As a parent, you want to ensure your child has the best chance of success in any new environment. Starting online school for the first time is undoubtedly a significant change, with new classes, teachers, and a whole new routine.
Starting kindergarten is especially important because it’s often a child’s first experience with formal learning. You can do a lot to prepare your child for online kindergarten and give them a good start to their education. Let’s dive into the top things to know before starting online school with your kindergartener.
The Importance of Kindergarten
Before getting into what a child should know before starting school, it’s essential to understand the importance of kindergarten in your child’s educational development. A successful kindergarten year significantly impacts kids as they move on to higher grades. Here are the biggest reasons why kindergarten matters:
- Kindergarten introduces kids to rules: Entering a professional learning program — even one as flexible as an online kindergarten program — can be a major transition. In kindergarten, kids learn how to have a school schedule for the first time, attend classes, and complete schoolwork.
- Kindergarten is the first building block in education: Kindergarten lays an essential foundation for future success. Kindergarten might be where a child is first introduced to science, math, or history. When kindergarteners get excited about their favorite subject or a school activity, it can build a lifelong passion for learning that boosts their entire educational career.
- Kindergarten teaches kids the essentials: Kindergarten lays the academic groundwork kids will build on throughout their school years and for the rest of their lives. This is where kids learn the essentials like numbers, shapes, letters, and more. This basic knowledge helps kids succeed in first grade and beyond.
What Your Child Should Know Before Starting
What does your child need to know before starting school? It’s a common question, and one you may have been asking yourself. In the year or so leading up to kindergarten, you can do several things at home to prepare your child for the transition. Here are the top five things to know before starting online school:
1. Mathematical Principles
Kindergarten introduces basic math concepts like simple addition and subtraction, counting up to 100, counting and comparing objects in groups, and measuring. However, teaching your child mathematical principles before starting school will help them grasp ideas more quickly. You can begin teaching your child mathematical principles with these activities:
- Counting toys or items in the grocery store to practice addition and subtraction.
- Counting the coins and bills in your wallet.
- Sorting and classifying their toys by different characteristics.
2. Fine Motor Skill Development
Fine motor skills are a significant ingredient in school readiness. Kindergarteners should be able to coordinate their eyes and hands to accomplish the small tasks they will have to do for schoolwork, like using safety scissors. To improve your little one’s fine motor skills, practice these activities with them:
- Coloring inside the lines and cutting out shapes.
- Accomplishing simple chores like scrubbing a plate.
- Washing and drying their hands.
3. Following Routines and Rules
Following directions and sticking to a routine are essential skills in kindergarten and beyond. Children enrolled in online kindergarten will need to obey rules to complete assignments, pay attention in class, and more. Practicing active listening will help your child get the hang of interpreting instructions.
Your child can practice active listening and following directions by:
- Following a morning routine, including getting dressed and eating breakfast together.
- Listening to your directions to complete a chore or do a craft.
- Working as a team to solve problems like cleaning up the living room.
4. Alphabet Knowledge
Kindergarten teaches students how to read and write. Foundational knowledge of letter names, shapes, and phonics will help your child jumpstart reading and writing. Help your child develop their school readiness with these activities:
- Tracing lower and uppercase letters on a whiteboard.
- Writing their full name.
- Using letter blocks or magnets to create words by sounding them out.
Reading to your child is another vital activity for teaching them the alphabet. Go through a variety of books, magazines, and even comics while pointing out words to your child.
5. Identifying Shapes and Colors
The ability to recognize and name shapes and colors is another building block of kindergarten. Have your child practice identifying shapes and colors by:
- Naming the shape of their toys and items around the house, outside, and at the grocery store.
- Creating shapes through building and drawing.
- Pointing out the colors of their clothes and allowing them to choose between a green and a blue shirt.
To help your child remember shapes, describe how to spot each shape. For example, say, “triangles have three sides and circles are round.”
Hear From Our Kindergarten Staff
At Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), we strive to offer personalized learning experiences to K-12 kids in Pennsylvania. Our kindergarten teachers and staff have received lots of questions about ways to prepare for online school. We’ve compiled responses to some of the most frequently asked questions here so you can help your child make the most of their online kindergarten experience.
1. What would you say is the most important thing a child should know before starting school?
Kindergarteners especially need to know how to maintain a daily school routine. Establishing a consistent morning routine and sleep schedule can keep stress levels low and help students mentally prepare for each day. Get your student into a school mindset by starting their new routine a couple of weeks before school starts.
2. What is one major takeaway that students have after completing kindergarten?
Kindergartners are learning how to learn. Yes, kids should learn to write their names, count by tens, and follow directions in kindergarten. Yet education at the kindergarten level should also be engaging and fun. Kindergarteners should finish their school year with a greater love of learning than before.
3. In your opinion, what are the most crucial elements to student learning and success?
Staying organized and committed to a daily routine is vital for success in online school. Students should get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat a healthy breakfast before starting their school day. Doing all of these things will help students focus during their classes and manage their time well.
4. How should I respond if my child is struggling?
If your student is struggling with online school, look at their habits to see if you can improve behaviors like their sleep schedule. Through CCA’s learning management system edio, you can also contact your child’s teachers virtually and ask them any questions you have. Your child’s teachers can offer advice based on your student’s performance in class and refer you to other resources. You can also reach out to our helpful family mentors for tips and guidance.
5. What can I do to support my child?
Parents have much to consider when determining how to support their children. Helping your child maintain healthy habits, develop computer skills for online learning, and get needed learning resources goes a long way.
You can also support your learner by attending parent-teacher conferences and asking lots of questions. Family involvement makes a tremendous difference in a student’s education. Working with teachers and family mentors to address your child’s academic, social, and behavioral success provides a solid foundation for your child.
Learn More About CCA Today
As a cyber charter school, CCA provides personalized instruction through individualized curricula tailored to students’ unique needs and interests. Our student-centered approach to learning gives students the flexibility to choose from standards-approved courses that interest them, helping them become active participants in their learning.
From kindergarten through the end of high school, CCA helps students gain the knowledge and skills they need to grow. Contact us today to learn more about CCA’s kindergarten programs or for help with any questions you might have. You can also browse our kindergarten curriculum overview to see our courses.