Race to Kindergarten Readiness

2 Dec

Not too long ago, before I was a parent, I was a teacher in the California Public Schools in an affluent area. I opened an email from a parent in the neighborhood that shaped my perspective in life–as a teacher and as a parent.

This mother emailed every single kindergarten teacher in the district. She wanted to know:“How can I best prepare my son for Kindergarten? What skills can I teach him at home so he is well-prepared to advance in Kindergarten?” By the time I had finished reading her email, my mouth was open so wide that her “nearly three year old” son could have climbed right in to take a much-deserved nap.

We have all been there. We think we are the best parents in the world…until we sit down with other parents. We watch their kids, we listen to them discuss how wonderful their kids are, how smart, how advanced, how well-rounded, how precocious, how athletic… Sound familiar??

Now ask yourself: how many of those parents mentioned how HAPPY, social, and independent their children are? My guess: zero. Maybe one.

It is easy to realize how happiness is paramount when you look at your own child within the confines of your own family, your own day. But step out of that bubble and you are immersed in parents who want their kids to be the best, the busiest, smartest, most athletic, and most artistic.

We have ALL been there. I am the least competitive person I know—as a person, a mom, and a teacher. I play tennis or scrabble and I don’t care about the score. I have never played to win.  My uber competitive 6 year old can’t understand me, but it works to her advantage.

As a teacher, I never cared if my students scored the highest on their standardized tests. I taught them according to my own teaching style, got them involved and excited. They excelled because they learned passionately and at will.

The same—I imagined—would ALWAYS be true for me as a mom. But even I have been caught up in the competition that our generation of parents has inadvertently begun and is perpetuating.

This competition—and stress–is evident as we watch high schoolers prepare for college, pack on the extracurriculars, and AP classes. They have little time to sleep or have fun. What we as parents of young children need to realize is that, these days, we are treating our preschoolers like high school students.

Ask yourself this: do you think there is anyway YOU can prepare your preschooler for Kindergarten and beyond by stepping back and enjoying your child? Can you just let your kids be kids? Can you give your child the academic skills she needs with just moments of quality time a day?

I am here to tell you what I believe to be true: YES, YOU CAN. You don’t have to be a stay-at-home parent and you don’t have to pay a tutor. I will give you tips you can do with your child that will take less time than it takes you to read a blog entry. I promise: it is tried and true. Your child will be ready for kindergarten and the rest of her life.

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9 Responses to “Race to Kindergarten Readiness”

  1. Nini emily December 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    So…what are the tips?

  2. Amy December 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Lots of people around here complain that the 4’s classroom at my preschool is not “academic enough”. Why? Because they teach a REAL 4’s curriculum. NOT, quasi- kindergarten. It is SO hard for parents to understand the PLAY is the most important element.

  3. slmerf December 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Congratulations on your blog,.. I couldn’t agree with you more! Looking forward to your next post,.. Keep them coming!!

  4. Pat Lynch December 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Not only were you a wonderful teacher, you are obviously a sensitive and insightful mom.
    Great blog.

    • neesie74 December 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Thank you, that means a lot coming from the woman who taught me everything I know!

  5. Teri J December 7, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    You were a wonderful and inspiring teacher when we worked together and I bet you are a wonderful and inspiring mom. Happy belated birthday. I’m glad you are having fun with your sweet kiddos.

  6. Sarah December 13, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    You’re bringing me back to my kindergarten days. My best students had not been to preschool, they had very close relationships with their parents, and they LISTENED and followed directions. It’s always a bonus if they have the self-care skills – opening snack containers and hanging up back packs and taking care of shoes.

    PS I can’t figure out how to subscribe.

    • neesie74 December 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

      Sarah, to follow, there should be an option to follow the blog on the bottom of your screen as you scroll down. It shows up on mine…

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