Gearing Up for Kindergarten

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Gearing Up!

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25 Ways to Begin Story Telling

Storytelling stimulates inventive thinking and imagination. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  Here are some fun story starters that you can ask your children while on a long road trip, eating at the dinner table or even putting them to bed at night. You may even find that some of these might be fun for them to draw or even act out.

 

1. If I were in the circus I would…

2. Name one thing you do really well and give lots of details..

3. I want to be a ……. when I grow up because…

4. If I were the president I would…

5. What makes you feel happy, sad, excited, afraid etc…

6. Pretend you could fly wherever you wanted.. where would you go, what would you see etc…

7. Imagine that all the streets are rivers. How would people get around?

8. What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?

9. Lets go to…. describe your adventure..

10. What would happen if animals could talk?

11. The best kinds of bugs

12. If I could be any animal, I would be a …..

13. If I could learn a new language it would be…

14. My favorite season and why..

15. What is your favorite time of day? Why?

16. Describe your best day ever..

17. Older people are.. Younger people are…

18. I wish there was a law that said..

19. If I were a frog I would..

20. Describe your favorite hobby..

21. What is your dream vaction?

22. Who do you admire the most and why?

23. What does it mean to be a good neighbor?

24. For lunch today…

25. If I could go to any planet it would be… because…

Have fun with these questions. Have them share their answers and then tell them yours.   They’ll probably love being asked these questions and you might really enjoy hearing their answers. For more information on story starters for kids, please visit us on our FACEBOOK page!

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Don't let your child miss this key learning step...

Kindergarten is a crucial time in a child's life, they are learning so much more and becoming aware of their abilities and what they know and understand, but do they know how to read just yet? Don't miss this crucial step, which can often be missed and causing setbacks in a child's education. This step is called phonemic awareness, where every word taught and spoken, has a combination of sounds.Allow your child to sound out a word from their book, then let them get out the words they already know, whether they are big, small, silly or made up words, children need to express their vocals before they can relate to words in a book.

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Do this: Practice breaking some spoken words into sounds. “What sounds are in cat?” you might ask your child. “Let’s say the word slowly together. Cat: kuh-a-tuh. Cat.” Don’t even worry about connecting this to the spelling of the word. (That’s another lesson.) After you’ve practiced with a few easy words, try some harder ones like breakfast or window. Again, don’t worry about linking this to a spelling or reading lesson. The important thing is for your child to feel confident in his ability to hear the sounds in words.


For more information on Phonemic Awareness ask us on Gearing Up for Kindergarten's FACEBOOK page!

Photo courtesy of www.ehow.com

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5 Ways to Ease Your Child Back Into School

Now that school is back in session your child might be going through a few anxiety issues. Gearing Up for Kindergarten came up with 5 ways to ease these concerns.

It’s that time of year again, and this year your child may experience some back-to-school anxiety, which is very normal. Parents need to be understanding as there are many unknowns for what causes this anxiety.

Many kids may feel anxious about going back to school after they just had a nice summer break. Some kids may feel nervous about starting school for the first time. Whatever the  reason may be, parents can help ease the transition to back to school by talking with their kids and following some of these tips.

1. Help your child feel more comfortable about their school environment. Call the school and ask if they can arrange a visit to the school before the first day. They may possibly be able to meet their teacher as well.

2. If you’re able to get into the classroom discus the basics with them. Show them where they will hang up their coat, where their desk is,  where they’ll go to the bathroom and eat lunch. If your child sees these things before the first day of school they will become more familiar with their environment and this may help to relieve some of their first day anxiety.

3. A week or two before school starts take a couple trips to and from school. Discuss  the routine of getting to and from school, whether you drop them off or pick them up, or if they’ll be taking the school bus.

4. Talk about things that make school fun and exiciting! Let them go with you to pick out their school supplies, a new backpack and new school clothes. Assure your child that there will be lots of new kids and friends to make. You can also talk about fun things such as what they can look forward to such as: playing on the playground with lots of new friends, making art projects, participating in sports or playing a new instrument.

5. Read a book about about the first day of school or even make one with your child on things you find important for your child to know and what they might be most nervous about.

Make sure your kids are getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet. Studies show that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Get something in them that is good before a big day of school is very important. Remember to keep positive when talking about school. As a parent, back to school can be hectic for you as well. Remember for yourself to eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep.

Don't forget to follow us on FACEBOOK!

 

You can find more information on how to ease your child's anxiety at this website: http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/family-matters/5-tips-ease-your-childs-social-anxiety.html

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5 Ways to Encourage Your Children to Read

Make it a priority to read to your child everyday whether they are 8 months old or 10 years old. When your child is able to read, let them read to you or take turns. Reading is important for many reasons, it increases a child’s knowledge of the world, their vocabulary and our language plus it expands a person’s creativity and imagination. Stay positive when talking to your kids about reading and make it fun for them! Here are 5 ideas to make reading fun for your child.

 

1. Make a weekly trip to the library and let your child pick out a book that interests them. Help them find books with their favorite author, sport or hobby. Check out your local public library story times, sometimes they’ll have a story and then do a fun activity pertaining to that book.

2. Make a fun area in your home for your child to read in, remembering that good lighting is always important. Find a comfortable chair or bean bag and give them a special blanket and snack to have while reading.

3. Discus books with your children. Talk to them about the fun and interesting stories that you’ve read. Be a good role model when it comes to reading and they will want to follow your example.

4. Take your children to movie versions of children’s books after reading the book. This will give them a good visual of what they just read. Discuss the two different versions on the way home. Did you imagine the main character to look the way he did? What was in the movie that wasn’t in the book (vice versa)? Which one did you prefer (your imagination or the movie?)

4. Visit websites of their favorite author or illustrator. For example, Jan Brett has many free print out activities that go along with her books. You can find them here!

5. Once a week cook together using a children’s cookbook. Reading aloud and following directions are great for kids development and cooking is a wonderful life skill to learn! They will learn different kinds of vegetables, fruits and what mixes well together.

Reading develops the imagination, expands the vocabulary, helps us to discover new things, improves our spelling, and so on, so why wouldn’t you want to encourage your child to read! I think we can all conclude that reading is a vital skill. Make it fun and learn new things with your child. You might be surprised at what you learn along with them!

 

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How Children can Develop Strong Social Skills

Academic skills are not the only factor leading to school success for children. In fact, a study published by researchers at Vanderbilt University identified the top 10 skills that teachers say students need to succeed. When children are actively taught to be cooperative and use self-control, there is more time for learning in the classroom. According to Gearing Up for Kindergarten's research and studies, social Skills that lead to school success (based on a survey of more than 8,000 teachers):

• Listening to others

• Following the steps of instructions

• Following the rules • Ignoring distractions

• Asking for help

• Taking turns when talking

• Getting along with others

• Staying calm with others

• Being responsible for behavior

• Doing nice things for others

 

Get involved with your children so they will develop strong social skills and succeed in the classroom. Don't forget to follow Gearing Up for Kindergarten on FACEBOOK!

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Activities to Play in the Water

Water play can be a fun and educational way to engage children during the summer months. It may look like it’s all just a messy good time, but water can actually help children learn more about the world around them.

 

First and foremost, when children are playing with water, it’s important to make it safe. Young children should be supervised, provided with a non-slip surface, and understand that it’s not safe to run on slick, watery surfaces.

Providing the following learning tools can help broaden water play from just “fun” to an enriching activity:

  • Provide different shapes and sizes of measuring cups for children to pour water from (funnels, cups, pitchers, etc.). This will help with concepts of floating and sinking; shallow and deep.
  • Give kids containers or toys that they can fill up and squirt water from. This can help develop hand-eye coordination.
  • Create an “under-the-sea” educational atmosphere, providing toys and shells that represent animals and objects that would be found in the ocean.
  • Provide paint brushes and encourage children to “paint” letters with water on the sidewalk. This is a fun, novel way for a child to practice reading and writing skills.

How have you seen children learn from fun with water?? Share with us on our FACEBOOK page!

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Why Daily Communication with Your Child is Important

Did you know that talking to your child on school-related topics can have a significant impact on your child's achievements?

"Kids learn in homes that learn, from parents who value learning."

Another school year is about to begin and it seems like everyone is always "too busy" to do anything these days. However, it doesn't take long to sit down and talk with your child about his/her progress in school. Talking to your child on a regular basis is known to lead to higher-achieving success with children.

Talking with your children is also one of the most critical steps of healthy parenting. Children pick up on parents/guardians communication early on in life. They are fascinated at the new language and words you speak, whether they are soothing, comforting or important, your child is always listening. Start a healthy communication style early on so children feel comfortable communicating with you as the years go on. 
Here are a few healthy words used when communicating with your children to let them know you are listening:

-Tell me more!

-I know.

-I am here.

-Go ahead; let it out.

Try these interactions to help your child express their feelings and thoughts of issues or concerns related to school, peer pressure and other instances children go through as they grow up.

Click here to read more on this article and find out the 10 Simple Rules you can use to open the lines of communication with your children.

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Parent Involvement with Children's Education

Get involved with your child's education before its too late...

Your children are going to head off to school soon and parent involvement is very critical in a child's development. Studies have proven that the more active parents are with their child's educational development, the more likely they will have better behavior, achieve better in academics and go farther in their education. Start your child's education off with great reinforcements.

Family Involvement

As a parent you have a busy schedule, working 40+ hours a week, driving your kids to and from soccer practice and preparing home cooked meals every night, by the time you get home all you want to do is put your feet up and relax. But then you have to think, when will your child receive the extra attention they need in their studies? Even though you send them off to school everyday, they still need parents' active involvement at home. When your child comes to you for advice or support on their education, this shows critical messages to your child, demonstrating their interest and reinforcing the idea that school is important. As a parent, you can be involved in your child's education through several different activities.

Gearing Up for Kindergarten recommends a variety of parent-child involvement websites through our FACEBOOK page, where you can read online books, research articles, play games and find other activities for you and your family to participate in together.

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10 Outdoor Activities to Keep Your Children Entertained

Sunny days won't last forever, get your children outside while its still warm!

 

Those sunny days are a great time to get your children outside in the fresh air, playing, singing and dancing away. Gearing Up for Kindergarten came up with a 10 outdoor activities to keep your children entertained. Check them out and let us know which ones were your favorite on our FACEBOOK page!
Kids Playing Outside
Outdoor Activities Include:
1. Go swimming - Take the kids to your local swimming pool, costs are low and this is a fun activity for your children to get to know other kids.
2. Take a walk - Walk to the grocery store or library. Along the way, see if your children can point out specific trees or birds
3. Read books outside - Grab a blanket and a few books and gather the kids under a tree. Let them read to themselves or take turns reading to each other.
4. Use sidewalk chalk - Allow your children's creativity to run wild with chalk!
5. Go to a park - The park is great exercise for children of all ages. They can play tag, hang on the monkey bars or play kickball in the grass!
6. Ride bikes - It's Family Night! Strap on the helmets and get the family out for an adventurous bike ride together.
7. Play in the grass - The grass is a fun place to play, sit and read. Enjoy it before the snow comes!
8. Blow bubbles - This is a fun and developmental game for children of all ages. Children develop perception and can gauge distance with bubbles.
9. Wash the car together - How much fun do children have spraying the hose? This is a great chance to let children your children use the hose and CLEAN at the same time! :)
10. Play tag - Children never get sick of playing tag, let them run free in the grass!
For more information on Gearing Up for Kindergarten or ideas to keep your children entertained follow us on FACEBOOK!

 

 

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