What Makes Kindergarten Teachers Crazy?

Guest Post

By: Susan Case

Cure a Kinder Teacher’s Pet Peeve

 What is your five-year-old’s favorite word? Their name! Help them learn how to print it with only the first letter capitalized. Many children enter kindergarten knowing how to print their name – but it is in all caps. This is frustrating to the teacher because she must teach them to print it with only the first letter capitalized (as encouraged by the first grade teachers). You will also be helping in the reading process by emphasizing the lower case letters as print is mostly lower case.

 Children of this age are tactile learners meaning they like to touch and feel to explore their world or use their five senses. Here are some ways to help your child learn to print their name:


  • Form letters with pretzels, M&Ms, cheerios, marbles, rocks, pasta, buttons, or whatever they like. Encourage your child to move their fingers over the letters. Make it fun and use lots of praise
  • Lightly print your child’s name and have them trace it in “rainbow” colors or using different crayon colors over the letters. Or make dots forming the letters and let them connect the dots. Children love markers, especially scented (buy washable).
  • Put shaving cream on a surface. Help your child trace their name in the mixture. They will love to help you clean away those crayons marks and germs which the shaving cream dissolves.
  • Make play dough and let your child roll out the play dough into worm or snake shapes. Then help them form the letters for their first name and run their fingers over the letters. Feel the stress release as you roll play dough snakes. Take deep breaths and enjoy being a child again.


My Favorite Recipes for Play Dough


2 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 cups water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 teaspoons cream of tartar


Mix and heat until ingredients form a ball. Add a touch of food coloring or scent such as peppermint, orange extract or vanilla. Store in a covered container or closed baggie.


Play Dough—No Cook

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tablespoons alum (in spice section)

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 ¼ cups boiling water

Mix, knead, and store in a covered container.


© 2011 Susan Case


Susan Case knows kindergarten. Check out her BLOG:

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5 Comments + Add Comment

  • Excellent post, Susan. Such good info and tips. I had no idea you could make PlayDoh without cooking it.

    Best wishes,
    Jackie king

  • I will have to make sure my niece who is four is well-prepared when her big day comes to enter Kindergarten. I don’t know what I knew back then but times were different. I do remember my failure at telling my phone number to my first grade teacher as we had so recently changed it. When I learned it, I printed it by my name on the papers for school and I think I omitted my last name that was required. My teacher seemed a little peeved and said that was where my name went and not my phone number.

  • Oh no!! My son goes to Kindergarten next Wednesday and he doesn’t do it that way. I am sure my daughter did because they made her do it that way in preschool, but my sons preschool didn’t really teach writing at all. I a going to sit down with him right now!

  • Great post! Super ideas and love the clay recipes.
    BTW, thanks for following…I came to check out who you were…and I’m so glad I did. I was a kindergarten and Head Start teacher for many years…my book for parents and teachers of preschoolers was published last Sept. Would love to guest post if that would be appropriate for your blog.

  • Great post, lots of practical tips for teaching your child to read and write their name without them even realising that’s what you’re doing!

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