A Teacher’s Plea to Parents

Please please please do the following things with your child before they ever start school:

  • read to them, daily nightly whatever, and continue reading to them as they grow up, my son is in third grade and we still read to him every night before bed.  I have a friend whose daughter is in high school and they take turns reading to each other, not only does this help your child’s reading skills it’s great quality time

  • take them to the local library or bookstore and look at books, if you have a library card check them out, if you don’t WHY NOT?

  • count with them at least 1-10, count cars while driving, if you’re stuck at a train crossing count the number of cars on the train, count the clouds in the sky, anything just do some counting

  • Play number bingo in the car, “I see a 1 on the Pier 1 sign.  Look there’s a 2 and a 5 on the speed limit sign, that’s 25.”

  • sing the ABCs with them, play ABC bingo while you drive “I see an A on the target sign, or A is for Applebee’s.   Look there’s a B for Barnes and Noble.”

  • teach them their first and last name so that they can say it and recognize it

  • teach them to write this first name and if you have a long last name you might want to help them start writing it

  • go ahead and get your kiddo on the computer, teach them how to use the mouse, let them start learning where numbers and letters are on the keyboard

  • talk about colors and shapes

  • if there is something your child is particularly interested in, get books, movies, look it up on the internet but help them learn more about it

Throughout my years in education I’ve worked with kindergartners of all levels and yet I’m always surprised at what some children don’t know.  I nearly cried the December day I was working with a little girl who had just transferred to our school, using magnetic letters I put her name up on the board and said “Look what’s this?”  She had no idea.  Her name was three letters long and she didn’t even recognize it.  Needless to say she made an excellent kindergartner the second year and after that she did really well.  Another girl I worked with had two Ls in her last name and she thought that LL was a letter all on it’s own, she was not of hispanic descent having learned the Spanish alphabet ever, she just thought because they were together in her name they were one letter.  I have worked with kindy kiddos who can’t say the ABCs, who may be able to count to 10 but don’t recognize the numbers.  It’s so hard when you want all of your students to succeed and they start with so little knowledge.  Kindergarten today is not what it was 20 or even 10 years ago.  Most schools have gone to full day class, they learn more.  There is an outcry that the US is so far behind other nations in our math and science scores, and I’ll address that another time, so we as parents need to do our part in preparing our children for school.  I know I did, my poor kiddo had mom nagging him about how he wrote his name.  I refused to let him write in all capitals, I made him learn the lower case letters before he went to school, mean teacher mommy I am LOL.

Ok teachers what am I missing?  What else should kids know before they get to school?




  1. This is great – and I try to do all of these things! How about learning to take turns and follow directions? That’s something some young children struggle with, especially those who have never attended pre-school.

  2. Good one, I hadn’t thought of that. I should also add teach your child to follow playground rules things like slides are for down stairs are for up and monkey bars are to swing across not climb up and sit on. This will make their transition into school easier.

  3. Reblogged this on Cara's Blog and commented:
    This completely sums up how important cultural capital is. Children come to school with their own set of beliefs and ideas based on what they learn at home. This set of values and knowledge is crucial for deep, critical learning for children in schools!

  4. Reblogged this on One Educator's Life and commented:

    Reblogging this myself as it’s the start of a new school year and I have kindergartners who once again don’t recognize numbers 1-10, don’t recognize their last names, I even had one tell me she couldn’t write her first name. I know some kiddos have undiagnosed learning disabilities and that can be the cause of some of these problems but still parents please help out your kiddos. Get them on the right track early, and you if you’re concerned about their learning abilities talk to your pediatrician, talk to the school district you live in. Many places can diagnose kids and get them on an IEP early through Early Childhood Special Education.

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