This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

Kindergarten. I can’t believe it’s almost here. I’ve written before about my son’s journey through preschool and how we’re so grateful that he was able to do that this year and how much he has grown. But it’s still is hard to believe that he is now old enough to go to Kindergarten and start elementary school in the Fall…where did the time go?

We recently visited the main office of his new school for next year. The Office Manager could not have been nicer and gave us everything we needed. She also was extremely kind and engaging with a shy little boy who was only slightly overwhelmed by the prospect of this very big building being his next school. We learned about kindergarten orientation night and other resources available at the school.

If, like us, you are sending a little one off to kindergarten next year now is the time to start asking questions and getting information. Schools have already started hosting kindergarten orientations and registration in Salem-Keizer School District opened earlier this month. Check out Salem-Keizer’s website here if your little one is entering one of their schools. If not, I encourage you to stop by your child’s school and ask the office staff if they have any information for you. I also highly encourage you to check out the Hub’s resource and event calendar specifically for READY! for Kindergarten classes. These are some of my favorite classes for parents as they give you free toys and activities to go along with them that can help you work with your child on the skills that they need as they enter this new world. Some other things you can do to help your child prepare for kindergarten:

-Read 20 minutes every day – a child who enjoys reading and books is much more likely to start reading on their own earlier

-Practice writing and letters – help your child learn to write their name and play alphabet games and scavenger hunts around your home, neighborhood, and everywhere

-Get social – take your child on play dates and to public places where they’ll get to interact with other kids and learn how to share, take turns and follow directions

– Get outside – most school playgrounds are open to the public during non-school hours. Help your child get familiarized with the playground they will be enjoying come September

I wish you and your (not so) little one all the best on this new adventure and hope that you’ll share your kindergarten stories with us at the Parenting Hub here:

This is fatherhood…