First, consider the goal of a good kindergarten program. Why do most children attend, even though it is not mandated in many states? Kindergarten provides your child with an opportunity to learn and practice the essential social, emotional, problem-solving, and study skills that he will use throughout his schooling.
- The development of self-esteem is one of the important goals of kindergarten. This is the process of helping your child feel good about who she is and confident in her ability to tackle the challenges of learning.
- Kindergarten teaches cooperation: the ability to work, learn, and get along with others. A year in kindergarten provides your child with the opportunity to learn patience, as well as the ability to take turns, share, and listen to others — all skills that he will use throughout his school years.
- Most children are naturally curious, but some do not know how to focus or use this curiosity. Kindergarten is a time for sparking and directing your child’s curiosity and natural love of learning.
What Does an Ideal Kindergarten Look Like?
Ask any number of educators and parents, and you will get many different descriptions of the ideal kindergarten, however there are certain basic agreements among educators as to what makes a good program. It should:
Expand your child’s ability to learn about (and from) the world, to organize information, and to solve problems. This increases his feelings of self-worth and confidence, his ability to work with others, and his interest in challenging tasks.
Provide a combination of formal (teacher-initiated) and informal (child-initiated) activities. Investigations and projects allow your child to work both on her own and in small groups.
Keep large group activities that require sitting and listening to a minimum. Instead, most activities feature play-based, hands-on learning in small groups. As the year progresses, large group activities become a bit longer in preparation for 1st grade.
Foster a love of books, reading, and writing. There are books, words, and kids’ own writing all over the classroom.
When looking at programs, keep these elements in mind — as well as the specific needs of your child and family. Not every program is perfect for every child. Some children thrive in a program with more direction, some with less. Talk to your child’s preschool teacher, visit a few schools, and talk to the principal or a kindergarten teacher before deciding.
Schedule an Educational Success Consultation today to visit with our principal, Adrienne Gurney, and discuss the opportunties available for your Kindergarten student at St. John's Waltz.