Will your child be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2020?* If so, it’s time for kindergarten.
“A child’s transition from preschool or home into kindergarten marks an important step in a child’s life,” says JoAnne Elkin, early childhood/early literacy consultant at the Macomb Intermediate School District.
Part of preparing for this big step involves getting acclimated with your child’s future classroom setting. And that’s where kindergarten roundup events come in.
The value of kindergarten roundup
“Kindergarten roundup is a time for children and families to build a positive relationship with teachers and peers who are transitioning with them into kindergarten,” Elkin says.
While school buildings are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that in-person interaction isn’t an option, enrollment is still open — and it’s likely that these roundup events will happen in one capacity or another once the stay-at-home order is lifted.
For folks in Macomb County, each school district has kindergarten enrollment information listed on its website, and, Elkin notes, depending on the school district, parents can submit enrollment forms electronically, mail them or drop them off when the stay-at-home order is lifted.
When it comes to kindergarten readiness, there are a number of skills that children should have exposure prior to entering the classroom, including language and reading skills, math skills, reasoning and interaction with others. View a complete kindergarten readiness checklist on the MISD’s website.
To help your children prepare for kindergarten, Elkin suggests these four steps.
1. Establish routines. With the COVID-19 pandemic, every family has experienced shifts in their daily schedules, and during typical years when school is out for summer, schedules tend to be altered even more. However, Elkin says it’s important to create both morning and bedtime routines.
“It helps to establish routines about a month before school starts to ease the transition into kindergarten,” she says.
2. Create a healthy and supportive environment. “Good physical health is important for participating and learning in school,” Elkin notes.
Get moving as a family by taking hiking, biking or even doing some yoga together every morning.
3. Encourage play. Learning to share and solve issues with other children, developing imagination, and social skills all promote school readiness, Elkin says.
4. Read. “Read books together about starting school to help explain the experience to children,” Elkin says. “Reading aloud to children builds early literacy skills like learning letters and sounds, recognizing rhymes and building vocabulary. It’s important to help children develop a love of books at an early age.”
For more information, visit the Macomb Intermediate School District website.
*According to Michigan law, if a child residing in a district is not five years of age on or before Sept. 1, 2020, but will turn five years of age not later than Dec. 1, 2020, the parent may contact the school district to obtain a possible waiver for their child to enter kindergarten this year.