The academic rigor of early childhood schooling has dramatically increased in recent years. Gone are the days when kindergarten students spent their days coloring, playing dress-up and making new friends. Now even the youngest students spend their days learning how to read, write and understand math concepts. Whether you choose private primary schools for your child or public, giving him or her a head start by introducing some academic concepts at home is a good idea. Read on for some tips on how to prepare your son or daughter for early childhood schooling.
Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him or her for school. Let your child hear your cadence as you read, run your finger along the words as you read them and point out simple words in board books that your child might be able to grasp. When you're done with a book, ask questions. Some of your questions should be about the plot of the story to help your child with reading comprehension. Other questions should dig deeper and be about the book characters' emotions, their inner thoughts and what they might do after the book ends. These exercises will give your child critical thinking skills and instill a love of stories, which should encourage him or her to want to gain reading skills.
Before your child can write, he or she needs the manual dexterity and hand strength to do so. You can help your child gain strength in his or her hands by engaging in a few fun activities. Encourage your child to experiment with child-safe scissors. Challenge your child to cut lines or circles in a piece of paper. Draw designs and ask your child to cut along the line. Try making paper snowflakes with your child. After your child is done cutting, ask him or her to glue the pieces of paper to a larger piece of paper in a collage. To increase the challenge, draw shapes on a piece of paper and ask your child to glue pre-cut shapes to the drawn shapes. Not only will this help him or her with fine motor skills, it will allow for greater familiarity with shapes.
Introduce early math concepts to your child by counting everything. Count the stairs as you walk on them. Count the squirrels in the yard. Count socks as you fold them. This will get your child comfortable with numbers. Ask your child to sort household objects by type or color. Cook with your child and introduce fractions as you measure half cups of flour. The bonus in learning fractions through cookies is that there often are cookies at the end of the lesson.