Entering kindergarten is a milestone that many children and their parents look forward to. It marks the transition from toddler and preschooler to a school-aged child. Most children move from preschool to kindergarten with skills learned in a structured learning environment. These kids have some advantage over children who stay home until kindergarten. The real difference between the two groups, however, is the parental influence. Parents often do not realize that they are the largest effect on their kids' kindergarten education, especially in the area of kindergarten readiness — even if the child comes from a preschool program.
Readiness in the world of kindergarten and early childhood education means that the child has reached a certain level of intelligence, emotional, behavioral, social and functional competence to be able to handle a classroom environment, according to researchers from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. They determined that readiness goes beyond maturity. It also includes the type and amount of support that the child has at home to help him adapt to classroom learning. Researchers found that the influence of the parents had the greatest effect on the child's level of readiness for kindergarten.
The political, social and moral beliefs that parents hold all have some effect on the child's readiness for kindergarten. Belief systems dictate not only which church a family goes to, but also the educational and social goals set for the child. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the beliefs also dictate the traits that parents believe the child needs in order to succeed in school and the working world. These beliefs begin to shape the child's attitude and approach to education from the first day of kindergarten to graduation. Thus, kindergarten readiness is largely effected by the belief systems parents hold, as they pass these on to the child early on.
The amount of effort that parents place in their child's education preparation also has an effect on the child's readiness for kindergarten. Parents who participate in educating the child at home and providing real-world learning opportunities, for example, are more prone to make children who can easily adapt to a learning atmosphere like the one found in a classroom. These parents participate in the child's readiness by taking charge of the amount and types of learning opportunities are found at home. They also partner with the kindergarten teacher to bridge the gap between learning at home and at school. These and similar behaviors ensure a child's readiness for kindergarten.
Because the household is the support system that the child will lean on throughout his transition to kindergarten, family is another large influence over his readiness for kindergarten. Families that are stable, with high priorities toward education and with enough income to support that child, are ones who positively influence the child's kindergarten readiness. These factors make a home with ample opportunities for home learning and enough support to help the child adapt to a classroom environment. Children from families who lack one or another factor in this area are often at risk for poor readiness.
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