Kindergarten is the beginning of your child’s academic career. Whether your child attends a public or private school, this is a big year!
Your child will develop a wide range of skills, including social and emotional development, cognitive development, language and literacy, and physical development. Your child’s kindergarten teacher will help him reach his goals.
1. Social and Emotional Development
In their early years, children develop social and emotional skills that help them experience, regulate and express a wide range of emotions. These skills are important to a child’s sense of well-being and to their ability to form positive relationships with adults and peers.
These social skills also build a foundation for children to succeed in the classroom. They include being able to manage strong feelings, focus attention, and persist at challenging tasks.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to help children develop these important skills, especially in kindergarten. The quality of your child’s interactions with you and others, as well as the opportunities you provide, will have a direct impact on their social and emotional development.
To see how these skills develop, observe preschoolers in your program and take note of their behaviors. Identifying children who need additional support can be very helpful in building social-emotional skills in the children you work with.
2. Cognitive Development
As children progress into kindergarten, they start to acquire more advanced cognitive skills. These include attention, memory, language abilities and learning.
During this time, they are also beginning to use their imaginations to learn new things and explore new worlds. Using their imaginations helps them make sense of their surroundings and helps them understand concepts like space, money and telling time.
In addition, they begin to develop metacognitive skills, which means they have the ability to think about and understand their own thoughts. In this way, they can make decisions about their own actions, which in turn helps them develop their own learning strategies and abilities.
The development of these mental processes has been the focus of a great deal of research in recent years. Two of the primary traditions in this research have been structuralist and functionalist.
3. Creative Play
Creative play is a great way to help your child build their communication skills. You may notice that when your child is immersed in a creative activity they will often chat to themselves about what they are doing and come up with new ideas and solutions.
The opportunity to use a variety of materials, like crayons, paints, clay, paper and scissors, is important for children’s creative development. They should be allowed frequent opportunities – and lots of time – to explore these materials and their imaginations.
Creativity is an essential skill that your child needs in order to thrive both socially and emotionally. It also helps them develop essential intellectual and physical skills.
4. Physical Development
Children develop a range of physical skills during their early years, which include fine motor (small muscle) and gross motor (large muscle) development. They also develop their senses of sight, touch, smell, and sound as they explore their environment and interact with adults in a variety of ways.
Babies use these senses and the movements of their arms and legs to support their heads, sit up, and crawl. They also control their large muscles to walk, run, jump, and skip.
A child can develop physical skills with the help of parents, teachers and caretakers. However, caregivers must stimulate and encourage infants and toddlers to master these skills.
Caregivers and teachers must plan activities that are vigorous and age-appropriate for infants and toddlers to foster physical development. They should provide opportunities for gross motor skills, such as walking and running, and fine motor skills, including hand-eye coordination and the use of utensils and self-care.