Transitions can be challenging for a young child. Leaving preschool and entering kindergarten means new rules, learning methods, teachers, peers, and surroundings. Without proper preparation, adjusting to these changes isn’t always easy. For that reason, it’s vital to aim for a smooth transition for both you and your kindergartener.
Learn how to prepare for kindergarten so you and your child feel ready for the change.
Why Is a Smooth Transition to Kindergarten Important?
Proper school readiness encourages a smooth transition for the student, which is important for many reasons. An effective transition from preschool to kindergarten lends itself to engagement, enjoyment, and success in the learning environment. Here’s a look at how a smooth transition impacts each of these areas.
Kids who feel ready for kindergarten are more likely to be engaged in their education. They’ll feel the desire to attend classes every day and the motivation to participate in the classroom. When a student is engaged, they join activities, stay on task, and feel interested in the topic at hand. Students who are engaged in school tend to earn higher grades, and many of them build academic goals, too.
Being prepared for kindergarten can make school less daunting and more fun. If your child is prepared for an effective transition, they’ll feel less stressed and anxious when the first week of school arrives. As a result, they can dive into kindergarten ready to love what they’re learning and enjoy the classroom environment.
Every child is different. While some may be ready to face kindergarten head-on, others need a bit more time to get ready for the transition. That’s exactly why a personalized education is effective. Therefore, you should consider your kid’s unique needs before sending them off to kindergarten.
This strategy might mean meeting with their teacher before school begins so they can build a level of trust. It could also mean hanging out with future classmates so they know who’s going to be in their class. Either way, keeping your child’s needs in mind will help them build confidence going into kindergarten.
Tips for an Effective Transition From Preschool to Kindergarten
Making the transition as smooth as possible is fundamental for a student’s readiness for the next grade level. But how do you transition from preschool to kindergarten? As a parent, you can use several strategies to help your child feel prepared. Try the following methods in the weeks leading up to the first day of school.
1. Encourage Them to Share Feelings
Make sure your child feels comfortable and well-equipped to share their feelings with you. If they know how to effectively recognize and label their emotions, they’ll be more inclined to voice them — and you can help them feel better as a result.
Try sharing your own emotions with them in different situations. You can also use books, pictures, and other tools to identify feelings in others. When your child does share feelings, practice active listening and praise them for being open with you. These efforts will help you address issues head-on. For example, if your child shares with you that they’re overwhelmed in their new classroom, you can take steps to help them feel calm.
2. Attend an Orientation
Be sure to attend orientation before kindergarten. It’s the best time for you to learn about the school system and what you can expect, helping you know how to prepare your child. Take this time to ask questions, share concerns, and more. This way, you have the knowledge you need to get your kid ready for school.
3. Meet Their Teachers
It’s a smart idea to meet your child’s teacher before the school year begins. This step will allow you to learn about the teacher’s expectations, practices, and plans for the year. A parent-teacher meeting also gives you a chance to ask any questions you might have.
4. Get Supplies Ready
Get school supplies ready in advance. A student is more likely to feel prepared if they have folders, pencils, erasers, and anything else they might use in the classroom. If you’re unsure what to buy, you can ask your kid’s teacher for a checklist. Go shopping with your child so they can have some fun picking out their supplies for the coming year.
Planning IEP Transition From Preschool to Kindergarten
An individualized education program (IEP) is a vital tool for students with disabilities. Before the child enters kindergarten, the IEP will include a transition plan with concrete steps to help them adjust. It’ll also offer details about how and when your preschool provider will share information with the new school district. Additionally, you’ll have a transition meeting with school administrators from the special education program.
If needed, you can request a reevaluation of your child. By Pennsylvania law, the transition meeting must occur sometime in the month of February for those approaching kindergarten. Be sure to plan ahead for the scheduling of this meeting to ensure your child is on track.
What Information Should I Have Ready?
Before attending the IEP transition meeting, you should have some information ready to share with the teachers and school officials, such as:
- Any special accommodations you think your child might need
- A list of issues you think are important to talk about
- Any concerns you have about the transition
- A short description of your child’s personality and unique traits
What Questions Should I Ask?
You can make the transition meeting more productive by knowing what questions you’d like to ask, which could include:
- What are the proposed objectives and placement recommendations for my child?
- What will the teachers do to support my child?
- What can I do before the school year to prepare my child?
Parents can also prepare by asking for a blank IEP form so they have a chance to review the talking points beforehand.
What Should I Expect?
You can expect a few different results from your IEP transition meeting:
- Adopt the Preschool Early Intervention IEP for the following year
- Adopt the same IEP with revisions
- Schedule a reevaluation to develop a new IEP
How CCA Helps Families Prepare for Kindergarten
At Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), we understand that transitioning to kindergarten isn’t an easy process. As a result, we offer several activities and services to help families prepare for kindergarten, including:
- Orientation: We always hold an orientation so you can meet your child’s teachers, learn more about kindergarten, and ask any questions.
- Curriculum overview: It’s helpful to know what your child will be learning in kindergarten, which is why we offer a detailed overview of the kindergarten curriculum. You can also view example lessons and a full list of elementary school courses.
- Resources: Getting started with online school requires technology and materials — we provide a laptop and technical support to get you ready for the school year. CCA also offers an Instructional Technology Subsidy that can help cover the costs of internet access.
- Special education programs: At CCA, we provide personalized special education accommodations and adaptations. Students in these programs benefit from attending kindergarten at home, where they feel most comfortable and can focus on learning. Utilizing online school for special education gives parents peace of mind.
Learn About Enrolling Your Kindergartener in Online CCA
All of the changes involved with kindergarten can be a challenge for kids and parents alike, but taking steps to prepare ensures a smooth transition. As a parent, you can encourage your child to share their feelings with you, attend orientation events, get to know the new teachers, gather supplies, and plan for an IEP. At CCA, we do our part to make the adjustment as easy as possible. Learn more about the K-5 programs at CCA and enroll in online charter school today.