Kindergarten For Newbies…

So, I miss teaching Kindergarten. There, I said it.

I love a new school year…new pencils, crayons, paint…. I always had fun coming up with new themes for each month and their crafts. I couldn’t wait to experience my students learning to read a word for the first time. The look on each student’s face as they sounded out c-a-t…CAT!!

Yup, it all makes me tear up. And now, some of the students I have taught are in Grade 6. How times flies. They were always my children, not just my students. I was always so grateful to the parents for entrusting me with their most prized possession. Now as a parent myself, I feel even more privileged to have had their children in my life.

So while I wait for the time to be able to go and teach again…(hopefully soon, Lord!), I thought I’d share some helpful tips for parents as they get ready to let their four and five year olds enter into the golden halls of learning this fall. Ok, golden might be pushing it….:)

These tips are by no means in any particular order. But I promise you that they will make things easier for your child….therefore your job is easier…and of course your child’s teacher isn’t left with sleepless nights thinking of ways to motivate, energize and organize your child (just saying… 🙂


  1. Show up on time to your child’s (or yours)meetings with the teacher. This really does set the tone, because in the back of her mind, you will be the one she can count on!
  2. Bring all the supplies on the supply list. Read that list very carefully. Some things need to be labeled, some do not. Help the teacher out by already explaining to your child that some things are theirs personally (their change of underwear in case of an accident!) but some they get to share with the class. One less child complaining about someone taking “their” crayons (because you carefully labeled each crayon with their name…again, I’ve seen it!) is always better.
  3. Bless the socks off your teacher! This doesn’t just mean material things like flowers, cookies, a few pretty Sharpies (my favorite are bubble gum pink, lime green & silver! 🙂 (You can find them at Michael’s in the art department individually packaged), a card telling them you are just so glad they are your child’s teacher (yes…these are suggestions:), but verbally tell your teacher they are doing great! Offer to help cut tomorrow’s art project or the bulletin board pieces (offer to put it up too-ask her for a quick sketch of where she wants things). It really is the little things, because the big things take a lot of brain power, and sometimes there isn’t much left for art displays!
  4. VOLUNTEER! Plan this out. At the beginning of each month, tell the teacher you have some free time and can come in and help her. Ask when a good time would be. Most schools have open door policies, but only after you’ve checked in with the office. It might be for a specific field trip, or it might be just an afternoon to be an extra hand during a big art project. “I have younger kids, can I bring them?” Field trip-maybe. In the classroom= don’t count on it. Why not offer to take another mom’s children for a few hours so they can volunteer and then the next time swap kids, and you go in while she babysits? Again…just saying.
  5. Bringing snacks and special treats for the class is great…however please call ahead and ask the teacher when would be a good time. Don’t just come in at lunch and bring the whole class pizza. Why? First mayhem occurs. Johnny gets excited that he doesn’t need to eat his bologna sandwich (which leads to him getting in trouble at home, because not a lot of parents believe pizza just showed up at the classroom door…leading to Johnny’s mommy calling Mrs. Kindergarten Teacher upset…which interrupted Mrs. Kindergarten Teacher’s planning for tomorrow’s math lesson….which is actually interrupting a whole lot of learning…need I say more? ) Second, the teacher now has to send a note home on the spot telling all 20 kids’ parents that they had pizza today (so the above situation doesn’t happen at least 10 times after school). You can still ask the teacher to make it a surprise.
  6. Do the homework! Yes, kindergarten students get homework…mostly because they ask for it themselves. And in all honesty, it is really for you as parents so that you see what the class has been learning, and so you can see right away how your child is doing with retaining that knowledge. And if you do it right that night instead of waiting until the next day (if your child attends only 3 times a week), then you will have a better chance of it taking your child less time because they did it more recently. The next day works too…it just might take a bit longer, but you all might be more well rested and patient. So take your pick. But please, just do it! It is never mandatory in most programs to do so, but it is to your child’s advantage and that’s what we want right!
  7. Pack a healthy lunch. Your child will be more alert & energized to get through the day. (Or snack if they attend a half day program)  Steer clear of fake snacks that resemble candy. A child doesn’t need a treat like that everyday. Observe rules for lunch time. In my classroom, we didn’t have a microwave. The reason was that I thought them unsafe. And I was proved right one year as a child in another class put a spoon in the microwave and turned it on. The teacher caught it within seconds, but imagine if she hadn’t. My second reason was, if all of my students (14) brought warm up food, times 1-2 minutes each to warm it up-and you have 15 minutes and half those children still eating because they were wasting time standing in line and therefore don’t make it outside to run off energy and then you have a crazy afternoon with restless students. The safety factor should really do it for parents. Sandwiches, thermoses are great!
  8. Call ahead if you will be late. No child likes to be the last one standing staring out the window. I’ve had over a hundred students in my care over the years and only one liked staying after school to help me. And a teacher has already had a long, 7 hour day with your cutie pie. Be courteous of her time. After school is her planning time. And that time is to make your child’s experience better, so it’s to your benefit, not just for her to gab and have a cup of coffee (don’t get me wrong…this does happen! And it’s good for us teachers! )
  9. Most of all, enjoy your child’s time in Kindergarten. It only lasts a few months and then the real work of grade school begins. Hang up those fingerpaintings dripping in glitter on your clean fridge and love & respect the teacher in your lives who loves your child almost as much as you do! (If she didn’t, she won’t be there for the money-because there isn’t much that doesn’t go right back into that fantastic, color bursting classroom!

These photos are all from my classroom over the years. I loved to “theme out” my classroom! And for doing that I have an 4’x8′ room full of teaching supplies if any teachers out there want to borrow anything! 🙂

Comment below and tell us about your favorite tip is for other parents that you’ve learned from taking your child to kindergarten!


One Reply to “Kindergarten For Newbies…”

  1. Wow great post!
    After our first week of kindergarden, I have learned that if you are confused about something, just ask the teacher!

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