It’s almost time to start thinking about back-to-school again, and getting your children prepared to either begin school for the first time, or gear them up for another year. We recently reached out to local educational expert Taren Saunders of South Kitsap School District, and asked her to provide her top five tips to assist parents in getting their children ready to start kindergarten. The majority of these preparational tips are not only important developmentally for your child, but also in building their confidence during the transition of going from being at home full-time, to attending school on a daily basis.
Taren Saunders/Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)
South Kitsap School District
2689 Hoover Ave. S.E.
Port Orchard, WA 98366
(360) 874-7000

Currently a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SPLA) for the Puget Sound area’s South Kitsap School District (SKSD), Taren Saunders has experience working and teaching children between the ages of 0 and 5 years old. Prior to her current position with SKSD, Taren was a Head Start Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) Site Supervisor for Kitsap Community Resources (KCR) in Kitsap County, Washington. During her time at KCR, she had the opportunity to work with many parents and their young children and passed on her five most important tips to help prepare them for kindergarten.

Read To Your Child Daily

Reading to your child is one of the most helpful ways to get them interested in learning. Be sure to sit down with them daily and read to them as this exposes to them language and the learning of new words, as well as prepares them for their future use and love of books.

Practice Word And Sound Rhyming

Educational expert Taren Saunders states if a child can learn rhyming of both sounds and words, then it will help them immensely when they do learn how to read. Word and sound rhyming teaches children to manipulate both the sounds and segments of various words and in the long run will make it easier for them to read.

Know At Least 10 Letters And Numbers

One of the first things parents usually teach their children, either with the help of books, videos or flash cards, is the first 10 numerals (0 through 9) and/or 10 letters of the alphabet. One suggested way to learn at least 10 letters, is to teach your child how to spell his or her first name. If your child has already mastered this, you can also begin teaching them how to spell their last name, or begin teaching them about vowel letters.

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Being Able To Complete Simple Self-Care Tasks

When your child is going to be away from home and in a school environment for the first time, it will be extremely helpful for them as individuals if they are able to complete various simple, independent, self-care tasks. Some important ones to teach your future kindergartener include how to wash their hands with soap and water, and how to put on their coat, as well as take it off. Another good yet simple task to teach your child is how to button and unbutton their pants, so it will make bathroom time for them less stressful.

Have The Ability To Interact In A Group Setting

The last key tip parents should teach a child entering kindergarten is how to quietly and respectfully be able to sit in a group environment for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Every kindergartener will be expected to sit still for story time and to listen to their teacher. Your child may also participate in group discussions as a kindergartener and should be respectful of others when they are taking their turn to talk.

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Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on