A little girl poses for a photo

Prepping for kindergarten

As I get everything ready for my daughter (Olivia)  to embark on her elementary school journey, I can’t help but wonder if I am equipping her with everything she needs to be successful. Even more so, post pandemic. I have been teaching for 8 years, yet have never been on the parent side of things until now.

Here are a few things I am doing to ensure Olivia is ready for kindergarten that might be useful for parents sending off their children to school for the first time ever or for the first time since the pandemic. 

  1. Lunch / Snack independence. Students get approximately 20 minutes to eat (this varies on the school) and every minute counts! Does your child know how to open the packaging of their snacks or lunches? This is the time to ensure they can do something as simple as open and place their straw in their juice box without help! Teachers are available to assist, however, if your child can do it, they don’t have to wait for help and can spend all of their time eating. 
  2. Bathroom procedures. This is one that requires some practice and a good place to do it is in a public restroom when you’re out and about! Ensure your child can close the stall on their own (and lock and unlock  it), wipe themselves, flush, and wash their hands using soap! The soap dispenser and hand dryers can be tricky to navigate, but the more exposure they get to doing it independently, the better they will get at it!
  3. Fastening shoes. Shoes with laces can look so cute on your 5-year-old. But, can they tie them independently? Again, this is a task that teachers are happy to assist with. However, it may be easier for your child to get shoes with velcro so that they can fasten them themselves. This independence can also boost their confidence.
  4. Label their supplies and make sure they know which are theirs. Teachers handle many school supplies the first days and it is difficult for them to remember what parents brought what. Simplify this process by labeling the supplies that are meant for individual use (water bottle, pencil box, etc.) and also ensure your child recognizes that it belongs to them! That way, they are able to speak up if a teacher can’t locate the label or know who an item belongs to. 
  5. Go over typical classroom routines. School is familiar to us, but we often forget that this is brand new to them! Especially if they have never been in a classroom setting before for pre-k. Kindergarten teachers are amazingly patient and will go over all of the procedures, but it doesn’t hurt to talk to your child about some basics. Let them know they can ask for help or the bathroom by raising their hand, that they need to share classroom supplies when the teacher instructs them to, and that they need to stay quiet and focused when the teacher is talking. These little pep talks will help your child feel much more ready and confident!   

What are some ways you’re prepping your child to start school?


About the author

headshot of woman smiling with brown hair wearing a green lace blouse.

Marissa Will is the mother of two toddlers, Olivia (4) and Logan (2). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past eight years teaching third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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