It's back to school time already, and perhaps this year you have a little one heading off to school for the first time and joining the ranks of kindergarten students everywhere. If that's the case, you're likely feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation, as you wonder how your cherished babe will survive the big world of school, and whether or not they will be happy, safe, and cared for in their kindergarten program.
You are probably also wondering what their teacher is like, if you haven't met them before. Many parents often have worries about their child's teacher and whether or not they'll be a suitable match for their child. Here are 10 things every kindergarten teacher wants you to know.
10 Your child is ready, honest
You might be in full panic mode at the thought of your child heading off to kindergarten this year. As parents, it's really hard for us to see our little ones as being ready to go to school. You might be wondering, how could they possibly be ready for school?
They are. Believe it or not, your child is ready. If they are the proper age for kindergarten, then they are ready, and they will be just fine. Not only will they be fine, they will thrive. They are ready to learn. Sure, they might have some bumps along the way, and there will likely be tears sometimes, but more than anything, kids want to learn. Your child is ready, honest.
9 The teachers know what they are doing
Teachers nowadays have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree coupled with an additional diploma in teaching, depending on where they're from. Teachers also tend to be life-long learners, going back to school to further their education, achieving Master's degrees, doctorates, and other additional qualifications, in order to further enhance their teaching skill.
In other words, your child's teacher knows what they're doing. They have a wealth of training and experience, and they use many different skills and practices to ensure that your child gets the best possible education and experience at school.
8 Your child is not perfect
It's a hard truth to realize as a parent, but it's a fact: your child is not perfect. Nor are they supposed to be! They're kids! Kids make mistakes, kids are learning boundaries, and kids are developing their social skills. All of that is perfectly okay. What isn't okay is thinking that your child is a perfect angel and incapable of doing anything wrong, because that's simply not true.
If your child's teacher lets you know about something your child did that day that wasn't alright, hear the teacher out, get the facts, and understand that it's ok if your child made a mistake that day. Mistakes are a part of learning, but they won't learn a thing if you continually defend them and shield them from consequences.
7 You are a team
You're all in this together, and your end goal is all the same: for your child to have a happy, successful school year. The teacher wants to be on your side, and they want to work with you to ensure that your child is successful.
In order for children to have a great year at school, it is crucial that parents are involved, supportive, and positive. The learning can't end once your child walks out of those classroom doors. Work with the teacher, be a team, and your child will have an awesome year.
6 Your child might be withdrawn or teary after school
Ahh, the delightful after-school gauntlet. You never quite know what type of child will be getting into your car at the end of the day, and this is especially true when they are just starting school and getting used to the new routines. It is quite likely that your child will quietly get into the car, respond with one-word answers, demand food, and possibly cry.
Kids work exceedingly hard all day long to listen to their teacher, be kind to their friends, follow the rules and routines, and hold it together. By the end of the day, they are exhausted, emotionally and physically. Just give them love and understanding. Offer a hug or a cuddle, give them a healthy snack, and let them have some time to decompress.
5 Teachers genuinely care and want the best for your child
Yes, we all have those horror stories of the rotten teacher who was miserable to us when we were kids, and who all the kids hated because they were so mean. However, keep in mind that these bad apples are the smallest minority in teaching, and that the majority of teachers are amazing, thoughtful, passionate, and just want the best for your child.
Don't let your memories of one bad teacher taint your image of teachers today. Go into this new school year with an open mind and an open heart, and trust that your child's teacher is in this profession because they care about children, they are passionate about teaching, and they want to help kids to love learning.
4 Healthy lunches are really important
Healthy lunches and snacks are so important for your little one. This is what fuels their bodies and their brain throughout the day, and they need that to learn properly. If you are sending your child with heavily-processed foods, junky snacks, and sugary juice boxes, your child is going to struggle to maintain emotional regulation, pay attention, and will likely have an energy crash mid-way through the day.
That's not to say you have to be creating fancy, Pinterest-worthy lunches every day. Invest in some little containers or Bento boxes, as these are a great way to provide little bits of healthy food that your child will enjoy. Choose a reusable water bottle over sugary juice boxes - they're not only healthier for your child, they're environmentally-friendly too.
3 If the teacher says there may be a problem, please listen
This is so important, and it is likely the most dreaded conversation teachers have to have with parents. Sometimes, after some observation in class, the teacher will notice that a child is having difficulty with a particular skill in school. Maybe it is the way they interact with other children. Maybe it is an academic skill that just isn't developing as it should be.
Regardless of what the difficulty is, the teacher recognizes the importance of having the conversation and figuring out a plan to support your child. They need your help and support to do that, so it is crucial that you listen to them and keep an open mind.
2 Your child will have rough days, and that's ok
Not every day is going to be a good day at school, and that's okay! Children are learning and growing, and sometimes there are issues at school that are challenging for them. They might be sad or frustrated when they get home, so you can help them work through the difficult day.
If they want to talk about what happened, be an open ear for them to talk to. Don't jump in offering advice, solutions, or opinions right away. Just listen. When they are finished, ask them if they'd like some advice on how to handle the situation. Likely, they will have a better day tomorrow.
1 Building social skills is just as important as reading and writing
One of the most important things all children need to develop in kindergarten is their social skills. For many of them, this is the first time they're consistently been around a larger group of kids their own age.
In kindergarten, your child will learn social skills, from sharing to turn-taking and conversation skills and problem solving. While the academics are important, and you want your child to be learning how to read, write, and do math, how they interact with others will actually play an even larger role in determining how successful they are later in life. Be supportive of the play-based learning that they will be doing, and help them to develop those social skills at home as well.