How to make friends in kindergarten

Today, Sarah from How Wee Learn has joined me to bring you a few tips for helping children make friends in kindergarten. Sarah is a mom of three children and has been a kindergarten teacher for many years. Now let’s take a look at what Sarah has for us all today…

Making friends in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is an exciting time for many children and their parents. But with that excitement comes some challenges. One area of concern for many parents is fostering friendships for their Kindergarten child. Every parent wants to be sure their child has a friend in Kindergarten.

Building Friendships in Kindergarten

How can parents help foster friendships for their Kindergartener when they are not in the classroom themselves? Having taught Kindergarten for years, I have some suggestions.

  1. Model and teach how to be a friend

Hopefully, before your child starts Kindergarten, she has had some time to be with other children – whether that is in a preschool, a playgroup, or simply at local parks. If your Kindergarten child has not had much of this yet, there is no better time to start. Use any opportunity to model and teach what ‘Being a Good Friend’ looks like. Focus on sharing and caring – but be sure to have your wee one expect the same respect. In Kindergarten some children are so busy sharing that they never get a turn themselves. Remind your little one that she must stand up for herself too.

  1. Send friendly postcards

One year, a wise Mama made sweet postcards on the first day of school and asked that I hand them out to all of the children at the end of the day. The postcards said the name of the child, her parents, and her phone number and that she would love to get together at a park for a play sometime. This was a great ice breaker and the child received lots of play invitations.

Building Friendships in Kindergarten

  1. Have play dates outside of school

Since Kindergarten children are still so young, they still need help with friendship skills. Having play dates with friends outside of school gives parents the opportunity to continue building on social skills.

  1. Never hesitate to chat with the teacher

Most Kindergarten teachers put a lot of emphasis and focus on friendships and social skills. Most do lessons and specific teaching on what being a friend means and teachers try very hard to observe the children at play and address any issues as well as highlight positive behaviours. That being said, there are usually a lot of children in one Kindergarten classroom. There will be comments or issues that go unseen by the Teacher. Please never assume the Teacher knows of trouble your wee one is having. Children thrive in the classroom when parents are involved. A quick call to your child’s teacher is always welcomed.

Kindergarten is a time full of learning and adventure. It is quite the journey and having good friends makes that journey so much more fun!

About Sarah

Sarah from Three Wee Ones

I am a Mama to 3 wee ones and I have been a Kindergarten teacher for many years.  I now have the opportunity to stay home with my children and blog about How my Wee ones Learn at home.   I write daily about simple, creative, and fun play-based learning activities that are meant to support the natural curiosity and wonder wee ones have.  I love to connect and learn from other Mama’s and believe a supportive community (even an online one!) is what all Mamas and their wee ones need to learn, grow, and thrive.

A special thanks to Sarah for sharing with us today! Be sure to visit Sarah over at How We Learn!

Available on Amazon

The amazing journey of getting Ready for Kindergarten! : a book study and give-away

If you have been following my blog regularly, then most likely you know that I have written a brand new book which is titled Ready for Kindergarten! I received my own copy of the book in the mail just about a week ago and celebrated the grand opening of the first book with my family right there in the driveway (and yes, I wasn’t dressed up for the occasion)…

Ready for Kindergarten : Book Study and Give-Away

My grandson’s favorite page in the book is the back cover where he found a photo of me! To find out more details about my book, just click here!

Ready for Kindergarten : Book Study and Give-Away

Since getting my new book, I have had the fun experience of sharing my book on Indiana Fox Morning News but what I am most excited about is the chance to share my book with you…

Ready for Kindergarten : Book Study and Give-Away

Ready for Kindergarten! is a comprehensive, yet clear and easy-to-follow book for parents and teachers but I am a blogger who LOVES pictures! As a way to extend several (of the many) topics found throughout the book, my fellow bloggers are participating in a journey through Ready for Kindergarten! by expanding on and illustrating at least one topic of their choice through their own beautiful ideas and photos…

Ready for Kindergarten blogger book study

Blog Book Study Participants 

The following bloggers are participating in our blog book study. I will update each blog post with a current link as the posts go live during the month of August and September. To view the blog book study linky, click here!

August Participants

September Participants

Ready for Kindergarten

For parents, caregivers, and teachers, there is always that big question when a child is getting into the final years of his preschool experience.

Will my child be ready for Kindergarten?

Ready for Kindergarten by Deborah J. Stewart is a book that is designed to give you the tools and insight you need to help your child prepare for kindergarten. Ready for Kindergarten offers simple to follow guidance and tips on where to focus your energy, how to support the learning that naturally takes place, and how to make the most of your child’s pre-kindergarten year.

Inside the pages of this book you will discover…

  • The importance of Building Strength from Fingers to Toes and helpful tips making sure your child is developing the large motor and fine motor strength and control needed to be ready for kindergarten.
  • How to foster your child’s Confidence as You Go so that your child will enter kindergarten feeling secure in his ability to learn and make friends and be a good decision-maker along the way.
  • And finally, you will be guided through the things your child should know in the core content areas of academic learning and how to help your child master skills through natural, everyday, play experiences.

Did you know that your child needs to be “Back Pack Savvy?” As you read along, Ready for Kindergarten will give you the inside scoop on how to help your child be back pack savvy as well as other easy to overlook skills for helping your child prepare for kindergarten success!

Ready For Kindergarten by Deborah J. Stewart : Available on Amazon Now

 

Who will benefit from Ready for Kindergarten?

Parents of preschool and prekindergarten age children will find this book insightful and helpful whether it is to promote learning at home or to support and understand the types of learning taking place in the preschool or prekindergarten classroom.

Preschool and Prekindergarten Age Teachers will find this book to be a wonderful resource not only for themselves but to give as a gift for their parents or to add as a parent resource in the classroom.

Grandparents of preschool and prekindergarten age children will find this book to be a terrific gift to share with their grown children and as a valued resource for catching up on the current trends in kindergarten readiness.

Administrators of  Child Care Programs and Preschools will find this book to come in handy the next time a parent is asking that question “What else can I be doing to help my child prepare for kindergarten?”

Nannies and other Childcare Givers are often asked to provide additional support for helping young children prepare for kindergarten and this book will give new insight and tools to meet that call for action.

A sneak peak from inside the pages of Ready for Kindergarten

Here is a sneak peak at how this book is organized to help you in the process of helping your child get ready for kindergarten…

Ready for Kindergarten is  divided up into easy to find topics so that you can go back to any topic as needed. Along with each topic, you will find the following sections…

What Your Child Should Know: In this section, you will be given an overview of the developmental skills your child should have a good grasp of before heading off to kindergarten.

How You Can Help: In this section, I’ll give you tips and suggestions on how you can help your child master the developmental skills.

Review, Revise, Revisit: In this section, we’ll discuss simple ways you can figure out how your child is doing. As you review your child’s progress, you will want to revise your plans and activities to fit your child’s interests and abilities. Then revisit the activities to give your child additional opportunities to build new knowledge and to develop new skills.

 Ready for Kindergarten is available on Amazon for preorders at a special price!

Click on the book below to learn more about how to get your copy of my new book from Amazon.

A brand new book with a brand new look at getting ready for kindergarten! Preorder your copy today!

Ready for Kindergarten will be made available to the public in August!

Deborah

Helping your child get ready for full day kindergarten

I was recently asked by Indiana Fox News to stop by the studio and give just a few brief tips on how to prepare for Full Day Kindergarten.  Part of the reason for this is because here in Indiana, many part time public kindergarten classrooms have now been changed to full day and it has raised concern for many parents.  You can view the 31/2 minute news video at the bottom of this post…

Getting Ready 

Really, whether you are getting ready for full day or half day kindergarten, many of the tips would be similar but because we are focusing on full day, these would be a few of the most important readiness tips I can share…

 

Healthy Habits

Sleep

A good night’s sleep is very important for young children to be successful in school.  10 to 12 hours of sleep per night is the recommended time needed for young children.

After School Activities

Keep after school activities down to a minimum. After a long day at school, young children need time to relax and wind down from their day.

Eating Right

A healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch are very important. It is hard to concentrate on anything else when you get hungry. If you are packing your child’s lunch, choose foods that are filling and provide energy but at the same time can be eaten in a short amount of time.

Eating at the Table

If your child is used to eating away from the table, it is time to change that. Eating with the family at dinner time will give your child a good chance to talk with you about his or her day. You also will want your child in the habit of sitting at the table until he or she is finished with the meal.

Lunch time at school is often a short period of time and your child needs to be in the practice of eating a meal without getting up to run around during the meal time.

Fostering Independence

Dressing Self

Your child will be more confident if he or she can put on a jacket, pull up. zip or button pants, put on shoes, and other basic skills in dressing himself during the school day. Be sure to choose clothing that your child can be relaxed in, play in and take on or off (as needed) all by himself.

By the way – this does not include tying shoes. It is not unusual for kindergarteners to learn how to tie their shoes during their kindergarten school year.

Care of Belongings

Start early teaching your child how to put things away when finished playing with them at home.

Remind your child to put lids back on markers, crayons back in the box, and to close the lid on glue bottles or glue sticks.  Give your child opportunity to use these items and practice taking care of their school supplies at home so they will be prepared to take care of them at school.

Back Pack Talk

Help your child select a back pack that is large enough to fit full sized folders, books, and papers in but not so large that the child can’t carry it easily to and from school.

Sit down with your child every day after school and go through the back pack to see what is coming home and to talk about what might need to be coming home.

Remind your child to put take-home papers in the back pack.

Potty Talk

Make sure your child is wiping his own bottom after going potty.  As a general rule, Kindergarten teachers are not in the practice of wiping bottoms and it is in your child’s best interest to take care of his or her own hygiene while at school.

Make sure your child is also in the habit of washing hands after going potty as well.

Developmental Readiness

Emotional Readiness

If your child hasn’t spent much time away from you, heading off to a full day of Kindergarten is going to be a big step.

If possible, start smaller by taking your child to spend a fun day at trusted relatives or friends houses here and there so your child will be more confident and less anxious when you are leaving and while you are not there.

Social Readiness

Give your child lots of opportunities to spend time with other children his or her same age.

Don’t be in a big rush to interfere with every “normal childhood” conflict that arises. Your child needs plenty of practice developing his or her own skills in making new friends, getting along with others, working through disappointments and conflicts, cooperating, taking turns, and discovering how to be a good friend.

If your child is struggling to positively work through some of these social skills on his or her own, sit down at home and give some healthy tips and encouragement.

Physical Readiness

Give your child opportunities to develop both fine motor and large motor skills through play and creative experiences.

Give your child ample opportunity to develop fine motors skills through activities that include cutting, gluing, painting, drawing, folding, tearing, and other uses of those small motor skills.

Give your child ample opportunity to play outdoors, toss and catch a ball, run, march, jump, and other large motor development type activities.

Cognitive Readiness

Your child will be learning much throughout his or her kindergarten year but you can participate at home through some of the following ways…

–       Read, Read, Read: Reading with and to your child often will help your child as they begin their path to mastering literacy and language and more.

–       Decision-Making: Give your child ample opportunities that will foster his or her ability to make good decisions and choices. Sometimes a “not-so-good” decision under your watchful eye can lead to an opportunity to learn and make better decisions in the future.

–       Ask your child open ended questions. These are questions that promote critical thinking and require more than a yes or no answer or a one word response.

Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is having the ability to know when a certain behavior or action needs to be changed.

Help your child develop the skills to regulate or monitor or recognize when his or her own behavior and actions need to be stopped, changed, or toned down a bit.

For example, a child who can recognize when the play is getting too rough or the laughter is too loud and then can make good decisions to adjust that behavior or action will be on the path towards positive self-regulation.

Empathy

Encourage, model, and teach your child to care about other children and people as well as the things in their world like pets, plants, and the things that belong to others.

Developing a sense of empathy is an important part of early development and you want your child to have a sense of caring and concern so that he or she will grow up to value the well-being of others as well as self.

See the interview on Indiana Fox Morning News below…

Available on Amazon

Learn more about how to help your child get ready for kindergarten with this simple book of everyday ideas you can do at home.  It’s available on Kindle too!

 

 

By | July 24th, 2012|Categories: Professional Development|Tags: , |13 Comments

Fun with colorful bubble science in kindergarten

As I have mentioned many times before, I love all the ideas you can find on other blogs but there are times that I will read an idea but not really give it a chance. Sometimes, it isn’t that the children aren’t ready to try something new or different – the problem is that we as teachers aren’t always ready to try something new or different.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read about using vinegar and baking soda for simple science fun in preschool but I simply didn’t give it any thought. And then I came across this post by The Mother Huddle, and suddenly I can’t wait to give it a try!

Perhaps it was the way she set it up or explained it or added color that made it more appealing to me. Or perhaps I am growing as a teacher and realizing that I need to branch out of my comfort zone a little more. Or perhaps I knew that this was a perfect idea for this particular group of children. In any case – I just couldn’t wait to give it a try. It is so fun to be excited about what you are planning!

I didn’t do this exactly as described by Mother Huddle because I had too many children and not enough time but we did pretty close to the same way. I started by gathering clear plastic cups, spoons, vinegar, baking soda, food color, and water. I filled one cup with just a little bit of water and the rest of the cups I filled with just about 1/2 cup or less of vinegar. Next, I set out the spoons and put a few drops of food color in each one then covered them all with the baking soda. You can get more specific directions from Mother Huddle.

Then I demonstrated for the children what we were going to do. I asked the children to make a hypothesis about what they think will happen when I put the spoon into the cup.  We talked about what the word “hypothesis” means – one of our Kinders already knew the answer to all my questions!

The children were surprised to see that the water turned blue! I let the children smell the water and they noticed it really had no odor. Then I gave each of the children a cup of vinegar instead of water and asked them to smell their liquid. “Did it smell the same?” I asked. “No – they yelled – it’s gross!”

Each child took a spoon and mixed it in their liquid. Before they took their turn, they made a hypothesis about what they thought would happen to their powder and what color they thought it would be. They began to see that if they looked carefully, some of the color showed through on the spoons and they could use this as a clue for their hypothesis.

When the children stirred their spoons in their liquid, the bubbles were produced! OH BOY – did they love this!!  They didn’t know that was going to happen. We noticed that water did not have the same effect as the vinegar on the powder mixture.

Once everyone had a turn, we let them continue to add more baking soda “powder” to their colorful cups of vinegar and watch it bubble up again.

We continued until everyone had several turns and spoonfuls of powder to mix in – then I ran out of powder! I used up one full box of baking soda and 2 jars of vinegar…

Once we were out of baking soda – we talked about the cause and effect of the mixture. We had only one spill over because I put too many cups in one container and one of the cups spilled over the edge of the cup and the container – oops!

We also passed around the vinegar bottle to smell it.

It was a super fun day and experience for me and the children! Yes – this is a keeper to share again with another group of children soon!

By | January 26th, 2011|Categories: Cognitive Development, Science and Nature|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Q is for queen in kindergarten and big bottles of glue

I always enjoy visiting the kindergarten classes and seeing how much they can do. This week the children were working on the letter Q and part of their “work” was making their very own queens.

Before getting started on this type of activity, the teacher has already shared with the children what will be included in the process. She gives them some direction as to how to create their queen and where to find the tools and materials they need. From that point on, the children work at their own pace and with their own understanding of the process.

Although I loved watching the children as they created their queens, I think what fascinated me most was watching them as they carefully and purposely used these large bottles of glue.

I was so surprised to see how capable these kindergarten children were at managing their use of the glue. It was obvious they have been given ample opportunity and time to explore with glue bottles and develop their skills to manage the glue bottles effectively.

Their ability to draw their own pieces and cut them out was also exciting to see. This little boy worked on drawing his own crown. He looked over at the teacher’s example of a crown on the dry erase board. The teacher will often give the children a little tutorial on the more challenging pieces of the process before they begin.

Of course next is the challenging task of cutting the crown out. With all those angles, I wondered how well the child would do. But as you can see below – he was quite accomplished in his ability to manipulate the scissors.

This process had many parts to it which was part of the intended purpose. The goal was to not only allow children time to be creative but to also foster their ability to stay organized, to complete a task, to remember directions, and to continue the development of their fine motor skills. But if you ask the children what they were doing the answer was almost always the same – “We are making queens.”

Now back to the glue – this teacher didn’t just throw out the glue bottles and say go for it. She invested time through many different activities to teach her students how to manage the flow of glue.

I have seen many activities where children have glue running all over the place but this is part of the learning process too. I know glue is messy and it takes a little muscle to clean up but let me encourage you to offer up activities that help teach children about the flow of glue and in time and through much trial and error, they will begin to develop the skills they need to be successful big bottle glue handlers!

See the Glue Table in Teacher Tom’s blog!

By | September 26th, 2010|Categories: motor skills|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments