Parents who want their children to enjoy kindergarten should
help them to develop into active learners who enjoy themselves
and the world around them. This is accomplished by parents who
have been actively involved with their children and who have
provided experiences for them to develop at their own pace.
I stress the work active because many of the things that
children do now are passive. Children who spend a great deal of
time watching TV tend to become passive learners. Young children
need to use their bodies in active play. Parents who squander
the time they have with their children doing pencil and paper
tasks like the workbooks they have in school are not being
helpful to children. Mainly because if they are doing that they
do not have time to do more enjoyable and eventually more
Dr. Jack Cassidy who writes the “Gifted Child” newsletter
put it well when he said: Teaching the preschool youngster to
read should not by a prime objective of any parent. Introducing
the child to a broad range of experiences–talking to the child
in simple, but adult language and reading to him–are all more
valuable activities. In research he did with preschool gifted
children, Dr. Cassidey found that 80% of them did not learn to
read before entering kindergarten. Furthermore, those 80% were
no less gifted than the 20% who did learn to read. Learning to
read should not be considered a prerequisite in being classified
as gifted, nor should it even be considered a general
characteristic of preschool gifted children.
What can a parent do to help a child get ready for
kindergarten? I would make the following suggestions: Read to
them. In addition to nursery rhymes, read other poetry.
Develop skills in classifying by having your child put away the
groceries for you. Put all of the cans in the closet and all of
the boxes on the shelf. Help with sorting the laundry by
matching the socks. Teach color by having him put on his red
shirt and socks to match. He can learn number concepts by
helping with the baking. He can count a dozen eggs. Record his
height and weight. Have him set the table and count how many
utensils he will need. Play card games and put puzzles together.
Use a calendar to record events for the month. Ask him to recall
the events of the day in order if possible. Developing of motor
skills is particularly important because children are not using
their bodies as much as they should. They should be running,
jumping and throwing. They can be taught to skip, ride a bide,
jump rope and, in general, be active and have fun.
Children who have learned to use their bodies and are in
tune and aware of the world about them, learn easily and well
when presented with new information. Parents who attempt to
teach children to read before attending school may do a
disservice to their children mainly because it can be a stressful
and unrewarding experience. Reading as well as learning to read
should be perceived as enjoyable activities.