SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Help Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

Starting kindergarten does not have to be a stressful time for a child—or for parents. However, it will probably involve some big changes like going to a new facility, riding the bus for the first time, eating lunch in a big cafeteria, etc. How do you know if your child is prepared for the challenges that kindergarten may present?

Here are four easy ways to answer that question, and some simple activities to promote kindergarten readiness.

  • Make sure your child is well rested. Two weeks before your child starts school, put her to bed 5 minutes earlier each night, and get her up 5 minutes earlier each morning. By the time school starts, she’ll be on a good sleep schedule and rested for school.
  • Keep school supplies simple. All that is needed is an eight- or 16-count box of crayons, three sharpened pencils, one pair of scissors with blunt-ended blades, one eraser, and a small case or pouch to hold everything.
  • Help him easily separate from a parent or caregiver. A good guide to practice this is by reading The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, or Grover Goes to School, by Dan Elliott. Both should be available at your library.
  • Practice following directions. Play a two- or three-step “following directions” game. Start the game simply with only two directions. For example, say, “Please get an apple from the bowl, and then put it on the counter.” Once two directions are mastered, increase the game to three. “Please get an apple from the bowl, put it on the counter, then come back and give me a high-five.” Play often, and vary directions. The sillier the directions, the better. Games like this help your child stay focused and learn how to follow sequential instructions.


Next week I’ll share four more simple, yet very important tips to help your kindergarten child start her school year on just the right note.


> Kindergarten Social Changes: What To Expect

> Kindergarten Academics: What To Expect

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