How Can I Tell if My School is Ready?

 

Schools need to be ready for children, too.  “Ready schools” that help children can be successful have things in common that you can look for.

 

 

Ready schools make children and families feel safe and welcome.  Children learn best when they are comfortable.  Here are some ways schools can help your child feel at ease.

 

v     Someone – a teacher, an aide or other school staff – is there to welcome you and your child when you come to school.

 

v     Teachers kneel down when they talk to children so that they are on the child’s eye level.  They talk to your child-not just to you.

 

v     Parents are welcome to spent time at school.  The school offers places where you can feel comfortable, like a parent’s lounge, resource center or in the classroom.

 

v     The school is kept clean and attractive.

 

v     The school reflects the make-up of the community through the artwork and books it displays so that all the children can recognize something of their own home culture.

 

Your child learns best when they can use many materials in an active way.  Here are some things you should see in a kindergarten classroom:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers can help children adjust to school by learning about the programs where children are enrolled before they come to school, learning about each child and their family, communicating with parents about what to expect once school starts, and inviting parents to visit the school on a regular basis.

 

 

 

What is a Learning Center?

 

Good early childhood classrooms are usually set up so that there are areas in the room for

different activities.  Children should be able to choose an area and select and use materials

on their own.  There should be a variety of materials in each area that children can choose from.  Each area should be clearly separated from other areas, and quiet areas should be separated from active ones.  It is a good sign to see children interested in activities in learning centers.

 

Here are some common learning centers:

  • A book or reading center
  • A block center
  • An art center
  • A dramatic play center
  • A science for discovery center
  • A table games or puzzle center
  • A music or listening center
  • A writing center
  • A math center
 

Transitions

Transitions are changes.  Your child’s experience as the move from preschool or home to kindergarten is an important transition.  A smooth transition to kindergarten can help make sure your child is successful in school.  Here are some things you can do to help make sure your child experiences a good transition.

 

q       Talk with your child about the change and the new school.

o         Tell them they are growing up and that you are proud of them.

o         Say positive thing about this new experience.

o         Make sure they know how it will be different from their old one.

o         Tell stories about what school is like.

q       Let your child talk about their questions or fears.  Tell them that everyone has questions when they make a change.

q       Practice some of the skills and routines they will need when school begins.  This will help them to be comfortable with a new environment.

o         Talk with your child’s teacher to find out what routines are like in the kindergarten classroom.

o         Role-play routines like eating in the lunchroom and managing their belongings.

o         Practice habits like packing lunches, laying out clothes and putting materials in one place so they will be easy to find.

q       Read books about starting school.