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Ask A DFW Expert: Getting Kids Ready For Kindergarten

Getting your little one ready for kindergarten can be a stressful experience – not just for you but, for your child. There are so many new experiences to look forward to but also new rules and ways of doing things. Speech-language pathologist with an expertise in child language and communication disorders April Brown-Bell provides these tips to help your little one and you get ready for the first steps into school.

April Brown-Bell
The Success Authority, LLC
10000 N. Central Expwy.
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 796-3086

April Brown-Bell, MA, CCC-SLP is the owner of The Success Authority, LLC, a private speech pathology practice. She helps students of all ages to become more productive in the academic environment. Brown-Bell also consults with school districts and private schools to provide highly effective learning solutions.

Verbally Discuss Their Favorite StorybookThis will allow a student to follow plots to stories as the teacher assesses their comprehension skills in the fall. A simple book such as, "The Three Little Pigs" can bring on questions that assess sequence of events, characters, and story settings. Even as early as kindergarten, children should be able to recall a story that has been read to them. It is expected that children's comprehension skills will grow over the course of the year, but with high stakes testing such as STAAR and district-wide assessments in later grades, it is never too early to get an early start on those developing milestones involving story comprehension. If parents help children practice this skill during story time at home or at the library, then children will naturally have more proficiency with this skill once school starts.
Sit For 30 Minutes, QuietlyBehavior has become one of the biggest challenges for teachers, especially new teachers. If parents use a timer to help their children sit quietly for 30 minutes, this will naturally help with classroom behavior once school starts. Students will be expected to sit for longer periods of time while the teacher presents a lesson or listen to a special class visitor. When students are expected to sit in circle time or watch a short movie, having a child who can sit for 30 minutes will prove a valuable skill. With disorders such as ADHD/ADD being so prevalent amongst kindergarteners, parents will have an idea as to how long their children can sit for any one period of time.
Get Accustomed To Following A Schedule And How To Transition In Between ActivitiesChildren must learn the skill of transitioning from one classroom/school-wide activity to another. This happens when one activity is completed, but there is downtime in between activities as the next activity is being prepared. For example, when circle time is over, is the student able to stand in line quietly and not touch anything as the teacher assists other students. Does the student run down the hall or hide in the classroom as the teacher is preparing another activity? Behavioral disruptions during school-day transitions are a major cause of children getting disciplined in the classroom. Can a parent leave their children patiently waiting until further instruction has been given?

Related: Best Children's Bookstores In DFW

Play With A Playgroup AppropriatelyThis fosters communication, sharing, and social intelligence. Children will have to learn to play and share with others appropriately. This means helping children to share, being polite, and helping others. This also develops emotional maturity. For example, how does your child respond if he/she looses a game? How does your child show empathy for a friend who is sad? Practicing this skill now will help the kindergartner develop many skills.
Build Vocabulary In Various Settings (i.e. Grocery Story--Scales, Measurements; Park, Zoo, Restaurants) Vocabulary is another component to good reading skills. The more words a child knows, then the greater a child's comprehension and expressive language skills. Does your child know that a marsupial is another name for a kangaroo? Does your child know that troubled means the same as sad? Can your child name items by category (i.e. red things, food items, colors)? Helping the child to label objects with words is a major skill to help children learn.
Use Their Hands To Write, Color And Make ProjectsThis also includes using their fingers to button and zip clothing. Children will have to use safety scissors to cut and paste pictures, hold a pencil to write and crayons to color within the lines. These are fine motor skills that children could practice at home with parents. Parents could provide their children with shirts with different types of buttons and zippers to utilize for home practice.

Related: Ask A DFW Expert: Improve Children's Math Skills

Robin D. Everson's appreciation for art, food, wine, people, and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. As a multi-faceted entrepreneur, Robin brings a unique look at the world of business through her many interviews and articles. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can contact her at
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