The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Preparation for Kindergarten

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

worthwhile activities.
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.



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