A kindergarten teacher has a lot on her plate. Not only does she have to handle a large group of kindergartners on a daily basis, she must also plan lessons, grade papers and attend professional development sessions. Getting a moment alone to ask questions and check on your child's progress is difficult, so when you are finally able to schedule a conference with your child's teacher, you must be sure to make the most of it.
Is My Child Meeting Grade-Level Indicators?
Grade-level standards and indicators are a focus at every grade level, even kindergarten. Your child's teacher should know whether your child is meeting grade-level indicators, but do not just take the teacher's word for it. Ask the teacher how your child's progress is being measured and, if you have not seen any graded tests or projects come home, ask to see them. You can also download a copy of the state kindergarten standards, review them and ask the teacher about specific standards or what standards are currently being taught in class.
How Is My Child Adjusting to School?
School is new to most kindergartners, and it can be difficult for them to adjust. Your child's teacher can tell you whether your child is following the rules and procedures, as well as making friends. If your child does not like school, this question may help provide some insight into why he doesn't. The teacher may point out that your child has trouble staying awake all day or has difficulty following the school rules and provide suggestions to make the adjustment smoother.
What Is the Daily Routine?
Children have selective memories. Your kindergartner may come home and only tell you about one aspect of her day. However, your child's teacher should have nearly every minute of the school day planned out. Once you know the daily routine in your child's kindergarten classroom, you can ask your child more specific questions, such as, "What book did you read during story time?" You may also be able to incorporate aspects of the daily routine, such as snack time or story time, into your home routine on the days your child is not in school.
How Do You Discipline Students?
Even if your child is not causing problems in the classroom, knowing how his kindergarten teacher disciplines students can be useful. You can incorporate elements of the discipline system in your own home or understand what your child means when he comes home and tells you his card was flipped to yellow that day. A teacher's method of discipline, or lack of discipline, may explain why your child is having problems in kindergarten or getting in trouble frequently.
What Can I Do at Home?
Especially in the early years, it is important for parents to reinforce at home what children are learning in the classroom. However, you may have no clue what your child is learning or how to help her at home. Your child's kindergarten teacher can offer advice, suggest activities for practicing specific skills and maybe even provide you with additional worksheets or workbooks to use at home to help your child.
How Can I Help?
A kindergarten teacher's job is not easy, and many teachers welcome parent volunteers in the classroom. Your child's kindergarten teacher may jump at the chance to have you come in and help one day a week, gather materials for a craft project or chaperone a field trip, but you have to let him know you are willing to help. Offering to assist will help you become more involved in your child's education and see what really goes on in your child's kindergarten classroom.
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