Well Parents and Caregivers-you have successfully made it through the first few days of kindergarten. Kids were up dressed, lunches packed, hugs and kisses and away we went. This week parents all over will be asking “How was your day?” when their children will get home.
One instance I heard about included a mom who asked that question and the response he stated was : “I thought they were going to teach us a bunch of stuff-but they didn’t”.
Now while learning looks different in kindergarten than say 6th grade-here are a few ways to create spaces and conversations around what your child did in school today.
1. Set time aside to listen to your child. As you know there is no such thing as multi-tasking with a 5 year old. Try to set at least 10 minutes aside for the “Great Day” conversations with your child. Turn the TV/Phone off or go in a space that could create uninterrupted time for the two of you. If you have multiple children-try to dedicate a few minutes of time to each individually.
2. Use specific open ended questions and wait time. For young learners time can be an abstract concepts. I can ask a student 30 minutes after breakfast what they ate and they might share with me what they ate that morning, the night before or two weeks ago.
Has this conversation ever happened in your house:
“What did you do today in school?”……(CHILD) “Nothing”. (PARENT) “You didn’t do ANYTHING in school?” (CHILD) “Nope”.
Asking big open ended questions has your child scrambling in their brain to retrieve specific information about a very large time frame.
Instead try the following:
- Wow-look at that (artwork/item brought home from school)! Did you do that all by yourself? Tell me more about it? (for example-what colors did you use? What words did you write? What things did you draw?).
- During play time what was your favorite thing to play with today? What was cool about it?
- Which friend did you play with on the (insert child’s favorite recess activities) Slide/Swing/Monkey Bars today?
- What story did your teacher read today during whole group reading?
- (Reference lunch menu): “Did you eat A lunch or B lunch today?”
3. Use visual cues to support background knowledge. Each day we as a school community try to post a picture or two on either the Woodson Facebook main page or on a teacher’s specific Facebook page. Teachers send home information either via email/Facebook or weekly newsletters. Use that information to create specific questions for your child to answer.Where is this picture taken at in your school (i.e. cafeteria)? What do you think these students are doing?
- Do you know any friends in this picture?
- Wow it looks like this class is reading a story-have you read that story? If so what did you like about it?
- Your school greenhouse looks really interesting-when you go out to visit what are you exploring?
- In the class newsletter your teacher said you are learning about INSERT TOPIC. What are two things you talked about today regarding (TOPIC)?
I certainly hope you and your family have enjoyed the first few moments of their K-12 educational journey. It is a true honor to be able to serve our youngest students (and families) in their journey to become something amazing!