Column: Tips help prepare kids for school

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 13, 2005

By Brenda Wichmann, Early childhood

Kindergarten registration is taking place for Albert Lea Area School’s class of 2018!

It’s an exciting time for parents and children as they prepare to move into the K-12 education system.

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Some parents also find this to be a time for questioning, anxiety and concern over whether children are ready to enter kindergarten.

They wonder if their child has the skills necessary for success as a learner.

Many times the focus of kindergarten readiness is in the year prior to kindergarten with the thought that this will prepare children with the necessary skills and behaviors.

Kindergarten readiness starts long before the year prior to actual enrollment.

It starts from birth. Every skill and behavior that a child learns prepares them for the next developmental stage which in turn leads to the next and the next.

Children need a good foundation so that the important learning that must occur in infancy gives way to that in toddler hood and the preschool years. A child that lacks a rich environment to grow and experiment with all through his early childhood years is less likely to find success in kindergarten.

There is no such thing as a “crash course” the year prior to kindergarten that will guarantee that a child will be ready.

Development can’t be rushed.

It’s a matter of supplying a rich environment full of opportunities that the child can experience and learn from as the brain matures from stage to stage.

Here are a few ideas of things that you can do to help promote school readiness whether you are a parent, grandparent, baby sitter, aunt, uncle, neighbor or friend of a young child.

These activities can be modified to meet the developmental age of the child.

In other words, simplify or expand at will.


Pick up a book.

Spend time reading to your child.

Rather than waiting till bedtime, why not fit in a book every morning?

Babies enjoy a good picture book just as much as older children enjoy a story full of make believe and humor.


Play games.

Every thing from peek- a-boo to Candy Land. Games teach your child how to take turns and follow rules as well as specific skills such as counting and colors.

Put eight different objects on a table. After she studies them, hide her eyes and remove one.

What’s missing?


Sing songs. The rhyme and meter of music boosts language development.

Feeling creative?

Use a familiar tune like “The Farmer in the Dell” to make up a song about an activity you’re doing “We’re going to clean the house, we’re going to clean the house, we’ll sweep the floor and make the beds, we’re going to clean the house.”


Start counting.

When he sets the table have him count the plates, forks etc.

Set the timer and count how many times he can jump in 20 seconds.


Help her socialize.

Go to the playground when other kids are there.

Sign up for an ECFE class and enjoy planned activities for parents and children to do together and meet other families.

Interested in finding out more about school readiness, child development, behavior issues and just plain fun ideas?

Please call me at 379-4838.

(Brenda Wichmann is the coordinator of Early Childhood Family Education/ School Readiness for Community Education of Albert Lea Area Schools.)