Educators provide tips for parents of kindergartners

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, July 28, 2011

The first day of school can be tough. When students are dropped off at their kindergarten class for the first time, there can be tears and feelings of separation and fear.

And that’s just coming from the parents.

In all seriousness, quite a few parents need preparing for the first time a child begins school as much as the student does. It can be a difficult thing for parents to watch their child take a big step toward growing up.

Brenda Godbold, counselor at Jemison Elementary School, said parents and children can work together to help prepare each other for the opening day.

“Parents should give their children responsibilities at home (chores) for tasks they are able to do,” she said. “This teaches them such skills as opening, putting away, cleaning, etc. It also helps them to know that they are big enough and capable enough to be trusted with these things, and other people can depend on them.”

Stacie Porter, a kindergarten teacher at JES, said that having a child prepared with basic skills can make things easier on teachers as well as the students.

“Students need to know how to write their names, the colors, shapes, and if they knew their letters and sounds that would be a plus,” she said. “They should know how to unzip their book bag and unpack their things.”

Godbold also believes that by parents providing a positive image of school, students go into the first day with an attitude conducive to learning.

“Parents also need to start talking about school in terms of the fun they will have, the things they will learn, and the friends they will make,” she said. “After school starts, parents can spend some time each evening talking about the good parts of their child’s school day.”

Eventually, though, a parent must know when to let go, and let the student stand on his or her own. Godbold suggested starting to work on separation over a period of time.

“If the child has not been away from the parent much, now is a good time to start leaving him/her with a babysitter for a few hours,” she said. “This lets them know that they will be OK during the absence and they will also be re-united soon.”

She also stressed that if a parent or child has any issue, to see a school faculty member.

“All schools in Chilton County have quality teachers and counselors who will work with the students and parents to help them adjust to their new experiences,” she said.