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Kindergarten Here We Come

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School is out, what to do with the little ones? Last Friday was the last day of school for most school systems and head start programs in the Metro Atlanta area. My 5 year old grandson's last day was Thursday. My daughter is preparing to send my grandson to kindergarten. For the last 3 years she has worked diligently with him on the basics: colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and spelling his name. However, more intensely this last year and a half we have focused on him learning letter sounds, forming words, spelling, and writing.

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As you prepare your little one for kindergarten, make sure you set aside time for summer reading while still enjoying the summer festivities. My grandson will still be attending his school (Sheltering Arms Child Development Center) for summer camp. He will also attend basketball camp this summer. Try and maintain a balance this summer between learning and playing. You don't want your little one to be burnt out from studying all summer before they reach kindergarten. Also, you don't want them to forget everything they learned throughout the school year.

Summer break should be a time of fun as well as a time for growing. Many preschoolers mature over the summer months before starting kindergarten. A great way to keep the fun and learning going is to attend a summer camp, or summer reading club at your local library and attending summer activities at the library. Libraries usually have a summer program that consists of: a reading club(with prizes), puppet shows, arts & crafts, movies, and magic shows. This is a fun way for children to learn and have fun doing so!

As a parent you are your child's first teacher. Let your child see how important reading and education are to you. Read to your child at least 20 minutes every night, or if your child can read have him or her read to you. You can make homemade learning games. Have you child help with a recipe; they will get to measure, count, and learn math skills. You can make a game out of counting buttons or coins. Have your child count cars or name their colors as you take a summer road trip.

I taught Head Start for 12 years and kindergarten and pre-k in the public school syatem for 5 years. I understand the importance of preparing your preschooler for kindergarten. I have also taught in a daycare setting, summer camp, and church youth ministry. I have always tried to make learning fun. During this summer break focus on learning, but just as important focus on making learning fun. Kindergarten is just the beginning. Keep your little one enthused so they will want to continue to learn and grow.

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