Starting Kindergarten is a big milestone. Most parents will have some combination of anticipation and dread, anxiety and excitement. It can be an emotional time for kids and their parents. We wanted to provide a bit of advice and some tips to help you approach your first day and weeks at STEM K-8 with more excitement and less anxiety. One of our Kindergarten teachers Ms. Ciocca, our Principal Ben Ostrom or “Mr. O” and some of our PTA members have provided the advice below.
If there were one thing you would suggest parents tell their new student about their first day of Kindergarten, what would it be?
- Let your student know that parents/family will come back at the end of the day and the family will be reunited. Make sure they know how they will get home at the end of day and how they will get back together with family. It seems obvious, but often, new students worry about when and how they will see their family again.
- Sometimes giving them a challenge can be helpful (e.g. see if you can meet someone who’s name starts with the letter B)
- For any students who may have separation anxiety, having a family photo inside the child’s backpack that they can look at if they need to. Please do not send toys to school!
- Above all reassure them that it’s going to be ok. All the adults at school are there to help take care of them.
What will new students experience in their first days of Kindergarten?
Kindergarten teacher Ms. Ciocca provided this summary of the first days in her classroom,
“The first days of kindergarten are all about setting up our classroom community. We will be learning one another’s names, where things are in the school and the different routines and procedures that we have in school (how to line up, how to sit at the rug, what to do at the end of recess, etc.) We will be singing songs, playing games, and doing awesome brain breaks! We will also start learning right away with math, reading, and writing. Everyday will be an adventure!”
Is there anything parents can do to prepare their child for the first weeks of school?
- Practice writing your name, practice independence (tying shoes, buckling belts, zipping jackets, putting on backpacks, etc.),
- Practice letter names and sounds, and counting.
- Discuss putting things away when you are finished and practice at home.
- Practice following 1 and 2 step directions.
- Talk about how your child will be getting home from school each day.
- Start practicing morning routines to get ready for school.
- Read some first day of school books (“The Kissing Hand”, and “The Night Before Kindergarten” are a couple of goodies!)
- Have a couple trial runs with new backpacks and lunch boxes. If your child has not spent much time eating lunch independently have some lunches where they open their own containers and put everything away in their lunchbox. This will help them with in the lunchroom.
Know that kindergarten is exhausting.
Since kindergarten is typically a child’s first full-day school experience, parents should be prepared for their kids to be exhausted after school, at least for the first few weeks. Those first few days are long and stressful. Don’t plan a lot of after school activities in the first couple months of school.
Other ways to help your little one recover from the long school day include setting a regular bedtime routine and bedtime and working on a morning routine that allows kids as much sleep as possible.
It’s okay for you to be emotional.
Sending your baby off to kindergarten is a bittersweet event, and it’s normal for there to be tears from both you and your child. Even parents who have had multiple kids start Kindergarten find it an emotional time. It’s a big change for one of your kids to leave home for most of the day! Letting go is hard, and kindergarten is one of the hardest times. The PTA will sponsor a coffee on the first day of school in the lunchroom. Come and meet and talk to other parents who are feeling the same way.
Parents may bring their child to the classroom on the first day of school but they must give three hugs and three kisses at the door. Having parents enter the classroom on the first day of school makes it very challenging for Ms. Mebane and Ms. Ciocca to get the students settled and get the day started. If parents feel like their child will have a hard time saying goodbye then they may want try saying goodbye at the outside pickup line and our teachers will hold any hands that need to be held.
Upcoming Events and Reminders
**COMPLETE THE KINDERGARTEN SURVEY if you haven’t already and send it in ASAP!**
Come to our Kindergarten Play dates:
August 20 and 27, 4:30 – 5:30pm
STEM K-8 Playground
Come to the kindergarten open house! Our K teachers Whitney Mebane and Alicia Ciocca want to meet as many faces as they can and allow the students to see the classroom and meet each other before the big first day.
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