Getting ready for school begins at home - The Learning Partnership offers some tips to ease the transition

    TORONTO, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - In just a few short weeks, thousands of children
across Canada will be embarking on their journey of lifelong learning - and
the first part of this adventure starts with Kindergarten. Just like when a
family is planning a vacation, parents and their children should be prepared
for the adventures that await them in the classroom.
    To help ease the transition into the classroom, The Learning Partnership
(TLP), a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing a
strong public education system in Canada, is providing strategies and resource
ideas that will enable parents to help prepare their children for the start of
Kindergarten by introducing early literacy and numeric learning skills through
    "Starting school is a huge milestone for both the child and parents,"
says Veronica Lacey, president and CEO of The Learning Partnership. "More than
ever before, it's important that we reach out to parents and teachers - and
help provide them with the necessary tools to make sure that children are
given the opportunities to succeed at school."
    Recent research used by The Learning Partnership has shown that when
parents are given the proper early learning resources for use at home,
pre-school children are better prepared for school and learning. Furthermore,
parents who establish a foundation in early learning for their children at
home are better prepared to support school success and lifelong learning.
    Keeping this in mind and recognizing that preparing children for school
can be a challenge, The Learning Partnership's CEO Lacey recommends that
parents and children use early learning materials and engage in play-based
activities which will help their children with the transition to school.

    Top tips for early learning and a successful transition into Kindergarten

    -   Take every opportunity that comes along to talk to your child - ask
        questions and answer questions. This will not only develop the
        child's language skills but also nurture curiosity.

    -   Reading begins with talking and listening. Read to your child and
        talk about books to help develop your child's listening skills and an
        interest in stories and print.

    -   Talk to your child about letters and numbers and do fun activities
        with them to help your child develop number and letter awareness. For
        example, when at the grocery store make a game of looking for items
        with a letter that is the same as your child's initials.

    -   If English is your second language, speak to your child in the
        language that is most comfortable for you. ESL parents should
        continue reading and talking in their first language to their

    -   Initiate activities with resources such as crayons, safety scissors,
        construction paper, glue and playdough to help your child develop the
        finger control and the coordination they need for writing as well as
        encourage their creative expression.

    -   Chant rhymes and sing songs to help your child play with language as
        well as hear and recognize sounds and learn new words.

    -   Encourage independence: help your child learn to get dressed; express
        feelings, thoughts and needs clearly to others (such as going to the
        washroom, getting a beverage).

    -   Help your child make choices, for example: which clothes to wear,
        what activities to do.

    -   Give your child opportunities to play with other children, share and
        take turns.

    -   Introduce your child to their teacher, bring them to their new
        classroom so they are familiar with their new environment, and know
        what their school day will be like.

    These learning activities can be used by any parent who has a pre-school
child. Take an interest - and with the right resources packed in the knapsack,
both you and your child will have a great day at school. Remember, getting
ready for the learning adventure begins at home. And when your child comes
home, talk to them about their day because tomorrow is going to be full of new
learning adventures.

    Established in 1993, The Learning Partnership is a national
not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing a strong public education
system in Canada through innovative programs, credible research, policy
initiatives and public engagement. Since its inception, more than three
million students and teachers have participated in one or more of TLP's
programs, including Welcome to Kindergarten(TM), Take Our Kids to Work(TM) and
Canada's Outstanding Principals. For information on TLP, log onto

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: George James, The
Learning Partnership, (416) 440-5124 (w) or (416) 402-3783 (c),

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