3. For each development area
Kindergarten is a fascinating time for both parents and children alike. It represents an important developmental milestone as your child transitions from very young to school-aged. Plus, it's the first big step in their formal education.
Rather than worry about whether your child is ready to or can read and write, think about their skills as a whole.
At this age, the best support you can give is encouraging your child to dress themselves, take the coat on and off and hang it up, use the bathroom without assistance, wash hands without constant reminders, and put on their shoes. In addition, provide serving spoons so your child can serve themselves.
Teach responsibility. Start transferring minor duties over to your child if you haven't already. For example, after a family trip to the pool, you might put your child in charge of emptying the backpack, refilling the water bottles, or hanging up his wet swimsuit. Let your child accept the responsibility even when it may be easier for you to complete these tasks.
We provide the below guide on how to support your child in each development area.
Personal, social, and emotional development
You can help to support young children's personal, social, and emotional development by:
- Using praise and encouragement to help focus on what they are good at and maximize their potential. When your children act in ways that exemplify one of these strengths, praise them for it. Be specific; praise their enthusiasm, honesty, kindness, teamwork, fairness, humility, etc. E.g., if your child wants to give money to the poor, say something like: "that is very kind, and you should be proud of yourself; people very appreciate being kind."
If your child helps you in the house, say something like: "we are a great teamwork notice how if we work together, we finish faster; I bet you are also doing a great team with your classmates."
If your child did something not acceptable, but they are accepting the responsibility by telling the truth, say something like: "thank you very much for telling the truth; you need a lot of courage, to tell the truth; what you did is unacceptable, but at the same time you also did something great because telling the truth and accepting our mistakes will always help us solve or fix our errors. This is because you are sincere and should always be proud ".
- Taking an interest in the children's efforts as well as achievements. Remembering how children participate in activities is more important than the results. g., if your child tells you something learned at school, show "surprise" even if you already know the information; use phrases like: "really, I didn't know that? Thank you for explaining to me", "that is amazing I am glad to know that now".
- Giving the children opportunities to make decisions and choices. Letting them participate in decision-making, even in a small way, helps them feel positive and essential; it also prepares them for making appropriate judgments and sensible decisions later in life. g., chose three different outfits and let the child choose; you are giving options and power to decide while teaching that there are limits.
- Encouraging the children's self-help skills. Be patient and provide the time for the child to do things independently, e.g., Choosing play activities and selecting their materials, helping to tidy up, and dressing alone during dress up.
Emphasize cooperation and sharing rather than competition.
You can help to support young children's physical development by:
- Provide play opportunities that encourage the children to explore and experiment with their physical skills indoors and outdoors. E.g.:
- Let your child prepare orange or lemons juice by squeezing the fruits with their hands.
- Bake cookies and let your child make shapes with the dough instead of using cookie shape cutters.
- Let your child walk on sand and play drawing with their feet.
- Using everyday routines to develop the children's fine motor skills, e.g., getting dressed, dealing with fastening and shoelaces, helping to prepare or serve food, washing up, and setting out/clearing away play activities.
- Providing play opportunities to help the children practice fine motor skills, e.g., bricks, jigsaws, play dough, sand, construction kit, and drawing.
Communication and language development
You can help to support young children's communication development by:
- Showing the children what you are talking about, e.g., using natural objects/situations, pictures, books, and other visual or audio aids.
- Use straightforward sentences with words appropriate to the children's understanding and development; avoid over-simplifying language and do not use 'baby talk' – children need to hear the adult speech to learn the language.
- Using repetition to introduce/reinforce new vocabulary and ideas. Do not make the children repeat things repeatedly; this is frustrating.
- Copying the children's sounds/words, including any extensions or corrections to positively reinforce and extend the children's vocabulary, sentence structures, etc. E.g., if the child says 'ball', you could reply 'yes, that is Tom's ball'. Or if the child says 'moo!' you could reply, 'yes, the cow says 'moo'!' Never tell children off for making language errors; it will only make them reluctant to communicate in the future. Making mistakes is part of language learning.
- Looking at the children when you are talking with them. Remember to be at the children's level, e.g., sitting on a low chair or even on the floor.
You can help to support young children's literacy development by:
- Providing plenty of opportunities for children to talk – children who are effective communicators often transfer these skills to reading and writing. So provide plenty of opportunities for discussion, e.g., after television programmes, stories or games, talking about critical features, such as questions like what was learned from this cartoon? What did you understand? What do you think was wrong or right? Etc.
- Providing opportunities for children to follow instructions following a series of intrusions will give them superb skills in order and sequence and develop their math abilities. Be clear and explain that the order of achieving the activities is essential. E.g., pick up your toys and wash your hands. Next, pick up your toys, wash your hands and come to the kitchen. Etc.
You can help to support young children's literacy learning and development in mathematics by:
- Encouraging children to use and apply mathematics to tackle and solve everyday practical mathematical problems. Examples include changing shop play and authentic shopping trips (addition and subtraction). Exploring volume and capacity during sand and water play by filling various containers to encourage understanding of complete, empty, half-full, half-empty, nearly-full, nearly empty, more/less than, the same amount, then introduce the idea of standard measures, e.g. litre of juice, a pint of milk, using weighing and measures activities, such as shop play(using balance scales to compare toys and other items); real shopping (helping to weigh fruit and vegetables); sand play(heavy and light); cooking activities(weighing ingredients to show the importance of standard measures).
- Encouraging young children to explore numbers. E.g., looking for shapes/sizes and making comparisons, price tags and quantities in the shop.
- Encouraging children to compare, estimate and measure a range of everyday objects, e.g., developing an understanding of length using mathematical language such as tall/taller/tallest, short/shorter/shortest, long/longer/most extended, same height, same length.
- Helping children to tell the time: o'clock, half past and quarter past the hour.
Understanding the world
You can help to support young children's understanding of the world by:
- Providing plenty of opportunities and materials to increase the children's curiosity, e.g., "Treasure baskets- write a series of commands and put them in the basket, such as eating candy, read five pages of your favourite book, choose the dinner today, etc., let your child take one paper every special day. Making it fun and engaging will help your child to be evolved in activities that can help them develop various skills.
- Encourage children to be observant by pointing out details in the environment, e.g., colours, shapes, smells, and textures; exciting objects such as animals, birds, and vehicles; talking about weather conditions; taking them on outings; gardening; keeping pets.
- Providing opportunities and materials for exploratory play, e.g., exploring the properties of the sand in sand, e.g., that wet sand sticks together and can be moulded, while dry sand does not stick and can be poured. Water plays with plain, bubbly, coloured, warm, or cold water to help children learn about the properties of water, e.g., that it flows, splashes, runs and soaks. (For both sand and water play, provide small containers)
- Providing opportunities for repletion and gradually more challenging activities by encouraging children to play with materials, toys, and games more than once; each time they play, they discover different things about these activities. However, do not push children too hard by providing too complex activities; instead of extending children's abilities, this will only put them off due to frustration.
- Encouraging the use of taste and smell senses through activities such as cooking; finding out about different tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty; finding out about different smells – sweet and savoury, fruit and vegetables, flowers.
- Participating in children's play to extend their learning by asking questions, providing answers, and demonstrating possible ways to use equipment when the child is not sure what to do. For example, a child can become very frustrated when struggling to do a jigsaw, but make sure your help is wanted (and necessary); use verbal prompts to encourage children to solve the problem themselves.
Expressive arts and design
You can help to support young children's development in the expressive arts and design by:
- Providing opportunities for creative activities such as painting and drawing: provide variety in drawing and painting activities by offering different materials, tools, e.g., chalks, pastels, charcoal, felt tips; sponges, other sized brushes, rollers; different sized paper, different textures.
- Providing opportunities for model-making clay, play dough and plasticine. Use commercial construction kits (e.g., Lego explore, Mega Blocks, Stickle Bricks), wooden blocks or clean and safe 'junk' materials to enable children to create their designs.
- Providing cooking activities: cooking offers a similar experience to working with play dough or clay, except that the product is (usually) edible. Include 'no cook' activities such as icing biscuits and making sandwiches.
- Providing imaginative/role play opportunities that encourage children to explore different roles positively and promote language and communication, e.g., position/pretend to play, such as dressing up.
- Providing activities that help children to develop their music skills: music offers an interesting and exciting way for children to be creative, e.g., making their own combinations of different sounds and rhythmic patterns and tunes. For example, introduce children to rhyme by clapping out the beat of a verse or a song. These skills will also help the children's language and communication skills, especially their early reading skills.
- Providing plenty of exciting experiences to provide stimuli for art, drama, and music activities. For example, books about famous artists, playwrights, and composers; displaying copies of famous artwork; visiting theatres, art galleries, concert halls and other suitable music venues; inviting theatre-in-education companies, local theatre, and music groups to perform within the setting; inviting parents/grandparents to read or tell stories in community languages.