Preparing for kindergarten if not attending preschool

Preschool is not an option for my husband and I. Our 3 1/2 yr. old participates in two weekly sunday school type programs and takes a weekly ballet lesson. How can we prepare her academically but more importantly psychologically for kindergarten? She does visit art & science museums in Baltimore & New York monthly, maybe this will help?

Question:

Dear Pheas,

It sounds as if you are doing very well by your daughter in terms of preparing her for the world of learning. She has exposure several times a week to working with groups of children. She is also benefiting from trips to museums, where her mind is being stimulated with new ideas. These experiences are all very helpful in preparing a child for the world of formal learning.

At home, you can also stimulate your child by reading to her a great deal. Choose books with pictures and let her look at them and at the words on the page as you read to her. Give her time to ask questions about what she has heard. As she gets a little older, simple games such as dominoes or Colorama are valuable teaching tools, and fun as well.

Don't worry about your daughter's ability to "catch up" to the children who have been in school already. If she is getting this much exposure to the outside world, she should be fine. When your daughter enters kindergarten, however, she will need to adjust to the spending much of her time in a school setting, where she has to follow a routine, listen to the teachers and work with other children on a daily basis.

How can you help her to anticipate this? There's nothing to do at this time. Talk of school at 5 when your daughter is 3 and a half will be meaningless to her because it is too far away. When school approaches, you should talk to her about how much fun she will have. Bring her to the classroom before school actually starts so she can see what it looks like. And be sure to alert her teachers to the fact that she has never been in school before. They will know how to help her adjust!

Best of luck,
Patti Greenberg Wollman

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