For most children starting school is the first of many educational milestones. At tuition-free Lakeside Charter Academy (LCA), Kindergarten begins an exciting, fun adventure in learning that continues here through middle school. This year LCA is expanding our Kindergarten program to three classrooms. Our newest Kindergarten teachers are Julie Kemp and Caroline McGee who are joining returning teacher Nicole Chesak. We’ve asked them for advice on how to get ready for the year ahead.
Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
Kindergarten is often where children make their first friend. Knowing that they won’t be alone but will be with lots of other kids can help to build anticipation rather than trepidation.
Sometimes children are nervous about starting Kindergarten. What can parents do to help them feel less anxious?
Ms. McGee: Tell your child about a time you also felt nervous before doing something and how you felt afterward to show them that in the end, all the scary feelings go away.
Ms. Cheslak: Explain how proud you are of them and that you cannot wait to hear all about their awesome day when you pick them up.
Ms. Kemp: Pick out a couple of books on self-confidence and/or starting Kindergarten and read them aloud every night. Two of my favorites are Kindergarten, Here I Come!, and the Little Spot of Feelings book set. These are good for reducing a child’s anxiety.
As the foundation for their education, Kindergarten provides the building blocks for physical, social, and emotional development along with the basics of language, literacy, thinking, and cognitive skills. There’s an emphasis on becoming independent and learning self-regulation.
What are some ways parents can prepare their child for Kindergarten?
Ms. Kemp: One thing that helps with the transition to kindergarten is to keep mornings calm and consistent. This helps establish routines and develop independence.
Ms. Cheslak: Work on independence -- opening and closing lunch containers and sandwich bags, using the restroom, putting on their jacket, and asking for help if they need it. You can also help by reading at home and practicing writing their name.
Ms. McGee: Focus on the letters and sounds in your child’s first name. It’s a great place to start to develop some basic language skills and won’t feel overwhelming for you or your child.
Preparing Mom and Dad for Kindergarten
Sending your child to school for the first time is a huge step for parents, too. You’ll experience some big feelings when you drop them off, but knowing they’re in a safe, nurturing environment with caring teachers should put your mind at ease.
When their child returns home from Kindergarten in the afternoon, how should parents talk to them about school?
Ms. McGee: Ask your child what made them happy during the day whether it’s school related or not. Once they’re in a talking mood, they’ll open up about other things, and that can lead to a school-related conversation.
Ms. Cheslak: It can be beneficial to encourage your child to show you something they have learned. They can sing a song, write some letters or numbers, or demonstrate something that they did in class.
Ms. Kemp: Sometimes talking about school is hard for children. They may not be able to articulate their feelings, so have them draw a picture of how their day went, or what their classroom looks like.
Kindergarten at Lakeside offers project-based learning that’s hands-on and collaborative like raising butterflies, designing and building marble tracks, doing science experiments, and creating animal habitats. Your child should have lots of things to tell you.
How can parents help and support you?
Ms. Cheslak: Parent support and participation are incredibly valuable. We want to be partners in guiding the students through their academic year. Open communication is extremely important. We love when parents want to get involved in helping plan things like class parties, but also in supporting and cheering your student on. It helps all of us when you practice the skills we’re working on at home.
Ms. McGee: Show your child how important school is when you’re at home. It not only supports their learning but shows them school is something you care about.
Ms. McGee, Ms. Cheslak, and Ms. Kemp are looking forward to welcoming Lakeside’s youngest students this fall. There is still time to enroll for a limited number of available spaces in this year’s class. Schedule a tour today to learn more about how your child can become a member of the Class of 2036 by joining our Kindergarten now.
Lakeside Charter Academy is a K-8 community-driven school where caring educators, parents, and local business leaders work to provide unparalleled education. Our approach is nurturing yet challenging, innovative while embracing proven traditions. We are committed to offering a safe, fun environment for children to reach their highest academic potential. Enroll your child today!