Category Archives: Kindergarten

How To Help Your Child Prepare For Kindergarten

Are you looking for ways to help your child prepare for kindergarten in Los Angeles? Kindergarten is a significant milestone in every child’s life, as it marks the beginning of their academic journey. As a parent in Los Angeles, you may wonder how to best equip your child for this exciting phase. The transition to kindergarten can be a big change for parents and children. From the daily routine, to the social interactions, to the academic skills, your child will have many “firsts” to learn and adjust to. Some parents worry about their child’s academic readiness, while others are concerned that their child may not be quite ready for kindergarten in a social-emotional sense. Some children are excited to start kindergarten, and others may be apprehensive as they don’t quite know what to expect. Not to worry, we are here to help! At Tutoring4Less, we understand the importance of a strong foundation and the positive impact it can have on a child’s educational future. These helpful tips from our tutoring company in Los Angeles can help prepare both you and your child for kindergarten. 

When Can My Child Start Kindergarten?

In California, districts must admit children to kindergarten at the beginning of the school year (or whenever they move into a district) if they will be five years of age on or before September 1. Children who are age-eligible for kindergarten may attend any pre-kindergarten summer program maintained by the school district. 

Private schools in California are not required to comply with the California statutes defining kindergarten. However, the California Association of Private Schools Organizations (CAPSO) indicates that many private schools do voluntarily the same kindergarten age cutoff as public schools. Public school officials may not automatically enroll those students, who attended a private school kindergarten, to first grade. It is always best to ask your school and/or school district if your child’s birthday is in the fall. 

When Is The First Day of Kindergarten in Los Angeles?

The first day of Kindergarten in Los Angeles may vary from year to year and between different schools or school districts. For the 2023-2024 school year, LAUSD, the largest school district serving Los Angeles students, starts on August 15, 2023. Depending on your child’s school, there may be “meet and greet” opportunities before August 15th, when your child can see the school campus and meet some of the other incoming kindergarteners or TK students. You can contact the school directly to inquire about the first day of Kindergarten for the current academic year, and any opportunities to visit the school before the first day.

What is Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?

Transitional kindergarten (TK) is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. In California, each elementary or unified school district must offer TK classes for all children eligible to attend. A child who completes one year in a TK program, may continue in a kindergarten program for one additional year. A child is eligible for TK if they have their fifth birthday between September 2 and December 2 (inclusive) and each school year thereafter.

Transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten (K) may be your child’s first-ever experience in a school setting – or it may be a time of transition, moving up from preschool to elementary school. Regardless, it’s an exciting and memorable milestone.

What Is My Child Expected To Know Before Starting Kindergarten in Los Angeles?

If you search online for “kindergarten readiness checklist California” you’ll likely find a long document describing the standards for entering kindergarten in your area. Below are sample skills that an incoming kindergarten student is expected to have:

  • Recognize and name basic shapes: square, circle, triangle, and rectangle.
  • Recognize and name numbers 1-10, even when they are out of order.
  • Recognize the letters of the alphabet, both uppercase and lowercase (even out of order)
  • Sort items by size, color, or shape
  • Count 10 objects, pointing to each one as she counts
  • Identify some letters of the alphabet
  • Know if two words rhyme
  • Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly
  • Be able to use scissors and glue
  • Hold a book and turn pages
  • Write their first name using upper- and lowercase letters, if possible
  • Learn sounds corresponding to vowels and consonants
  • Be independent in the bathroom
  • Get themselves dressed

In addition to this checklist, you may want to contact your child’s future school and ask for a specific list of expectations, to prepare your child for a smooth transition in the fall. 

Simple Steps To Help Your Child Prepare for Kindergarten: Foster The Love of Learning

Getting your child ready for TK/kindergarten is important – and chances are you have already been doing it all along! Talking, reading, and singing with your child are three simple, free ways to prepare your child for school. If you want to take specific steps to prepare your child for kindergarten this summer, here are some simple suggestions:

  1. Plan a visit to the new school and talk with your child about the things they will do at school.
  1. Read to your child every day.
  1. Explore and introduce basic concepts, such as letters, numbers, shapes and colors. For example, you might count the number of plates needed for dinner, or talk about different colors while sorting laundry.
  1. Provide plenty of play opportunities with other children. This will help your child learn to get along with others, to share toys and take turns.
  1. Play games that teach your child how to wait or take turns, such as “London Bridge” or “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
  1. Encourage your child to clean their own room and help with simple chores around the house. 
  1. Encourage independence and self-care: show your child how to get dressed, wash hands, put away their backpack or lunchbox, and perform similar daily tasks. 
  1. Give your child time to play. All children need free time to simply play. Giving your child time to play is very valuable, as playing provides children with many developmental benefits
  1. If possible, provide experiences away from you. Enroll your child in preschool or another activity, such as soccer, swimming lessons or storytime at your local library. 
  1. Make sure your child is in good health: physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually. Schedule regular wellness visits and immunizations, provide a variety of nutritious foods and be sure your child is getting enough sleep and exercise.
  1. Make a plan for before- and after-school. Make sure you and your child know the routine for before- and after-school care if that applies. Discuss where he/she will go, how he/she will get between school and child care, how he/she will get home, etc. Have a back-up plan for what to do in case you are late.

Help Your Child Develop Fine Motor Skills Before Kindergarten or TK

Fine motor skills play a crucial role in a child’s development and independence. As they master these skills, they become more capable of performing various tasks on their own. Here are some essential points to consider about fine motor skills:

  • Importance of Fine Motor Skills: Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. These skills are vital for everyday activities like dressing, eating, and writing. Studies show that early motor difficulties in preschool children had significant effects on their academic achievement up until the sixth grade
  • Building Independence: As children practice and develop their fine motor skills, they gain the ability to do more things for themselves, fostering a sense of independence and self-reliance.
  • Preparing for Advanced Skills: Strong fine motor skills serve as a foundation for more complex tasks such as writing with a pencil, using a computer mouse, or playing a musical instrument.
  • Muscle Strength and Coordination: Engaging in activities that require fine motor skills helps increase muscle strength and hand-eye coordination, allowing children to perform tasks with precision and control.
  • Diverse Activities: There are numerous activities that can help improve fine motor skills, including coloring, drawing, using scissors, threading beads, and playing with playdough or clay.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Fine motor activities like puzzles and building blocks also enhance problem-solving abilities while honing fine motor skills simultaneously.
  • Encouraging Creativity: Artistic activities like finger painting and using small utensils during mealtimes not only improve fine motor skills but also encourage creativity and self-expression.
  • Developing Handwriting Skills: Practicing handwriting and writing letters are essential for refining fine motor skills required for writing effectively.

Here are some effective ways to support and enhance your future kindergartener’s fine motor skils:

  • Engage in Playdough and Clay Play: Provide your child with playdough and clay to manipulate and shape. Rolling, squeezing, and molding these materials can strengthen hand muscles and improve dexterity.
  • Encourage Coloring and Drawing: Offer coloring books, blank sheets of paper, and crayons to your child. Coloring and drawing help refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor control.
  • Practice Cutting with Safety Scissors: Introduce child-safe scissors and let your child practice cutting simple shapes and lines. Cutting gives young children independent movements of each finger. This activity hones hand-eye coordination and builds hand strength.
  • Play with Building Blocks: Building with blocks requires precise hand movements and finger control. Encourage your child to stack, arrange, and build structures to enhance their fine motor skills.
  • Use Puzzles and Manipulatives: Puzzles and other small manipulative toys are excellent for fine motor development. Assembling puzzles and handling small objects improve problem-solving abilities and fine motor control.
  • Try Threading and Stringing Activities: Provide large beads or objects with holes and a string for your child to thread. Stringing beads involves careful hand movements and helps develop focus and patience.
  • Involve in Finger Painting: Finger painting is a fun way to boost fine motor skills and creativity. Allow your child to explore colors and shapes using their fingers.

Tutoring4Less Prepares Students for Kindergarten in Los Angeles

The transition to kindergarten is an important milestone, and at Tutoring4Less we see dozens of students make this transition every fall. If you would like assistance with helping your child prepare for kindergarten academically, as well as to practice independence, organizational skills and social interaction, our Los Angeles tutoring program may be right for you. Although many parents associate the word “tutoring” with subject-specific help after school, our program provides strong foundational skills for students of all ages, as well as those entering kindergarten in the fall. Contact us for a free assessment and to discuss whether your rising kindergarten student would benefit from our services. 

Study Habits For Elementary School Success

Study Habits To Help Your Child Succeed In Elementary School and Beyond

As parents, we have a lot on our plates. When a child asks for help with homework, or when you find that their report card is not looking as good as it could, the idea of sitting down to help your child with homework after a long day may sound daunting. But a few simple study habits can go a long way to helping your child succeed. You don’t need to spend hours doing homework with your grade-schooler every night. Instead, you can help them develop strong study habits that will come in handy not just this school year, but for many years to come, even in your child’s professional life. 

Good study habits don’t come naturally to grade-schoolers. As a leading tutoring service in Los Angeles, we work with students to develop study skills while they gain mastery of the material for each subject. Today we are sharing a few tips for helping your child develop strong, effective study habits. With these tips, your child will be more able to effectively use their study time, minimize homework frustration, and enjoy more free time to play or do what they love.

Time management, focus, and balancing self-care are essential skills in the real world. Helping your child thrive in school prepares them for all of life’s demands. Perhaps you can even learn a thing or two about managing your own time! 

Set A Fixed Time For Homework

Most elementary school age kids in Los Angeles have busy schedules. After a long day at school, there are sports, extracurricular activities, playdates, or after-school care. In Southern California, we also have extra time in traffic to contend with. By the time you get dinner on the table, homework may be the last thing on your child’s mind. The key to avoiding late-night meltdowns over homework is to officially put homework on your child’s daily schedule. 

In general, it is recommended to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as possible with your child’s schedule and family commitments. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the more slowly the homework gets done.

Sit down with your child and schedule homework time together. Set a start and end time, and be sure to plan for study breaks. Then, help your child stick to their new schedule. It may take a couple of weeks to find a groove, as interruptions or distractions come up. Stay consistent with the schedule and remind the entire family that homework time is a priority. You can use technology to help you: set reminders on your phone to make sure time doesn’t get away from everyone. After a while, study time will become a regular and expected part of the day. And studies show that children with a structured routine tend to feel more secure and less stressed

Teach Your Child To Create A Dedicated Study Space

As parents, we picture our children doing homework in a quiet room with perfect lighting and no distractions. In the real world, that is not always possible. No dedicated room for homework? No problem. You can create a portable “homework station” to keep all of your child’s school and homework supplies handy.

Furthermore, some kids can actually focus better when surrounded by other people. Left alone in their room, they may easily become distracted. Good news is, a student can make just about any study space more productive. The key to a dedicated homework space is consistency and boundaries. If your child loves doing homework at the kitchen table, perhaps you can set aside an area where they can set up a “pop-up” homework station. Then, during dinner time, it gets cleaned up.

The kitchen table can be a great space for younger children to work. But as your child moves into middle and high school, they may crave more privacy and a larger dedicated space for their textbooks and devices. If it’s time to upgrade their desk, one way to encourage a dedicated homework space is to allow them to decorate their new space. When their study space fits their style, they will be more likely to enjoy using it. You may need to experiment with a few different types of homework setups before you arrive at the optimal solution for this school year. Then, you can start over next year. 

Set Regular But Short Breaks

Research shows that taking purposeful breaks from studying to refresh your brain and body increases your energy, productivity, and ability to focus.

Many professionals use the Pomodoro Technique to increase productivity — working for 25 minutes, then taking a five-minute break. This is a great place to start when planning study breaks as well. Depending on the age of your child, even 25 minutes can be too long to sit still and focus on homework. Try out a few options, see what works best for your child, and be flexible. Once you settle on a study break schedule, plan some simple activities that can help your child relax, but not be so distracted that it is difficult to regain focus. 

Here are some ideas for fun short study breaks:

  • Stretch
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a dance break
  • Grab a snack or a glass of water
  • Do 10 jumping jacks
  • Play with building blocks, play dough or a similar fine-motor activity

Try to avoid screen time and TV, which can be very addicting and hard to end after just a few minutes. Save those activities for when homework time is done for the day. 

Prioritize Regular Exercise and Sleep

We know that physical activity has great health benefits for our children. But did you know that children who are more physically active have better academic performance, memory, and attention? Daily exercise will keep the brain active. During study breaks, or before and after study sessions, encourage your child to get outside. 

Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services recommend that children and adolescents age 6 and older get at least an hour a day of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity. Children should do vigorous activities, such as running or biking, at least three days a week.

If that transition from school to home to studying is difficult, try exercise to move the mind forward. You don’t have to spend a lot of time here. A 10-minute bike ride or a 5-minute yoga session may be just the trick to moving on to the next phase of the day.

Now, let’s talk about sleep and homework. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours. According to the CDC, Children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. 

Children who experienced sleep problems had lower performance outcomes on tests of reading than their peers who slept well. New research published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology suggests that sleep problems may negatively affect children’s reading ability.

Parents can support good sleep habits by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule during the school week and on weekends. This means going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. Create a relaxing sleep environment for your child. Make sure the bedroom is clutter-free, dark and conducive to great sleep. A cool bedroom, between 65 and 67 degrees, is ideal to help kids sleep.

Study Habits For Grade Schoolers and More at Tutoring4Less 

Developing good study habits can be tough, and your child needs your help to succeed. Good study habits are essential for developing children into lifelong learners. A lot of this list involves you, the parent, helping your child learn the dos and don’ts of studying. Looking for more ways to help your child succeed in school and beyond? At Tutoring4Less, our mission is to empower our students with the skills needed to become confident thinkers and independent learners that strive for academic success! Schedule a free assessment for your child, and learn how we can help them improve by as much as an entire grade level.