Counting Down to Kindergarten!
Wondering about your child’s transition from preschool to kindergarten, or what the expectations are for your child?
- Kindergarten expectations can vary by school. We recommend that you be in touch with staff from your child’s kindergarten school to see what they say. Attend their registration and orientation events to get more information and ask questions about your specific situation. We have posted some district info on our website, or check out www.kresa.org for more information. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, try your local library or neighborhood association for internet access.
- We frequently post activities, helpful hints and links to other resources on our facebook page regarding kindergarten readiness. If you “like” our page, you will get our posts which typically come out a couple of times each week.
- The Michigan Department of Education website has parent guides that may answer more questions you have about preparing your child for kindergarten. They also provide guides for kindergarten grade level content expectations for English Language Arts and Mathematics. These will inform you about what your child needs to know by the END of kindergarten. That may give you a road map for what he/she will learn DURING kindergarten.
- Here are some fun books that you might find at your local library that can help your child be aware of kindergarten routines:
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kindergarten - But Didn’t Know Who to Ask by Ellen Booth Church.
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
- The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
- Tiptoe Into Kindergarten by Jacqueline Rogers
- Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy L. Carlson
Common Reactions to Kindergarten
Jane Larkin writes about these common reactions that children may have when approaching the transition from preschool to kindergarten (from Helping Preschoolers Transition to Kindergarten):
She recommends these things you can do to help:
- Acting out: During periods of transition, some children will misbehave at home and school as a way to express anxiety or fear.
- Clinginess: It is common for preschoolers to stick to a parent, teacher or another child that he or she will be going to kindergarten with for comfort.
- Pushing friends away: Some kids will purposely push friends away or be mean as the end of school approaches as a way of creating distance, making leaving preschool easier.
- Nervous habits: When a child is anxious about something such as graduating to kindergarten, he or she may develop nervous habits for comfort such as chewing on clothing or hair, and nail biting.
- Tears: For children who feel sad about the transition to kindergarten, the days and weeks leading up to preschool graduation may include periods of crying and talk of how much friends and school will be missed.
She recommends these things you can do to help:
- Create a loving environment: Provide a warm, nurturing environment at home where a child feels unconditional love.
- Set standards for behavior: Have rules and be clear what is and is not acceptable behavior.
- Develop a routine: Knowing what to expect at home makes dealing with changes outside the home easier. Have a predictable schedule including a set mealtime and bedtime. Try to eat dinner as a family as much as possible.
- Be observant: Watch for changes in a child’s behavior at home and communicate with teachers regarding any changes in behavior at school. Let the child know that some children feel sad or nervous when leaving preschool. Ask how he is feeling.
- Talk about it: Ask questions, answer her questions and address her concerns. Try starting the conversation by mentioning a preschool field trip and then “ask, ‘I wonder what trips your new teacher will take you on?’”
- Listen: Listen to a child’s questions and concerns carefully so each can be addressed and reassurance provided. Let the child know it is okay to be sad, excited, scared or maybe all of those things at once.
- Share: A parent might share a story about a situation when he or she felt the same way about a change and how he or she handled it. Demonstrate for the child that he is not alone and that many people have similar experiences – even grown-ups.
- Stay connected: Provide reassurance that children will see preschool friends after graduation. Stay in touch by scheduling play dates during the summer and the new school year.
- Say goodbye: Have children say goodbye to teachers and friends. Make or purchase small gifts as a way for the child to recognize someone special. Let a child know it is okay to cry or feel sad. Learning how to say goodbye now, will make it easier later in life.
Questions before Kindergarten
KC Ready 4s’ parents who have already experienced their child’s transition to Kindergarten recommend that you consider and talk to your child’s school or teacher about these things:
- Are there classroom rules that we should know about?
- What should we know about drop-off and pick-up?
- What is the daily schedule and when will my child have gym, art and music classes?
- Will there be other teachers or para pros (aides) in my child’s classroom?
- How can I best reach my child’s teacher or the school office – phone or email?
You are your child’s best advocate! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take time to get to know your child’s school staff and teacher. Offer to volunteer in the classroom. Find out other ways to get involved in school events or projects. Help other parents who might not be as READY as you are!