kindergarten - FamilyEducation
06/24/2007 at 06:16 AM

I have a four year old who will be starting kindergarten in August.  He has not been formally diagnosed with anything except for some learning delays and he has speech therapy.  He is very social, but sometimes his speech and quirky behavior make it hard for him to make friends.  We just started to attempt birthday parties.  I know he is going to be successful and I just want to help him along.  What things can I do to help him with kindergarten?  Any good websites or books?

Hey nboydkearsey,


Is your son in a daycare or preschool class?  My daughter is an only child and the only daycare she was ever in was a homebased daycare, so the summer before she went to kindergarten, I put her into a preschool class so that she would have some experience with the structure of a "classroom" environment.  I think it helped with dealing with a teacher and also with deal with a classroom full of kids.






Our school encouraged parents to bring the child to the school before it started and let them play on the playground and get comfortable. Go to the meet the teacher night and let your child get acclimated to where everything is. I was worried about my youngest,who turned 5 the week before kindergarten started,  but she fooled me and ran right to her classroom, didn't even wait for me. If you are worried about interaction with other children and he does not go to daycare, try going to the park, McDonalds playland, library activities, a children's museum, some place where children gather and let him go (keep a watchful eye over him) but let him try to get his social feet wet.  Think of them as practice kids--many children learn by repetetion.  You may have some social issues, simply because of his age and rate of maturity in relation to the other children. If your teacher is like either of the ones my kids had, your child will learn pretty quickly what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

Miss Bindergarten gets ready for Kindergarten is good (there is a series of these).

In the interest of being a proactive parent and wanting to be prepared, my oldest has speech  and processing issues and it is not always easy to understand her. She gets speech services through the school, but reading and writing based activities are difficult for her. Reading to your child every day is of the best things you can do--books on all kinds of subjects and re read books so that you child "can read them." When it comes time for him to start learning to read,  Reading A-Z is pay website, but they have have many great resources. You can download free samples. is a sister site to the latter and free.  They have busy work,  puzzles and printable books.  I also like . 

Phonics may be hard for him, so if you have access to software (such as Reader Rabbit) or Leappad products that teach letter sounds, this will help. There are websites that teach letter sounds. Leapster is good, it is like a video game, with diffent programs and also helps with sustaining a pencil grip. They are patient and understanding, they never yell and always say, that's not right, try again. has links to free emergent readers that you can print.

Sequencing games (bare feet, socks, shoes), spatial activities (look for your teddy bear under the chair), playing age/interest/attention span appropriate board games teaches one to one relation which helps in reading activites and math. 

Playing with dice, dominoes, poker chips, anything they can count. If your son is like my oldest, he will be a visual learner and will learn well with manipulatives--things he can touch. My oldest is pretty good in math, it is concrete once they understand what the number is.

Both my kids learn well with phyical movement, i.e. getting into a karate stance, k-i-c-k and then you kick and say the word or using finger puppets. Singing is great teacher too, I believe I was told a child is 54% more likely to remember a song (a kindergarten teacher told me this, I don't remember the exact number--she didn't teach it to me in song, ha, ha)

Playing with playdough, blocks, cars, magnetic letters, things with velcro and lacing are good for fine motor skills.

The Williamson Little Hands has a series of books with simple teaching activities you can do with him.

Develope a positive relationship with his teacher(s) and the school admininistration from day one, because if you need something they are who you are going to have to go to. Ask questions when ever you need and if you are concerned with his progress you should be able to request parent teacher confernces. Kindergarten is not like grades going forward where papers are given a measurable score. They are looking more for grasping of concepts,  getting your child used to interacting in group, sharing and increasing attention span, but they do start teaching acadmenics that they didn't teach when we went to kindergarten. 

 If your son has learning issues, read up on IEPs and 504 plans and understand how they work and what they can do for your son.  It may be up to you to get the ball rolling if they are needed.


Most kindergarten teachers have already dealt with a wide range of special needs and will pour on the special attention. Just talk to the teacher, maybe email him/her once a week for a progress report at first, then once a month. They are the experts and can give you advice.

FYI, in elem school, my son had a friend with very obvious speech problems because his tongue was malformed. Now they are entering high school and with all the special help he got in elementary school he is now one of the very popular boys (too popular to hang out with my son anymore), especially with the girls. No one can tell he had to go to a speech therapist in elementary school. They are miracle workers.

I have a five year old boy with the same problems. Pre-K has helped him a lot my son is a only child and he did not attend daycare my husband and I think that had a lot to do with his speech . He is very social with other kids but sometime he get confused on word like who, how, and what. The more often your son is around other kids the better, read to him and ask questions thought out the book. Talk to him everyday ask him questions about his day. Who did he play with? What did he have for lunch? Whatever you can think of with excitement. He is going to be fine. Goodluck!Parent

There are a lot of posts w/ good suggestions here. As a parent of a 5 yr old in spec ed, I've learned to not overwhelm my son w/ too much at once. Pushing him to do something when he's not ready has backfired on us. Choose a specific time of the day for you and your child to sit quietly and work on age appropriate activities. Take things slowly, and break them down so as not to overwhelm your child w/ too much at once. Structure the activity to your child's level, and make it fun. There are a lot of great interactive books w/ pictures that you and your child can discuss to help develop his speech and creative thinking. For socialization, you may want to look into social groups that teach children how to interact appropriately w/ one another. We found one through our local hospital. Also, play groups, trips to the park and regular play dates help children develop social skills. Exposure, exposure, exposure. Oh, and my son is a bit quirky too. No harm in that. They'll learn. Just give it time. Good luck!