No matter how many children you have, sending them off to their first day of kindergarten is a big deal! It’s the first day of many years to come in the education system. Once you’ve been through the system for a while it probably seems crystal clear, but with child number one you’re left with a lot of questions.
There are a couple of important types of preparation that need to be made for your child’s first foray into formal education. First, is ironing out the logistics. When does it start? How do we enroll? And so on. But, you’ll also want to know how to help your child prepare academically and socially for what they will experience in the years to come. Here are some questions that touch on each of these issues.
What age does kindergarten start?
In the State of Florida, kindergarten begins at five years of age. Specifically, a child must be five years old by September to enroll in kindergarten during that academic year. It is required that all children begin school by the age of six.
Can my kid start kindergarten early?
The answer to this is yes, and no. Yes, there is programming available for children under the age of five, no it is not officially kindergarten. The state of Florida provides free education to students beginning at age four. This free year of education is called Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) and is an excellent program for children who are ready to move on from preschool but don’t yet make the cut.
How do I know if she’s ready?
The window for beginning Kindergarten is rather small, somewhere between the age of five and six you are required to enroll your child in some kind of kindergarten program. Some families choose to homeschool children making their readiness for school less critical. However, if you’re in the majority and planning to send your child to a private or public school for their first year you may want to review a list of readiness guidelines with your child’s new school.
What should my child already know?
You will be amazed at how much your child learns during their kindergarten year. And there are a few things that you can begin preparing them for in advance. First, it’s important to take the time to read with your child. Children who read together with their parents at home tend to pick up language more quickly and learn to love reading as much as their parents do.
In addition to the academic goals that your child should meet, it’s also important that she is emotionally and developmentally prepared to begin her education. This includes the ability to use the bathroom on her own and socialize with peers. If you have specific questions about this we urge you to contact us directly for more information.
No matter where your child falls on the readiness spectrum, kindergarten can be an exciting and productive experience when families work together with teachers and school administrators toward their children’s success. For more information about the kindergarten program at St. Barnabas, contact us today.