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Setting the Stage for Kindergarten Success: Navigating the Transition from Preschool to Kindergarten



Setting the Stage for Kindergarten Success: Navigating the Transition from Preschool to Kindergarten

A child attending kindergarten is both an exciting and overwhelming time. It’s a big stepping stone in their academic journey, even if they do not yet realize it. For a parent, one of the primary goals is to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Don’t worry if there are bumps along the way. It’s completely normal! Keeping in mind the following tips can help both you and your child as you enjoy the summer together before they officially become kindergarteners.

Make a preschool memento collection

Putting together a preschool memento collection is like closing one chapter for you and your child in preparation for another. There are two ways to go about it:

  1. One option is to make a scrapbook filled with items ranging from favorite drawings to a letter from their preschool teacher.
  2. An additional option is to create a memento box. This can be if you have bulkier items you want to include, such as a preschool cap and gown that wouldn’t fit in a scrapbook. Do the project together as a fun memory-making activity.

Attend an orientation

You might be invited to a kindergarten orientation, and it can be a smart idea to attend. This gives you a chance to meet the teachers and other staff, learn more about the curriculum, and check out the classroom.

Depending on the school, children may be able to attend the orientation. Bring your little one with you if possible so they can see where they will be spending a significant amount of time for the next year. It may also help make the first day a little less intimidating, especially if they already met their teacher.

Get a head start on the kindergarten curriculum

Every kindergarten class is different, but generally speaking, kids learn fundamentals that can take them through life. For instance, they’ll learn the alphabet and how to write each letter, learn how to write basic sentences, and become familiar with reading sight words, such as “I” and “go.”

Working with them at home can give them a wonderful head start for kindergarten. From using workbooks to watching educational YouTube videos, there are many options at your disposal. Make the learning enjoyable — gamification can come in clutch.

Adjust sleep schedules now

Adjusting your child’s sleep schedule the day of their first day of kindergarten, or even a few days before, can be a big shock to their system. Giving them a week or two is advisable.

There may be some resistance, but consistency is key. Stick to implementing the sleep changes now, and it can be a lot easier when it is time for kindergarten.

Establish a fun kindergarten-only tradition

Establishing fun traditions that turn into memories can stick with kids well into adulthood. Team up with your child to determine a kindergarten-only tradition.

For example, maybe every Friday can be pizza night throughout the kindergarten year, or each Saturday, you have a movie-watching session with your favorite foods. Change it up every school year, making it specific to what both of you want to do.

Get the required materials

You will likely get a list of required materials your child needs for kindergarten. Avoid getting them last minute, when possible. The earlier you buy them, the higher the chances are you can get everything you need and want. It also gives you ample time to find items on sale instead of having to pay full price.

Pick out new school clothing and items together

Another tradition you and your child can do together in preparation for kindergarten is picking out new clothing and items. It can be a great experience watching your child get excited about new necessities, like a backpack and folders. However, consider setting limits (and telling your child about them) before you get to the store.

For example, explain that they can only get one backpack even if they love five. It can help set expectations while also working within your budget.

Have multiple kindergarten discussions

Once preschool ends, start having conversations with your child about going to kindergarten. Talk about everything from making new friends to what they will learn. It can help incorporate some excitement and anticipation into the journey throughout summer rather than it being a big shock you announce only a day or two before they start kindergarten.

Be choosy with the thoughts and feelings you share

Your child will likely have some big thoughts and feelings about going to kindergarten, and, as parents, we’re always happy to hear them out!

However, it can be important to find a middle ground when it comes to sharing our thoughts and feelings. For example, if we’re nervous about how our kids might adapt socially, we’ll want to avoid sharing that with the future kindergartener.

However, it’s a wonderful idea to let them know how much you will miss them and that you are confident they will do great. Remaining upbeat and happy here can be key.

Preparing for Kindergarten Success: Summary

Having a kindergartener is a big deal! The good news is that you have all summer to not only prepare your child for the journey but yourself as well. Use this time to get ready and get excited, make new memories, and prepare for your child to experience kindergarten success.

Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.

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