Getting Ready for Kindergarten (Part one)

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We know that getting ready to send your child off to Kindergarten probably fills you with a mixture of fear and excitement. So, we have put together a list of skills that can help your child have a smooth transition into the classroom.

Skill 1: Listening and following instructions

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Helping your children strengthen their ability to listen and follow instructions will make their transition to Kindergarten much smoother. One way that you can help your child with this is to introduce a listening signal at home. Here are some of our favourite attention-getting activities.

Hocus Pocus, I Can Focus — You say “Hocus Pocus” and then your child responds with “I Can Focus” using both hands as imaginary binoculars. Another popular ‘attention-getter’ is Mac and Cheese, Everybody Freeze.

Skill 2: Taking Turns in a Group Discussion

This is a great skill to practise with the whole family! We recommend using a talking stick or wand to make it clear whose turn it is to talk. Try passing the stick around the dinner table and have each member of the family share a story about their day. Once each person has shared, ask your child to reflect on what it felt like to wait his/her turn and how it felt to share uninterrupted.

Skill 3: Sharing

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Sharing should be encouraged through interactions with friends and siblings. Some activities require more collaboration and sharing than others. This blogger has lots of great suggestions for creative projects your child can work on with his/her playmate.

Skill 4: Caring for Personal Items

When children go to school they will need to be responsible for several items, such as their lunchboxes and their sweaters. Helping your children learn to take responsibility for their personal items will minimize frustration for them and for you. You can practise responsibility at home by making sure that your children tidy up after themselves when they finish playing with a toy, or helping pack personal items into a backpack when leaving the house for the day (snack, swim suits, etc.).

Skill 5: Moderating Emotions

Learning to moderate emotions is one of the more challenging skills that your child will need for kindergarten and beyond. There are many excellent calm-down strategies that you can teach your child. For example: take a breath, hug a teddy bear, or count to 10. Although kids may be able to recount what to do when they are upset, it’s equally important to be able to recognize what ‘upset’ feels like. This incredible video shows how mindfulness of one’s emotions is achievable at very young ages:

We hope that you find these tips helpful! Stay tuned for Part 2…

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For other tips, suggestions, and support in helping your children get ready for kindergarten, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit ourwebsite.

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E is for Easy and Educational! Craft While Learning Letters!

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With summer winding down, now is a great time to get some last-minute crafting in with your kids before heading back to the business of the school year routine. We have put together a ‘how to’ for one of our favourite ABC craft projects: the letter mosaic. Create a visual reference for kids as they learn about the alphabet for the first time. We hope you enjoy.

One reason we love this craft is that it does not require a ton of supplies – we know that you would rather not have to spend time trolling craft store aisles looking for supplies. This craft can be done with items that you likely have around your home already. Here is what you will need:

  • Plain paperimages
  • Coloured paper (different shades, textures)
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Scissors

OK, so you have your supplies and you are ready to go! To begin, draw an outline of the letter you will be making on a sheet of paper. Then, add a background pattern by drawing lines and shapes around the letter outline, similar to a colour by number. This part of the project may be best for you to do for your child. Ask your child to help decide where to add specific colours and label each section of the background with the first letter of the colour (e.g. Y=yellow, G=green). Use the correct coloured marker to make the letters and encourage your emerging writer to make some of the letters as well!

Next, you and your child can cut up the colourful paper into squares. As you cut them, sort them into coloured piles. Then, have your child begin gluing the coloured papers into the corresponding spots. This craft also practises patterning and colour identification. Here is a look at what the project looks like midway through.

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Once you have completed the mosaic, you and your child can talk about the letter  and its letter sound. There are many great letter songs that you can use to help you. We love all of the Hooked on Phonics letter songs, in particular, the letter E song.

We hope you and your child enjoy this craft project. For more crafty learning ideas, visit our website or contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225