Countdown to kindergarten

You've been waiting patiently for the day your child goes to "real" school. It's almost here. Follow this timeline for a handy guide to help her put her best foot forward on the road to lifelong learning

Right now Register. For children born in 2003, signup for your local Junior Kindergarten begins in February. To register, you will need the following documents:

• Child’s birth certificate (or proof or Canadian citizenship or residency)
• Record of immunization
• Ontario health card
• Emergency contact information
• Two proofs of address (such as a driver’s license or utilities bill with your address on it)
• A baptismal certificate for TCDSB schools

Immediately if not sooner Lay a Strong Foundation. To help her succeed once she gets to the “real” classroom, practice basic skills at home. According to Baila Goldfarb, Principal at Jesse Ketchum School, “Read to your children every night. Talk to them, take them shopping, draw pictures, buy magnetic numbers and letters for them to experiment with.” She also suggests practicing key skills such as sorting (by doing laundry together!) counting, sharing, and getting dressed on their own. Worried about social skills or separation anxiety? Library programs, playgroups, preschool day camps as well as Ontario Early Year Centres provide many opportunities for growth in both literacy and social skills. If you have other specific developmental concerns, discuss these with your principal when you register your child.

In June Visit the School. Explore the new school ahead of time with your child. If he gets a chance to meet the teacher, see the classroom and play for a short while in the schoolyard, he will feel much less anxious when the big day finally comes.

In July or August Check off that Check-up… Take your child for a complete physical exam. Make sure all required immunizations are up to date. Also invest in hearing and vision tests.

In September Gradually rewind late summer bedtimes. The new routine will be just too hard if he’s yawny!

The Day of The first day of school can be nerve wracking and tearful — for you! Keep a stiff upper lip if you feel weepy, and bid farewell to your child with a firm, “Have fun!” Then go. Don’t hang around — the more resolute you are, the quicker your child will adapt to the new situation. And adapt she will! Most children find kindergarten an exciting and enjoyable experience.

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