What Does Your Child Really Need to Know Before Kindergarten in DC?

The year your child heads into kindergarten is a huge milestone.  Even if they’ve been in daycare or preschool for years, there’s just something about seeing your child standing there on their first day of school, almost tipping over from the weight of a backpack crammed full of school supplies, that tugs at a mother’s heartstrings.  You want your child to have the best possible start in their education, so you want to be sure that they’re starting kindergarten with everything they need to know.

There are plenty of lists out there that will tell you all the academic things your new kindergarten student needs to know.  They’ll talk about knowing how to write his or her name, and knowing colors, letters, and how to count.  They’ll talk about necessary social skills, and being able to take care of adjusting their own clothing after visiting the bathroom, and resolving conflict appropriately for a school setting.  All of those checklists are wonderful; but here are the things that your child really needs to know when they enter kindergarten:  

It’s okay to ask questions.  Whether that question is, “Teacher, may I go to the restroom?” or “I want to know more about that topic,” your child needs to know that it’s always all right to ask questions of these adults who are in charge of him or her throughout the school day.  In a Montessori setting, questions are encouraged as a vital part of the learning process.  They are the vehicle through which your child will shape the information coming into her fresh young mind and the instrument used to refine her approach to gathering that information.  Questions are necessary.  Encourage your child to ask them.

Learning is fun.  In a Montessori setting, children are encouraged to learn the way they assimilate information best.  They can move around, dig deeper into the subjects that matter most to them, and explore new things that they’ve never even thought about before.  If your child has older siblings who have been in school for a while, they may have unconsciously imparted an attitude that school is something that has to be done, but that it’s boring, or hard, or simply not fun.  It’s time for an attitude shift!  Learning can and should be fun.  It’s all about the approach.  Teach your child to approach learning with a mind open not only to what they’re being taught, but to enjoying it, as well.  

It’s okay to be tired.  After a long day at kindergarten, your child may be exhausted, especially at first.  Your child has been learning hard, playing hard, and experiencing lots of new things.  It will take time to adapt to that, and your child needs to be prepared ahead of time for those end of the day moments when they will want to snuggle up with mom or dad, read a familiar story, and not do anything more.  Talk ahead of time about what you’re going to do at the end of the school day, and remember that the first week or two of kindergarten probably isn’t the best time for elaborate after school trips (the time for those will come in due time)!

Looking for a Montessori education for your child?  Contact us to see if we might be the school for you.

- R. Rodriguez