having a school age child is there is quite a bit of paperwork involved, especially when first entering Kindergarten. Diaz shares, “parents will first want to make sure that their child is ready to start the first day of school by providing the appropriate registration documents along with the required immunization records prior to the first day of school.” These forms can often be obtained online at your school district’s website or by simply calling the school and requesting them. According to a recent Facebook post by Early Childhood Programs, The Miami-Dade County Department of Health even provides free vaccines for children which are essential to start Kindergarten. Click here to find a clinic.

School Visits

Unknown settings can be scary and stressful for young children. Diaz stresses one way to combat this is, “preparing your child for this important milestone by visiting the school together to get acquainted with the setting.” Most schools have an open house, which is a great time to conduct this visit to get to know the school as well as meet the teacher. If you want to visit prior to Open House most teachers, especially Kindergarten teachers, are more than willing to meet prior or an office staff member can also provide tours, but do contact the school or teacher in advance so they can be prepared and set aside time for the visit.

Setting Routines

One great way to get ready for Kindergarten is by establishing routines before your child starts that first day. According to Diaz some examples of this are “going to bed early and reading books about the first day of school”. There are many great first day of school books to choose from, but a popular one is “The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing. This is a fun and reassuring read for many little ones getting ready for Kindergarten.

Related: Ask A South Florida Expert: 5 School Lunches Kids Can Make Themselves

Building Listening Comprehension

School is a big adjustment in many ways but one of the biggest is having to not just learn but really absorb the information learned. A good way to combat this Diaz shares is by “reinforcing listening skills and providing your child with two-step directions to follow will help set them up for early school success.” Doing this will help kids learn to really pay attention to what they hear, which is a big steps toward comprehending.

Love Of Learning

If your child loves learning, it’s almost a guarantee they will be excited about school and enjoy going. Even before they start Kindergarten Diaz points out parents can help with this. For instance, “reading with your child helps instill the love of literacy.” Another way is to have them do activities that are fun like educational coloring page, so they will enjoy it but it also “provides an opportunity to develop fine motor skills”, according to Diaz.

Related: Ask An Expert: Overcoming First Day Of School Jitters

Suzy Fielders is a working mom of a spirited 9 year old daughter. She has an MA in Communication Studies and BA in Psychology and Communications. She works in marketing/public relations, is a freelance writer and is very involved in the Winston-Salem community and arts & films scene.

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