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How to prepare your child for kindergarten: Tips from CUSD teachers
It's summer break at Chandler Unified School District (CUSD), but the first day of school, July 19, is quickly approaching. Do you have a student starting kindergarten in the 2023-2024 school year? We asked kindergarten teachers in CUSD schools for some advice to prepare your little ones for a new chapter of their lives.
Still need to enroll? Visit cusd80.com/enroll for more information on your school choices.
Interested in kindergarten readiness testing? Children who turn 5 years old between September 1 and December 31, 2023 are eligible to participate in a testing session to assess child readiness for early entrance into kindergarten. Children who are 5 years old by August 31 are eligible to enroll in kindergarten without testing. Visit cusd80.com/KRT for more.
Advice from our teachers
"Just help your kiddos get excited for the start of the new school year. I know it brings up a lot of emotions for them and you as parents as well. Have fun picking out a backpack, a lunchbox. Just really support those kiddos to help them get excited for kindergarten." - Jodie Hawthorne at Haley Elementary School
"As a kindergarten teacher, my best advice to you this summer would be to start encouraging routines and responsibilities with your little one, starting at home ... simple things like getting themselves dressed in the morning, helping them pack their backpacks, practicing opening food items like Goldfish snack packs, setting a bedtime routine ... As the year gets started, emotions are little rollercoasters. Some days, our little ones are so excited to come to school. They wake up with big, bright smiles. And some days are a little bit rougher. We have some frowns, maybe a little tears. Just let them know that we're so happy that they're here. Once they're in our room, they're safe. They're loved. Their teachers are going to treasure them beyond belief this school year. And we're so excited to celebrate and enjoy 180 days with you and your kindergartner next year." - Andrea Bartelt at Fulton Elementary School
"Work with your child over the summer with their self-help skills. Make sure your child can button and zip their clothing. Make sure they can take their shoes on and off and if they can tie their shoes, even better. The more they learn to do on their own, the better they feel and the more confidence they get. And that's what kindergarten is about; that's all they're doing is just learning to be their own little person." - Jean Willey at Rice Elementary School
"Focus on all the fun things they will get to do in kindergarten, like meeting new friends, painting, playing on the playground, building, and reading stories. Focusing on the fun will help with the unknown. Try to establish routines over summer that include a consistent bedtime with a bath and a story. Work on a morning routine for getting dressed, eating breakfast, and brushing teeth. Our kindergarten students are used to grazing and eating slowly, so practice a lunch routine where they eat a healthy lunch in about 20 minutes." - Jacqui Hughes at Santan Elementary School
"Have your child practice writing their name and tying their shoes. Students, my advice for you is to get in the great habit of having a family member read a book to you each night. Can't wait to see you!" - Beth Padilla at Andersen Elementary School
"Kindergarten is very exciting! We love kids to come in excited to spend the day at school and to be ready to have fun. Parents, we encourage you to foster independence in your children, and we will partner with you using the seven habits with 'Leader in Me' to create independent leaders and learners who are excited about their academic future." - Stephanie Moore at Auxier Elementary School
"Be excited! Kindergarten is a lot of fun. Be open to trying new things. My advice for parents: help them with social interactions and how to act around their peers. And be present! We have a lot of fun here at Conley." - Katie Tompkins at Conley Elementary School
"Something to do with your child to grow their fine motor skills this summer is to play with Play-Doh, pinch things with clothes pins, and use tweezers to pick items up. This is going to really help your students hold a pencil at the beginning of kindergarten." - Sandra Lubian at Frye Elementary School
"As a parent of three students in CUSD and a teacher, my advice to any parent bringing a kindergartener in is to know that number one — they're always safe. We love them. We love having them. Number two — we always want you to be part of our community. So when we have volunteer opportunities or special events, we want you to be part of it. Please know we welcome you and we want you just as much as we want your child here." - Delores Perez at Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary School
"My advice for incoming kindergarten families is to help develop responsibility within your child to get them ready for kindergarten by picking their own snacks and practicing opening and closing those snacks. This will help them develop their independent skills that will help them in their classroom when they begin kindergarten." - Michelle Yirku at Jacobson Elementary School
"Practice sounds as you're driving down the road. Ask your child 'Can you tell me the first sound in this word? Can you tell me the last sound of this word.?' " - Monica Harvey at Bologna Elementary School
"Help your kids learn how to write their names. If they know how to write their name independently when they start, they are getting ahead. And if they know their letter names, that would also be awesome. And counting to 10! We're so excited for your kids, and we can't wait to see what we can do together!" - Courtney Geil at San Marcos Elementary School
"To the students: try your best! It's OK to make mistakes. Work hard. Show kindness to everyone, your classmates and staff members. Some advice for incoming kindergartners' parents: be excited about their journey! This is an exciting time for them, and they want to see that in your eyes as well. Talk to your child. Have them answer you in full sentences. This will help with their reading and writing skills ... And try to have your child build experiences in public restrooms. This will make our bathroom breaks a lot easier if your child knows what to do in the restrooms." - Tiffany Guerra at Shumway Leadership Academy
"Read daily. Not just read daily books, but if you're in the grocery store, point out signs. Have your children say what the letters are, maybe a word here and there. Environmental print is a key component of learning how to read." - Carolyn Hernandez at CTA Independence
"My advice would be to read with your child before they come to kindergarten to help build that strong foundation and that love for reading. Have conversations with them. Help them understand how to problem solve with their peers, such as taking turns, sharing, using kind words, and understanding how to regulate emotions when things don't go their way ... Above all else, we want your child to feel welcome, safe, and loved at school. No matter how many years I've taught or how many children I've had, I never had a child like yours ... We're so happy to have you here! " - Penny Meskill at Navarrete Elementary School