Giggle August September 2012 : Page 16

Many preschool parents worry about their child’s readiness for kindergarten. Is my child academically, socially and emotionally ready? What if my child isn’t prepared? Starting kindergarten is a huge step in a child’s developmental growth and as a parent you want to be there every step of the way. Different developmental skills are often used to assess the kindergarten readiness of a child. CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT Concept development refers to children understanding concepts as they interact and work with materials, people, events and ideas. At home, you can make sure your child is playing with developmentally and age-appropriate toys. Puzzles that focus on colors, shapes and critical thinking are great activities to do with your child. Also, always allow your child ample opportunities to talk and play. According to Kim Hughes, who serves on the governing board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “The more kids notice, the more curious they become.” NUMBER CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT It has been proven that the development of number concepts – classifying, ordering, counting, and time and space relationships – is directly related to children’s ability to perform mathematical tasks throughout their school years. When spending time with your child, play games where you count aloud. You can count apples at the grocery store, shop with pretend money in your playroom kitchen, or bake brownies together. Teach your child how to count at least to 10 and recognize numbers as well. LANGUAGE AND WRITING DEVELOPMENT Listening, speaking, reading and writing are tied to everything in school. As a parent, it is vital that every day you spend time talking WITH your child. It is easy to talk TO your child, but focus on talking with your child. Listen to his ideas and thoughts. Ask questions that require your child to answer in complete sentences, describing what you are discussing. Have your child write the letters of the alphabet and his name. Stores such as Learning Path, here in Gainesville, offer great tools to develop handwriting skills. Children look up to adults and watch every move, so write in front of your child. When you are drawing pictures together, label what you are drawing. Another fun activity is to have magnetic letters on the refrigerator so your child can practice making words. If your refrigerator isn’t magnetic, use a cookie sheet as an easy alternative. READING As a parent, you can help your child develop a love of reading. Make sure your child has access to books around the house. The local library is a wonderful resource to use here in Alachua County as well. When reading with your child, talk about the parts of the book, discuss the characters and setting, allow your child to ask questions as you are reading and answer her questions. After you are finished reading with your child, discuss the book further. Ask her if she liked the book, what would have made the story better, and what was her favorite part. By reading WITH your child and INTERACTING during the book, reading will become an enjoyable and rewarding experience. SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT/ PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT Your child will be around 15-20 other students in the classroom. Your child needs to understand how to take turns, share, ask for help, follow directions and play well with others. Take your child to play at the park with different objects, and when at home set up art projects using scissors, crayons, pencils and pens.  © 2012 iStockphoto LP . All rights reserved 16 giggle magazine

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