By TMoM Team Member Dennette Bailey
We are deep into the 3rd quarter of school now. This means that, at about this time, some parents are discovering that kindergarten is not going as well as they thought it was. It is unfortunate, but it is during this time of the school year that the real nitty gritty of what is being taught in kindergarten occurs and if your child struggled at all during the beginning of the school year without making significant improvements, then you and your child might be experiencing anxiety now.
So what can you do? Some parents may have to decide if their child’s maturity level has not kept up with the kindergarten level expectations and that may mean having their kindergartener repeat the grade. Others may come to the realization that their child simply needs more help grasping the concepts taught in kindergarten.
Whether making a decision to repeat the grade, or double down on studying, there are some major things that parents should consider during this time and these include:
~ Be mindful that today’s kindergarten is not he kindergarten of 20 or even 10 years ago. There are at least 19 other children in the public school classroom besides your own. This means your child gets very little, if any, one-on-one time with the actual teacher. For this reason, you may want to consider getting your kindergartner a tutor. Thirty to sixty minutes 5 days a week can help your child significantly.
~ If your child is displaying any learning disabilities, or if the school is suggesting your child receive extended services, consider accepting these services without concern that your child is being labeled. In many instances when your child receives these services they are getting free one-on-one help that you might otherwise have to pay for. Students receiving such services have constant reviews and can be removed from these services if the parent and teacher determine they are no longer needed.
~ Commit to doubling down on helping your youngster. For example, your child should know at least 120 sight words and be able to read at the end of kindergarten. You must practice with your child and make that practice relevant so that your child will know the material and be able to demonstrate to an assessor that they know them.
~ If your child is displaying behavior issues that cause you to constantly be called to the school, ask for or research counseling services and or an alternate behavior plan than what is presently used in the classroom. Also, do what you can at home to help your child adjust to kindergarten by keeping routines such as consistent bedtimes, little-to-no television and screen time, and avoiding sugar in the child’s diet.
~ Stay in communication with your child’s teacher. If your child is having issues in school, it is very important to document the issues and review how each issue is handled. What does communication mean? It means that if you do not know how to help your child then you should have a formal meeting with the administration and your child’s teacher and expressly state that you need help and or that you do not know how to help your child. Sometimes teachers may assume that simply giving you a progress report makes problems clear. However, you may need the teacher to specifically say your child only knows 10 sight words but they should know 120 by the end of the year. Being proactive can help the entire family avoid feeling like they are constantly behind because they are always practicing material that was supposed to be learned last month as opposed to what the student should be currently working on.
~ Finally try not to stress yourself or your child. If you realize that tutoring your own child yourself brings stress, bite the bullet and pay an expert. The TMOM website has a list of tutors and there is certainly someone on that list who can help you.
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Your article demonstrates the advantages of living in many other first world countries where reading is not taught until age 7 and kids are developmentally ready. I am saddened to hear your suggestions of more homework or psych counseling for 5 and 6 year olds who should be playing/learning outside.
As a teacher of Kindergarten, this is a great list! Thanks, TMOM!