A parent’s role is crucial in supporting their children’s success in school. There are numerous areas of development to consider when considering a child’s readiness. It’s not just about a child’s understanding of letters and numbers. Emotional intelligence and maturity, intellectual readiness, and physical development are all important factors to consider when preparing to send your child to school.
Four things parents can do to support their child’s success in kindergarten and beyond:
1. Expose your child to a range of books and nurture language development. Read aloud to your child and talk with them about the setting, characters, and events in the story. Look for opportunities in daily activities to build vocabulary. High-quality computer literacy games can support language development but do not take the place of child-focused discussion and conversation. This kind of language development will enable them to express themselves, describe their needs, and understand other children in the classroom and in the playground. Communication skills are crucial to their success and promote confidence in the new setting. Moreover, these language skills promote the foundations of reading and writing while supporting all academic success.
2. Cultivate your child’s natural curiosity and inherent desire to learn. Encourage them to ask questions and explore. Ask open-ended questions using words like who, what, when, where, why, and how. “Wonder” out loud with them, modeling curiosity by asking your child what they think before sharing your own thoughts. Curiosity, inquiry, and exploration are the foundation of all learning and cultivate development in all areas of learning. Supporting your child’s natural curiosity helps them grow into eager and active learners and empowers them to solve the future challenges of the world.
3. Partner with your child’s teachers to understand how best to support learning at home. Your child’s teachers will help guide you in understanding and supporting readiness and growth. Your child’s success will depend on you and the teacher as partners in learning. Teachers are available to guide and engage with you in the educational process, bringing out the best in your child. While you are your child’s first and most important teacher, the perspective of experienced teachers throughout your child’s educational journey will be invaluable.
4. Choose an enriching value-based academic experience for your child. A dual curriculum that places emphasis on both general and Judaic studies prioritizes intrinsic motivation and helps students become more engaged in their learning experiences by connecting beliefs and life goals to curricular requirements. Positive role models inspire students to learn how Judaism can be a thread that weaves meaning and joy into the tapestry of their lives. With this strong foundation, day school students are given life-long tools to engage in the broader world with the confidence of knowing who they are and the power of what they can accomplish.
Dr. Bryn Harar is the Principal of Hebrew Academy and a contributing writer to Kiddish Magazine.