Tag Archives: Kindergarten

Roar! More fun with shapes!

Check out Yellow Mum’s super cute dinosaur shapes free printable.  If you want a larger size, she has them for purchase from her etsy shop. Regardless of the size, there’s a ton of ways you could use these guys.

  • make into magnets and use on the refrigerator or for portable fun, a cookie sheet
  • cut them out and glue onto notecards.  Then make a memory/concentration matching game
  • depending on your child’s skill level, practice writing the first sound or shape word
  • match color words to the color of the dinosaurs
  • glue onto posterboard and cover with contact paper.  You’ll have a placemat for fun at dinnertime.
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Filed under 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Becoming independent

What tasks are Kindergarten children expected to do independently? How long a period of time do kids need to be able to sit down and work independently?

Before I answer these questions, it’s important to remember that the Kindergarten year is all about growth. Well, every year is, of course, but the Kindergarten year even more so! When kids start their Kindergarten year, they are basically just old Preschoolers but by the end of the year they have blossomed into almost First Graders. For this reason, expectations will change throughout the year. Believe me Kindergarten teachers understand that attention spans are short and assistance is needed for even simple tasks. All that will change throughout the year though, and it’s truly amazing to watch!
Independence and responsibility go hand in hand. Becoming independent means an increase in responsibility. As one increases, so should the other. You’ll notice this at home, too!

At school kids will be expected to:

  • Unpack and pack their backpacks, including getting out any folders, library books or notes for the teacher without assistance. That will happen pretty much from day one. After the first week or two your child’s teacher will not look through their backpack every morning for them. There’s just not time in the day.
  • Depending on the teacher’s preference, children may or may not be in charge of managing their own school supplies. Some teachers like each child to have their own pencil box with supplies inside and some prefer to have shared supplies that the teacher stores. Either way your child will be responsible for cleaning up the supplies and taking care of them. It’s amazing how many marker tops can go missing and how many glue tops can stay open.
  • Kids will be expected to remember their lunch boxes and winter clothing items when coming in from recess. This doesn’t mean that if they forget it on the playground all is lost. Yes, your child’s teacher will let them go back and get it, but it’s important that they work on remembering it before they have to go back to get it.
  • Tying shoes is another form of independence. Of course, Kindergarten is a developmentally appropriate time to work on tying shoes. I expected my students to be able to tie their shoes by the end of the first semester. After the winter holidays if a child needed their shoe tied, I had them ask a friend.
  • Make sure all items that came to school return home. Lunch boxes, coats, notes and folders all need to be zipped in the backpack so you can go through it each night!

Now you can also help your child feel more independent by:

  • packing things in their lunch that they can open
  • having them wear clothes that they can unzip, tie or button themselves
  • including “empty the backpack and bring mom everything in there,” as part of the after school routine

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Filed under 5 Year Olds, Questions

The School Lunch 411

I absolutely love my Baby 411 book by Dr. Ari Brown!    She has frequently answered my questions and steered me in the right direction.  Yesterday her blog was all about school lunches.  Dr. Brown also has two other books that I’m sure are fabulous but I haven’t read.  They are the Toddler 411 book (haven’t gotten there yet) and the Pregnancy 411 book (came out after the baby was born).

Here’s my own 411 on school lunches:

  • Always make sure that there’s lunch money in your child’s account.  At certain times during the year they will not allow your child to charge a lunch.  If there’s no money in the account that means your child will get a cheese sandwich or something equally as gross.
  • Pack things that your child can open on their own.  Of course there will be lunch monitors to help your child but they have a ton of kiddos to help.  This will cut down on the time your child has to wait.
  • If you’re bringing lunch to your child for a special treat, be sure you let the teacher know.  Call the office if you’re running late because McDonald’s didn’t switch over from their breakfast menu.  (Kindergarten usually eats pretty early, 11:00 or sometimes earlier)
  • Even if your child is never going to buy their lunch, consider putting in a small amount for milk, snacks or ice cream.  Loose change can get lost very easily, which can be disappointing when it’s finally lunch time.
  • If your child is buying, discuss menu options with them in the morning before school.  There’s a lot of choices in the cafeteria these days, which can be overwhelming.  If they’ve talked through the choices with you beforehand, they’re less likely to have trouble making a decision.
  • If at all possible, pack your child’s lunch the first few days or even weeks of school.  The lunch line can be very long at first.  (Remember it’s Kindergarten and they have to be taught how everything at school works.)  This will allow your child to have a more leisurely lunch and have plenty of time to eat.
  • Put in a special note every once in awhile.  It will make your child’s day!  If they’re buying lunch, slip it in their backpack.

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Filed under 5 Year Olds

Money, money, money

In Texas your child will not be required to learn money value until First grade, but personally, I don’t think learning it earlier is a problem.  In fact, some districts may still require Kindergarten teachers to at least introduce the concept of money.  In the district where I taught Kindergarten, we would introduce the name and value of each coin.  Amy at Let’s Explore has created a Money Bingo game that I think is so fun!  You can download her game board for free.  She also has some great suggestions for money bedtime stories, if you’re interested.


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Filed under 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

The First Day of Kindergarten

What does the first day of Kindergarten look like?

Rest assured that teachers, no matter how many years they’ve taught, are just as nervous about the first day as you and your child are. Your child’s teacher will try to have the first day will run as close to normal as possible but a completely typical day will be impossible. The first day and actually the first few weeks of school are spent teaching kids routines, setting behavioral expectations and getting to know each other. That doesn’t mean learning isn’t going on, actually it’s quite the contrary. Here’s a list of things Kindergarten teachers work on the first few weeks of school. Remember most children won’t have been in any public school setting before and some not in any type of school setting.

  • Walking in a line
  • Being quiet in the hallways
  • Sitting quietly during a story
  • Raising their hand when they need something
  • Staying in their seat unless they ask for permission
  • Public bathroom etiquette
  • Drinking from a water fountain
  • Eating in the lunchroom
  • Lining up when recess time is over
  • The difference between a question and a story (they work on this one all year)
  • Voicing displeasure vs. hitting when there is a problem
  • Using scissors for paper only
  • Holding a pencil
  • Writing their name on all work
  • Hanging up their backpack and checking it for any notes, items from home, etc
  • Not to interrupt when others are speaking
  • Sharing toys
  • Saying please and thank you
  • Saying the pledge of allegiance

Generally the teacher will have some type of activity for kids to work on when they come in the first day, most likely some type of activity or coloring sheet. This allows her to have an activity that doesn’t need directions so that she can speak with any parents and settle everyone before the day starts. After everyone is seated and parents have left, the rest of the day is spent touring the school, practicing lining up/walking in the hallway, learning classroom and school rules and simply getting down the routine of being in school. Usually students will still attend specials (P.E., art, music) but not other enrichment like library or computer lab. The day goes extremely quickly! Your child will be very tired when they come home and probably by Wednesday or so they won’t be so sure about getting up early every morning. Give it time and before you know it your child will love school (even if they are still a little sleepy in the morning)!

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Filed under 5 Year Olds, Questions

Cookie sheets and magnets

How on earth do cookie sheets and alphabet magnets have anything to do with each other?  Well, they are the perfect combo for a car trip, whether it’s running errands around town or a long trip out of town.  Here’s a few ideas but of course let your child be creative too.  Have a few extra sets of magnets available too if you’re child wants to work on spelling.

Depending on your child, you can start out with simpler ideas focusing on just the letters and progress to more difficult ideas like writing sight words or environmental print.  This idea is sorting letters that use only straight lines and letters that use a curved line.

Straight letters vs. letters with curves

When your child has a good grasp of letter identification, have them sort consonants and vowels.

Consonants vs. vowels

You can also have them sort out the letters in their name or anyone else’s for that matter.

Letters not in your name vs. letters in your name

When your child is ready for a challenge, have them sort out the letters that make more than one sound.

Letters that make one sound vs. letters that make two or more sounds

Kids also love to copy environmental print.

Copy environmental print

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Filed under 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Questions for the First Day of School

What types of questions should I ask the teacher on Meet the Teacher night?

You don’t know what you don’t know. I probably use this phrase too often, but it’s so true!!  Here’s a list of questions I’d make sure you had the answers to before the first day of school. Most or even all of this should be addressed during Meet the Teacher but if not, ask away!

  • What is the earliest time my child is able to arrive at school? Where will she go at that time?
  • At what time is my child marked tardy?
  • Is breakfast available? If so, is it in the cafeteria or the classroom?
  • When is dismissal? (Sometimes Kindergarten dismisses a few minutes early.)
  • How will dismissal run? (where do you meet your child, where will the get on the bus, etc.)
  • Who do I contact if there is a change in the way my child will be going home?
  • Where can I get a copy of the school calendar with school holidays listed?
  • What is the absence policy?
  • Are notes required for absences and doctor appointments? If so, do these notes go to the teacher or the office?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What days will my child go to P.E.?
  • When will the class go to library? Will they be able to check out books and bring them home?
  • How do I set up a lunch account for my child?  How much is lunch?
  • What is the best way to reach the teacher during the day? (be sure to get her phone number and email address)
  • When is the teacher’s conference period?
  • What volunteer opportunities are there? (also find out contact information for PTA representatives)
  • Will there be homework and what is the homework policy?

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Filed under 5 Year Olds, Questions