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School Transitions

Off to schoolHow can I make going to kindergarten for the first time easier for my child and myself? 

Visiting kindergarten is one of the first steps in supporting your child's education. Going on a school visit with your child can help ease the transition to kindergarten. A visit also gives you the chance to meet your child's future teachers.

CLICK to download a fun and exciting activity book for you and your child to complete during a school visit.

Some important tips before you visit your child's school:

  • Contact the school and schedule a time to visit
  • Before you visit, prepare your child for what to expect
  • Make sure you bring a camera, you school visit booklet (see above) and crayons

How can I make sure the teacher knows everything they should about my child?

If you are worried about your child, don't hesitate to call the school. The faculty is just as anxious to help your child grow as you are. The relationship between families and schools should begin long before your child ever steps in the door.

The more information about your child the school has, the better they can meet their needs and make sure you and your child have an enjoyable experience that will set the stage for a lifetime of learning.

Let your child's pre-school/child care provider get into the act; they spend a great deal of time with your child on a daily basis and have been able to observe his/her interactions with children, developmental needs, likes and dis-likes, learning style and much more.

CLICK to download an "All About My Child" chart you can fill out and give to your child's teacher

CLICK to download an "All About Me" booklet you and your child can fill out and give to your child's teacher 

How can we practice "big school" skills? 

School transition begins at home! 

Some routines teach children organizational skills. Others make it easier to separate from family when it's time to go to school. Whether you're creating new routines or adjusting how things already work at home, try incorporating these ideas to help your child get ready for kindergarten.

  • Create a place for belongings. A safe hook hung at your child's eye level is perfect for hanging a jacket or school bag. Encourage your child to store items there so they don't get lost.
  • Protect library books. If you borrow books from the library, give them a special place so they are easy to find when they are due back.
  • Practice packing. Encourage your child to pack his or her own bag when you go places, like a snack to take to the park or clothes for an overnight visit.
  • Teach proper hand washing. Children wash their hands often at school so be sure they know the right way. They should wash long enough to finish singing "Happy Birthday" twice.
  • Practice choices. Milk or juice? Red marker or green? At school your child will need to make and communicate choices by speaking or pointing. Give your child lots of chances to practice, whether at the grocery store, at a restaurant or while talking to another adult.
  • Build confidence. Children need to feel comfortable leaving their families to go to school. Story time at the library may be a good time to leave your child briefly with responsible adults or have your child spend time without you at a trusted friend's house.

How can I help my child become ready for school?

  • Teach your child to say his/her first and last names, address and phone number
  • Encourage your child to get dressed by himself/herself (it helps if clothing is easy to put on and take off)
  • Teach your child to use the bathroom and wash hands by him or herself
  • Visit your child's kindergarten classroom with your child and meet the teachers
  • Read books about going to school to your child and allow time for questions