Simple routine tasks such as learning where to put your coat and lunchkit are part of the learning curve in kindergarten

BACK TO SCHOOL: Kindergarten an exciting, challenging time

Veteran Kindergarten teacher shares her thoughts on getting started

For many children starting Kindergarten, doing so is a sign they are growing up and moving into the next stage of their young lives.

This time can bring a lot of emotions to the surface, both for children and parents.

“It’s exciting, it’s stressful, it’s great for everybody,” says Sue Ottenbreit, a Kindergarten teacher in Greater Victoria for the past eight years. “I think the big piece is it’s exciting to see the growth happening.”

While moving into the structured routine of full-day Kindergarten can be a huge step for kids and parents, she says, “with (child) number two or three, it becomes a little less intimidating. Parents want to know that their kids are going to succeed, and those first days are pretty important to everybody. We try to do our best to make people feel welcome.”

It’s clear that every child develops academic skills at their own rate. So rather than expecting children to enter Kindergarten with rudimentary reading and writing skills, teachers look more initially for their level of independence around the basics, Ottenbreit says, such as the ability to learn things like where to hang their coats and put their shoes.

“That willingness to learn to be independent is huge, it leads to confidence. (It’s) things like the ability to listen, to truly be able to hear what somebody else is saying – not just the teacher, but the other students in the class.”

Ensuring your child is ready to face the rigors of Kindergarten is a process parents can start as soon as they begin exposing them to everyday life. By giving them opportunities to explore the world and themselves, parents can help make entering a structured classroom situation with more than 20 girls and boys around their age not such a shock to their system.

“What I would say to parents is help the children encounter people in different situations,” Ottenbreit says, noting that preschool and daycare usually have a ratio of one adult for every 10 children.

As for a teacher’s expectations, especially early on, they’re usually limited to the children getting to school on time, getting settled in fairly quickly and ready to learn, she says.

“We give lots of time at the beginning for people to move into a new routine. That’s the one thing about Kindergarten, we see kids coming from different places and with different abilities and experiences. Parents need to know their kids are going to be tired, a little bit crabby, more hungry. At about week three, there will be the meltdown and the tired days and those kinds of things.”

While some of those scenarios might be tricky to manage, especially for busy parents, it’s all part of the change that comes with personal growth.

Just Posted

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

Fitness and health programming drew more than 12,000 participants in Saanich

New report also finds a gender split in programming

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Most Read