Many parents want to know how to help their child do well in Kindergarten. In Wisconsin, children are eligible for kindergarten based on their age and not on their skills. Instead of equipping children with specific academic skills before they arrive, most early childhood experts agree that parents can best prepare their child to learn in school by providing frequent opportunities to play, talk, experiment and wonder in a relaxed and supportive environment. Children grow and develop at different rates, but are born with a great capacity to learn. Following, are some useful resources to help parents build a strong foundation for school.
- Helping Your Preschool Child with activities for children from infancy through age 5.
- The Ready for School Checklist can help to guide you as you prepare your child for school.
- Brochure: "Wisconsin's Children Moving Forward, An Introduction to Child Outcomes"
- Today's Play . . . Tomorrow's Success! A chart which emphasizes the importance of play in early childhood as the best foundation for success in school.
- Getting School Ready http://www.gettingschoolready.org/parents-and-caregivers/gsr/English.pdf. A booklet that explains how parents can prepare children for school and how schools can get ready for children. From the Foundation for Early Learning.
- The Truth About Play In this article, the authors offer practical tips on how children learn through play and how parents can make the most of playtime: http://www.zerotothree.org/site/DocServer/The_Truth_About_Play.pdf?docID=9381
- The Wisdom of Play: Why Children At Play Are Their Own Best Teachers. Ten renowned early childhood educators explain why play is such an essential part of every child's emotional and physical well-being. (28 page booklet)
- Transition to Kindergarten Parent Guides http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Introduction_Entry/ A series of brief handouts for parents on what to expect and how to help children prepare for and make the transition to Kindergarten. From the Michigan Department of Education.
- General Tips for Preparing for Kindergarten http://www.education.com/topic/preparing-for-kindergarten/. Take the first steps to prepare your child for kindergarten using tips from experts and teachers.
- School Resources for Parents at http://school.familyeducation.com/ includes skill-building ideas for parents of children birth through high school. Check out the Help by Grade Level section for lots of age-appropriate suggestions about what to expect and how to help your child.
- This video for parents, created by a Rhinelander VISTA, emphasizes the importance of reading in a child's life.
- "Tips for Reading with Children" is a single sheet handout for families with young children. Published in 25 languages -- from Amharic to Urdu -- it offers helpful hints for parents to read with children and establish good reading habits. From the Minnesota Humanities Center: http://minnesotahumanities.org/resources/tips.
- Free and Low Cost Literacy Resources offers parents and educators a list of booklets and brochures focused on getting preschoolers ready to read that can be downloaded or ordered at little or no cost.
For Parents of Children with Special Needs
- Preparing for Kindergarten Begins the Year Before from The National Center for Learning Disabilities at http://www.ncld.org/at-school/general-topics/early-learning-aamp-literacy/preparing-for-kindergarten-begins-the-year-before talks about the need for parents to start early and help children learn new skills along the way.
- Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiative (WISPEI) at http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_hmparents. A free service to help parents, educators, and others find or create resources and build positive working relationships that promote learning for children with disabilities.
For English Language Learners
- Como ayudar a su hijo durante la edad preescolar (Helping your preschool child)
- Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
- Dane County Cooperative Extension-Family Living
- "On the Go" materials can be downloaded in Somali, Russian, Vietnamese, Spanish, and English. The 14 activities are designed to be used outside the home: in the car, while walking, during bus rides, etc. The activities encourage early language and literacy development from birth through preschool for children with disabilities as well as children who are developing typically: http://www.walearning.com/parent-tools/on-the-go/