If your child is starting Kindergarten this fall (or you have a preschooler who will be reaching this milestone in the next few years), you may be feeling excitement and panic. I know I sure was back in 2019 when my eldest was starting “bid kid school.” Throw in being seven months pregnant, and I was that stereotypical mom that cried at anything and everything.
The transition into Kindergarten can be scary not only for your little one but for you as well. There’s a lot of chatter on the internet (thanks Google & Facebook mommy groups) about Kindergarten being more rigorous and academically focused than when we were kids back in the 80s & 90s. I found it easy to get preoccupied with the ABCs, addition, and getting those Bob books with my daughter who just was not interested.
Maybe you are like me, feeling like you need to up the preschool and kindergarten-prep workbooks or find some elaborate activity schedule on Pinterest. However, here’s some great news for all the tired mamas who feel like their plate is already filled: Kindergarten prep is less about academic skills and more about social, emotional, and behavioral development.
Michelle Vigil Wick is a kindergarten teacher for Manzano Day School, and she took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about what she sees as needed skills for a successful kindergarten year.
Preparing for Kindergarten Is Teaching Life Skills
From my discussion with Michelle, my main takeaway was that preparing your child for kindergarten is not all that different from teaching them the skills on how to be a successful grown-up. Cooperation, resilience, internal motivation, and curiosity are traits we all need to succeed not only in school, but in our careers, our families, and society. In a way, this makes kindergarten seem even more monumental. However, on the other hand, you are already working on these skills and traits day in and day out with your little ones.
So dear mama, you don’t need a ton of workbooks or special computer games to get your child ready. (Unless you and your kiddo love that type of stuff . . . then totally go for it!) Personally, I’m going to focus on being more intentional about providing my children opportunities to practice resilience and foster their own curiosity throughout their daily lives.