By Marissa Hutter
Today’s Kindergarten curriculum has advanced. Whether you attend public or private school, children are expected to be reading and writing stories by the end of Kindergarten. They have a certain number of sight words to be memorized. They take written tests and get graded. The transition from a play-based preschool, to an entirely academic day has challenged our children in new ways. The curriculum has changed, however, children’s developmental needs have not. Children today still require the same social, emotional, and cognitive foundational skills that were once offered over the course of Preschool and Kindergarten.
Yes, the transition into kindergarten can be difficult. But ultimately, building a foundation of confidence and resiliency will equip children with the mindset, motivation, and capability to succeed in school.
How do we prepare children to be inquisitive, knowledgeable, confident, and resilient in a developmentally appropriate way?
We begin in the very early years by helping them build confidence and resiliency. Bottom line. No matter how difficult school is at any age, even for a frustrated 5 year old, a confident and resilient student will be a life long learner. They will love learning. A confident student ultimately believes they can do anything. And combined with resiliency, their confidence doesn’t dissipate with disappointment. Rather, they try again. And again. They get creative and grow from mistakes. They feel accomplished and independent when they finally figure something out. But the real beauty of this creative process is what fuels the child to continue to try and persevere.
3 Ways to Build Confidence and Resiliency at Home
1. Give your child space to get frustrated and work things through
While they learn through our guidance, they also learn through trial and error. When your child is learning a new skill, he or she is also building the ability to go through the learning process. It may take a few tries, days or even weeks. This is the beginning of resiliency.
2. Model making mistakes
If you make a mistake around your child, bring it to their attention. Verbally state something along the lines of “That’s not what I meant to do, or hmmm, that didn’t work out. Let me try that again.” They will pick up on your natural reaction to frustration, so those real time mistakes are great teachable moments. If you have a child who has perfectionist tendencies, it could be helpful to intentionally make mistakes and verbalize your process of trying a few times before you get it. It can be very simple like a drawing or building something with blocks. But try not to make it perfect in the end.
3. Encourage independence
Children can be doing a lot for themselves by the time they enter Kindergarten,
such as setting the table and clearing their plate, preparing their clothes and backpacks for the next day. Try setting up a time to food prep with your child and create healthy snacks that are easily accessible in the fridge. They can pack their lunches and make a snack. The list is endless but feeling a strong sense of independence and capability builds confidence, responsibility, and takes just a bit off your plate.
Marissa Hutter, M. Ed, is the director of the KinderPrep™ and Early Elementary division at Academic Achievers. She is certified to administer the Gesell Assessment to learn a child’s developmental age and supports tutors in incorporating developmental needs into a highly individualized curriculum.