Preparing Your Family for Kindergarten
February 6, 2018
Kindergarten is a milestone that parents often begin anticipating—sometimes with excitement, sometimes with dread—when children are very young. Sending children off to kindergarten comes with a variety of new experiences for both parents and children like using school buses, adjusting to large classes, experiencing academic expectations and working with teachers.
What can you do now to help your children and your family make a smooth transition into kindergarten?
1. Check early registration options. Many school districts begin the kindergarten registration process in February or March. Early registration has LOTS of benefits. You will be able to participate in school orientation and social activities like picnics, open houses, meet the teacher events, parent information nights, etc. These kinds of events will allow you and your child to become familiar with the school setting, personnel and other children attending the same school. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents!
2. Check your routines. Help your child and family have a successful start to the school year by putting routines in place that support success. Getting your child in the habit of waking early, getting dressed, and eating breakfast in the morning long before school starts will ease the transition to getting ready for school. Parents can also think about how transportation and before- and after-school care needs will impact daily routines. Don’t forget about evening routines, too. Preparing for the next day by laying out clothes, packing lunches and getting backpacks ready will help the day get off to a smooth start.
3. Check your child’s skills. While there is a lot of focus on learning letters and numbers, those often aren’t the things that help children be successful when starting school. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends observing your child to see if they can:
- listen to others and take appropriate turns for expressing ideas and questions;
- handle materials respectfully and put them away;
- sustain engagement with an activity or process;
- identify and pursue individual interests, choose materials and have some ideas about how to engage with them productively;
- be safe in relation to the group (staying within school bounds) and attend to personal needs (washing hands);
- ask for help when needed.
Helping your child successfully transition into kindergarten is a family effort!
This article was written for the February 2018 edition of Parent Source.