A new school year can be filled with excitement and anxiety.  Entering Kindergarten can be downright overwhelming!  Thankfully for you and your children, Wantagh’s Kindergarten teachers are some of the most caring and talented teachers in the district.  No matter which teacher your kinder has this year, they are sure to set a firm foundation on which the rest of your child’s education will be built.  

Whether you and your child are both new to Kindergarten, or you have had a child already successfully navigate their kinder years, here are a few helpful hints to make this year as successful as possible!

  1. Dress for success!  Your kinder is going to be active and learning all day long.  Sneakers or other comfy shoes are a must!  Also make sure that your child can dress and undress themselves for trips to the restroom.  Rompers are super cute but may be hard to navigate when nature calls!  Comfort over fashion is always the best bet.
  1. Pack food that your child can open independently.  Make sure that they can easily open that bag of Little Bites or chips.  If they have trouble, use a ziplock baggie or reusable container.  Opt for juice boxes over juice pouches which are tricky even for adults!  Messy snacks like yogurts should be avoided if possible.  Also, try to pack your child’s lunch for the first few weeks at school.  The cafeteria is a busy place.  Let your child settle into the lunchtime routine before they attempt purchasing food.  
  1. Speaking of food, separate bags are key!  Snack should always be packed in a separate bag from your child’s lunch.  You would be surprised how many kids will eat their entire lunch at snack time, and then have nothing left when lunch rolls around!
  1. Check your child’s backpack every night.  For some kinders, the act of packing and unpacking a backpack might be completely new to them.  Helping them empty their backpacks every night is very important. Check your child’s folder to see what they have been working on in class and what assignments need completing.  By helping your child with this nightly routine, you are staying on top of what is going on in school and teaching them an important skill that they will need for the next 14+ years!
  1. Establish a homework routine that works for you and your child.  Some children will come home from school and immediately want to get started on their homework.  Others will need a break after a long day in school.  Whatever your child needs can help guide you in setting up an after school routine.  It may be as simple as coming home, having a snack and 15 minutes of screen time, followed by working on homework with you.  Make sure you have a nice quiet place for you and your kinder to work and limit distractions.
  1. Create some independence.  Have your child take ownership over packing their things for the next day.  They will be packing and unpacking their backpack at school, so reinforcing this at home is a big help!
  1. Establish positive communication with your child’s teacher.  Wantagh teachers are excellent at keeping parents informed.  When an issue arrives, sending the teacher a quick email or reaching out by phone can go a long way to work as a team to benefit your child.
  1. Expect lots of invitations to visit your child’s class.  Kindergarten is a year of celebrations – the Halloween Parade, VIP Day,  and the End of the Year party are all big events when parents are invited to attend.  This can be hard on working parents, so if you know you cannot attend, reach out to a grandparent or other relative to attend in your place.  
  1. Read with your child everyday and review their site words.  Kindergarten is an amazing year of academic growth.  Students will need your help at home to support what they are learning in class.  Take some time everyday to have your child read to you, and review the site words that have been assigned.  This will go a long way in helping them become full fledged readers.

  2. Trust your child’s teachers (and only believe half of what you hear!).  Kinders will come home with lots of stories throughout the day.  Sometimes they will come home with tall tales from their day, and these stories are told from the perspective of a 5 or 6 year old who may look at things from a magnified perspective.  If something that they are telling you seems off, reach out to your child’s teacher and assume the best in them.  Sometimes they can clarify issues – for instance “My teacher was mean to me!” may simply be the case of a teacher asking your child to be more attentive, or redirecting some distracting behaviors.  Always speak positively about your child’s teacher in front of them.  You are all on the same team in this adventure called Kindergarten!

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