When I first came to U.S., there were many things that I had to learn about first hand: health insurance, car insurance, driving ticket, SSN, driving on the right hand side, credit cards, credit history, holding the door for others, standing properly in line for you turn, saying Thank you and Sir/Ma’am so often, buying milk and juice in gallon bottles, recognizing the umpteen varieties of cheeses, giving directions for your perfect Sub …..
The list goes on.
In fact, I termed my initial stay in USA as “U start again.”
There was something else that was different, ….. education was free from kindergarten to high school……
but, school was mandatory only when kids turned 5 years old.
When I first got here, the “single me” didn’t think too much of it. In fact, I remembered huge bags that the little ones back home carried as they headed for school even before they turned 3. I appreciated the fact that children in US could stay home and enjoy their childhood to the fullest until they turned 5.
That was then.
Right since the pregnancy, doctors suggested that I start reading to my daughter. I did start reading, but more so after she was out in the world and in my lap. After the successful delivery comes the endless milestones that your child is expected to meet: Physical, emotional, and social.
Till your child turns 1, frequent doctor visits keep reminding you of the different milestones. Then there is a gap, a long gap. Well child visits are only once a year and if you are not eligible to participate in the federally funded educational programs (Birth to three, Early Head Start, Head Start, among others) and if you are not or cannot afford to send your child to daycare, then you and your child are on your own until they turn 5.
But you might have noticed your kids are growing leaps and bounds during these years: intellectually, emotionally, physically,….
You are probably amazed at how they can: craft their first sentence, solve puzzles, ask questions, try to trick you, ……
As my daughter creeps to that kindergarten ready age of 5, I wonder and I worry if she is ready yet. If we have been able to prepare her and ourselves enough?
As I was looking for that next blog – able piece, I stumbled upon President’s Obama’s “Preschool for All” plan. Of course, I couldn’t agree more. The power of early learning has never ever meant so important to me. I have seen how reading a story sparks her imagination and how after coming back from a drop-in daycare center, she is full of new information for us to be surprised by.
And after substituting in a Kindergarten class for just one day, I know that preparing kids beforehand would be the single most important gift for your preschooler.
If the general curriculum guidelines for Kindergarten that I found in momswhothink does not get you nervous then, I would urge you to check for the detailed state specific curriculum. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Kindergarten has me scrambling for more information on how to get my daughter ready for all that is listed.
As I Google for free online printables to try and keep her engaged, interested, and learning new skills; I know that when she has her peers doing it together with her, she is more excited to get it done.
A heart felt thank you to all the online resources that are out there. These valuable resources have been great resources to keep her engaged at times when I have run out of ideas for how to constructively spend a morning hour and still keep her interested and learning.
As I learn more in this area, I will continue to share but I can definitely say this:
All the flashy toys in the world will not be able to prepare your child for the real world, only exposure to the real world will.
So, here’s sending a resounding vote for President Obama’s “Preschool for all” plan.