The One Skill Your Child Should Master Before Starting Kindergarten

Language and math are important, but there's one skill your child needs that will continue to benefit him or her way after kindergarten.

Although we are just a month into the current school year, families with preschoolers are beginning the process of searching for a place for their child to begin kindergarten in 2019. For the next 10 months, parents will be preparing their little ones to be ready for entry into school, taking a look at all their children's skills to assess whether or not they're prepared for the big K. Sound like you?

Language, fine and gross motor skills, math, reading, self-care, and social and emotional skills are all key components of kindergarten readiness, but these are not the only skills that will help your child succeed.

“These are all important,” Allycia Brown, Director of Early Education and Lower School Admissions at Charlotte Christian School, says, “but I would like to add one more to the list: the ‘grit factor.’”

“After reading Dr. Angela Duckworth’s’ book, Grit, I am certain of the importance of fostering grit in our youngest learners, and that this grit factor can play a critical role in whether or not a student is ready for kindergarten,” Brown says.

Grit, defined in Duckworth’s book, is “a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal.” In the case of your child's education, this "singularly important goal" can be anything from solving a tough math problem to making new friends at school.

Through extensive research, Duckworth has found scientific evidence that grit can grow when nurtured appropriately.

 

How to Help Your Child Get Gritty

Nurturing grit begins with fostering social and emotional resilience and the ability to bounce back from disappointment and challenges. According to Brown, Charlotte parents should want to encourage and bring forth their children’s unique gifts, talents, and abilities while also teaching them the joy of learning, the gift of failure, and the importance of freedom in combination with the blessings of limits.

Here are a few suggestions for helping you build your child’s grit factor:

  • Don’t let your child quit when a task gets too hard.
  • Assign age-appropriate chores and responsibilities that build character.
  • Be attuned to your child’s emotional needs.
  • Know your child as a unique individual—there is only one like him or her.
  • Let your child’s success be his or hers.
  • Instill in your child the values of hard work and passion.
  • Set healthy boundaries, offering freedom with limits.
  • Be supportive and let them try new things.

Parents have the opportunity to set the stage for preparing their children to be successful for the days ahead. Will you help your child develop a bit of grittiness?

Brown is a big believer. "I have two children — a son who is a freshman in college and a daughter who is a sophomore in high school — and, therefore, I fully understand that parenting can be a difficult, yet rewarding, journey. Not everything that comes out of your child will be pretty, but it is in those situations that we as parents can foster an attitude of grit," she says.

"A wise parent often reminded me that my children are not only modeling what I do, but also emulating it, too. So, I have had to ask myself, 'What is my own grit factor?'" Brown continues.

If you do the math, you'll realize that your child will eventually spend more time at school than at home, so be mindful of the other people your child spends time with, whether at school, on sports teams, or elsewhere. These people have the ability to influence your child as well. For your child to develop a good, gritty attitude, it's important for the educators, caregivers, and family members in your lives to possess a little grit, too.

At Charlotte Christian School, grit is part of the program. A successful student has just enough grit, and he or she is encouraged to uncover it as they enter Charlotte Christian's Lower School. Learn more about Charlotte Christian School's kindergarten and Lower School programs to see if your kindergartner-to-be is the right fit. Or, request more information and schedule a campus tour here.