Reading to children before they enter prekindergarten can them give a leg up in the classroom, according to a Columbia County educator.
“The best thing that you can do to prepare your child for school is to read to them,” said Columbia County school system Director of Elementary Learning Michele Sherman. “Vocabulary is a huge indicator of success in school.”
It’s important, Sherman said, for parents to carry on conversations with their young children, which will help them learn communication skills.
Though some pupils arrive at school already familiar with their letters or colors, Sherman said the pre-K curriculum is also designed to meet the needs of others who are not.
“Parents don’t need to panic if their children haven’t learned some of the skills, because we are going to teach them,” she said. “There are no prerequisites for pre-K or kindergarten.”
There are other ways for parents to help prepare their children for the first time in a classroom, Sherman said.
They can teach their children self-help skills, such as buttoning clothing and tying shoes, she said.
A major adjustment that many pupils face when they start school is dealing with a seven-hour day away from home.
Before school starts, Sherman recommends that parents develop a bedtime routine to ensure a full night of sleep.
By the time school does begin, it’s often adults who have the hardest time adjusting, said Sherman, who encourages parents to keep their goodbyes brief on the first day.
“The longer they stay in the classroom, the harder it is for that child to let go,” she said.
For those still feeling apprehensive about the process, Sherman suggests they take their child for a tour of the school before classes start to make the transition easier.
“School is fun,” she said. “It’s a fun place to be.
“(Children) don’t know that on the first day of school, but within 10 minutes they learn that.”
For more information, visit the school system’s Web site at www.ccboe.net.