One of the hardest and most important things you will ever do as a parent is providing your children with a good education. No matter your socioeconomic status, you want your child to have the best possible education and in todays competitive world that can can mean a kindergarten interview.
We want to make sure that you are both ready, so let’s look at how to help yourself and your child prepare for this interview. As teachers, we are not fans of introducing competition this early on in education at all!
However, we all have to play the hand we are dealt, and as these kindergarten interviews become more and more popular a lot of parents are being caught not knowing how to prepare. We look at a few steps to help you in this article.
Parent Tips Before the Interview.
No blog post,( not even ours) internet guru, or book is going to teach you how to remain calm in the face of adversity. You will get better at these things as time goes on.
However, we can provide you with some tips for remaining as calm as possible. one of the things to remember is it is likely that the kindergarten interview is likely to be more about you than your child!
Don’t Stress to Much About a Kindergarten Interview.
You will hope that your little one aces the kindergarten interview, and you will worry about his or her answers. Don’t! You need to let go of the illusion of perfection. Educators know that children get nervous, don’t want to participate when it’s time, and are strong-willed.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed because your child is human. They will make mistakes, and you shouldn’t be so focused on perfection. You aren’t a perfect parent (you are fantastic, though), and teachers already know that.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Deep breaths, closing your eyes, and visualization techniques can keep you calm. Listen to the right kind of music to help you relax. Go for a walk or a run if you need to get some energy out. This demonstration is actually good for your children to see.
You can do this together, make sure that you all have a good nights sleep before the interview the night before and arrive on time as well! Rushing around before hand will stress you and your child. Plan your time well!
They will see that nervousness is not a bad thing, but practicing calming techniques can be effective. Be their role model and things will go much smoother.
Help Your Child Feel Comfortable
When your child senses nervousness from you, they will feel nervous too. They will want to do well and not disappoint you. It is most important to let them know you will help them prepare and only want them to be happy. Let them know that doing their best is the best thing they can do. You will not be disappointed.
Let them know what is going to happen, tell them they will have to play with some other children listen to and answer some questions, and just to be themselves. If they don’t sense the tension from you they will perform much better. Which leads us to the next point.
Understand the Purpose
Yes, the point of the kindergarten interview is to get them into the best school possible. However, even neighborhood schools do kindergarten assessments. These assessments are meant to help your child once they arrive as students.
They want to know how well your children perform cognitive, motor, self-care, and language-oriented tasks. They are not there to scrutinize your child and judge them or you as a parent. They need to make sure that they are prepared to handle all the needs their students have.
Even advanced students have individualized needs. They need more enrichment than other children. These assessments are not designed to be harsh, just helpful. the issue is usually when to much competition is introduced outside of the actual kindergarten, in peer and parent groups
Example Interview Questions for Parents of Kindergarteners.
Preparing Your Child
Your child will probably not care much about the kindergarten interview, but you understand how important the right school is for them. You don’t want to skill and drill them until they are exasperated. They are still very young and you want them to see it as place they can enjoy attending, not one that is full of stress.
Talk About What the Interview Will Mean
Talk to your child about what they will experience and when. Say things like “On Tuesday, you are going to see a new school. We might want you to go to that school. Some of the teachers and people who work there might ask you some questions. Today is Friday.”
Using words like kindergarten interview are not important to your child. Understanding what they are expected to do is important to them. You might even review some of the questions they might be asked. You might just ask the questions as though you want to know.
Children don’t mind talking about themselves. Here are a few of the questions or tasks that may be asked in this type of interview.
Example Tasks at Kindergarten Interview
- Children are likely to be asked a series of questions to see who puts up their hands and wants to answer. Checking confidence levels rather than knowledge.
- These questions will be fairly simple, who do you live with, what is your favorite animal and the like. It is trying to put children at easy and get them talking to both the teacher and amongst themselves.
- They may uses stickers or little gifts ( as they will do in class as well) to offer some extrinsic motivation for the students as well.
- They may be asked to recognize shapes and colors, and almost certainly some type of alphabet and number recognition tasks included as well.
- There may also be some reading / listening tasks asking children to try simple comprehension skills and inferencing as well.
- Understanding of instructions will be checked through out the activities and interview. (all teachers like their instructions followed!) It may even be done with a simple game like Simon Says or similar.
Example Kindergarten Interview Questions For Children.
- Can you count to ten? How high can you count?
- Can you write your name?
- When is your birthday?
- Do you know your phone number?
- Who lives in your house?
- What’s your mom’s name? Dad’s name?
- Do you have brothers or sisters? What are their names?
- What’s your favorite food?
- What do you like to play with?
- What’s your favorite toy, dinosaur, animal, or book?
Review Expectations of Behavior and Hygiene
Children know what they are expected to do when they aren’t with parents; however, for many children, this will be one of the first experiences in a school environment.
Encourage your child to follow house rules, even at school. Hitting, biting, throwing, and screaming are not allowed, and you should remind them of this. Review the process of handwashing and cleaning up after themselves too.
Spend Time with Your Child and Other Children
The more time your child spends with you, the more they will retain those home expectations. We know that you may need to work, and we don’t mean that you don’t already spend time with them. However, it is easy to let them play while watching television or surfing the internet.
Take some time to share toys and practice playing together. If they are only children, consider some playdates with friends to reinforce those cooperative play rules we mentioned above.
How they relate to others is a key factor of most kindergarten interviews. It may be the first proper time some children have been in a group setting and this takes practice.
Expose Your Child to a Variety of Experiences
Experience is how most people learn, and children learn through play. Children need to experience many things. They enjoy science centers, playgrounds, educational television, and time with friends. Art projects, basic science experiments, and math games do not have to be formal, either.
Make learning fun for your child by letting them explore the greater world around them.
Practice the skills that may be requested during the interview. Let your child experience these skills with your expertise to teach them. Show them how you learned to tie your shoes. Let them learn to stir brownies or build a rocket with Legos.
There are many skills that you will teach your children just by living your life. However, the best memories are those that you create when teaching them the secret ways to do things.
If You are looking for some resources to use with your kindergarten then you can check out our free readers, and activities here. which can be downloaded and printed to practice with at home.
Questions To Ask Kindergartens and Teachers
As i always tell my children ( usually end of primary though) an interview is a two way process. Where as we don’t expect your kindergarten age children to quiz teachers on their philosophies and teaching ideals there is nothing stopping you from doing so.
All reputable kindergartens will welcome (reasonable) questions as it both provides them a chance to demonstrate their professionalism, and shows you as a dedicated and thoughtful parent who wants the best for their children.
We have some things you can ask below, and of course you can add your own questions to these as each kindergarten is different.
- Are all of your teachers fully qualified?
- What is a typical day for children at this kindergarten?
- Do you have staff training for new methods and ideas?
- What do you aim for each child to know before then go to elementary school?
- How do you deal with different abilities of children?
- Do you welcome parent interaction in the kindergarten? and how do you communicate with parents?
- How do you deal with discipline at this kindergarten?
Children love their parents and want to please them. Be sure that they know you will not be disappointed if they do not do everything right during their kindergarten interview. Be sure that you interview the school too. You are also there to figure out if the school is right for them.
Sometimes you will walk into a school and know that the school is wrong, and other times you will need more input. Go into interviews with an open mind. You might think that a school is perfect for you, but then you get there, and it doesn’t meet your needs.
Schools and children need to be comfortable with each other. Make the best of this process but don’t worry if things don’t go perfectly.