This month Topic: Transitions for the Child
What is transitioning?
Transitioning is the switch from home, preschool, child care or any other facility to kindergarten. Transitioning from preschool to kindergarten is the most crucial, important and overlooked area in early childhood education. Here are some tips that will help for the transition process.
Why? The transitioning from Preschool to Kindergarten is a critical time for your children’s further academic success and development. Children change from one stable setting they knew to another, with which they are not familiar at all. They face changes like a new big building, new and more children, a new teacher and friends, fast paced curriculum and higher academic standards. They have difficulties adjusting to the new classrooms where the rules, routines, atmosphere, or philosophy and learning style may differ dramatically from the preschool and child care settings they attended before.
The transitioning to kindergarten has a big impact on the child’s further development and this is the most over looked area in early childhood education. Therefore it is important to know different strategies beforehand to make the entrance to Kindergarten as smooth as possible. Parent’s involvement plays a big role.
That is why we as the parents, and child care provider need to help the child to become familiar with all the new circumstances to make the transition to Kindergarten or other places, easier for the child.
Transition Time Line for Prekindergarten
September - November (the year before Kindergarten)
• Find out what kindergarten program are available in your community
• Request an enrollment package from the Kindergarten
• Visit a classroom to see if you like their teaching style and setting
• Find out what their application and admission policies are
• decide to go private or public?
January - March
• Find out when to register your child
• Find out if any additional admissions are required
• Schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to make sure that his or her immunizations and health screenings are up-to-date
• Start talking to your child about school
• Point out the building when driving by
• Stay positive and excited when you talk about school (e.g. fun projects in kindergarten, etc.)
• Visit school with your child (open house or arrange with school) to see the building layout and where the cafeteria, bathroom, classroom, coat hanger, library, etc. are
• Sign up for summer camp if your school offers it
• Meet other classmates for a play date (ask school for class list)
• Have teacher visit your home to meet child and family
• Review school police to see what they offer for transitioning
• Read books about kindergarten to familiarize the concept of kindergarten
• Walk by the school and play on their playground and peek through the windows
• Adjust sleeping schedule
• Get to know the bus route and other students to have them walk and sit together on the bus
• If school offers practice trip with school bus take advantage of that
• Go shopping for clothes and school supplies, involve your child and let the child pick – this give him the sense of some control
• Label all your child’s supplies (back pack, folders, Blocks,) ask your child to help
• Find out how you can become involved in your child’s classroom, school committees, and the PTA.
Day before school
• Have your child write or draw a picture for the teacher
• Lay out all school supplies and clothes for Day 1
What should I know about transitioning a preschooler with special needs?
If your child has special needs, you
may have additional decisions to
make about the length of your
child’s school day, different school
sites, or program types. It is
important to begin working with
the school team as early as possible
so that everyone, especially your
child, feels comfortable with all the
changes that will occur. For incoming
kindergartners with special needs,
the federal special education law
(i.e., the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act) allows the school
team to develop either an Individual
Family Service Plan (IFSP) or an
Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Book Reference about transitioning
Corduroy Goes to School by Don Freeman
Prepare for preschool with a lift-the-flap tale starring a favorite bear.
Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee
Calm starting-school anxieties with this laugh-out-loud tale about a girl trying to "cram" for kindergarten.
Don't Eat the Teacher by Nick Ward
Nibble away at first-day jitters with a humorous look at what NOT to do in school.
I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
School is a breeze when a mother's love is there to see you through it.
I See a Leaf by Grace Maccarone
Laugh at how first-day gifts to the teacher get a little out of control — then try activities that help strengthen school skills.
It's Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
See how a savvy mom responds to her son's increasingly silly "what ifs" about school.
Little Miss Spider at Sunny Patch School by David Kirk
Go bug-eyed for these eye-catching arachnid antics.
Little Rabbit Goes to School by Harry Horse
A beloved wooden toy runs amok on the first day of school. But will Little Rabbit want to leave it at home?
Miss Bindergarten gets ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Prepare for a new year with a rhyming romp starring animal schoolchildren from A to Z.
My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
Artfully depicted, this story of a Korean immigrant's adjustment to school will resonate with all kids entering an unfamiliar place.