It is not too early to start thinking about kindergarten! The transition to kindergarten is a milestone that families anticipate—sometimes with excitement and sometimes with apprehension. It’s a transition that means adjusting to new schedules, riding on school buses, experiencing academic expectations and working with teachers, adjusting to classroom environments and making new friends. Here’s a few things to help make the transition as successful as possible.
1. Check early registration options. Many school districts begin the kindergarten registration process in February or March. Early registration has MANY benefits. One of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to obtain a kindergarten readiness list. This will give you and your child’s preschool teacher plenty of time to work together as a team. In addition, early registration will allow you to complete the required paperwork in advance, participate in school orientations, social activities and open houses; have opportunities to meet the teacher and attend parent information nights; become familiar with hours of operation, transportation options and before and after care requirements, etc. Ohio families can visit the Ohio Department of Education website for pages dedicated to learning and developmental standards of all ages. Northern Kentucky families can visit My Pre-K for resources.
2. Model an excited, enthusiastic and engaged approach towards learning and school. Readiness is a state of mind and not a state of knowledge. Talk to your child about how the change will look. Ask questions and encourage your child to do the same. Spend a few quality moments every day discussing school while reading together, giving a bath, taking a walk or riding in the car. Children are sensitive to feelings of adults around them so a positive attitude towards school will be contagious.
3. Practice social interactions. Organize simple play dates or take trips to free events at local libraries, book stores, parks, etc. Emphasize the importance of positive interactions along with observing your child.
4. Try out different routines. It is imperative to start testing routines early. Set a bedtime and a wake-up time as well as a regular morning routine. Have a weekly or monthly menu for meals, and line up clothes and footwear in the closet so they are ready to wear for a week. Limit media time and focus on meaningful time together as a family.
5. Designate a comfortable study space. Create a serene space where your child can spend time reading. This will prepare them for the day when they will spend doing school work in this space. The space should have good lighting, basic material like pencils, paper, erasers, sharpener and be a media free space.
This article was written for the February 2019 edition of Parent Source.