The transition from home or preschool to kindergarten can be a big one for kids- but it’s also a very exciting time where they will learn new things, develop new friendships and build their confidence! You may be wondering what you can do to make this process as smooth as possible. We asked our experts- kindergarten teachers and Distinctive leaders to give some pointers.
Things to Practice
It is often helpful for you to develop a quick and fun, consistent routine with your child as to what you’ll do every day at drop-off, so your child knows what to predict. This may be a secret handshake, a hug, kiss, high five, or special words.
Practice this routine when separating from your child during the summer (e.g. at daycare, with babysitter, before a playdate). Keep your goodbyes short, sweet, and simple. If your child seems worried, remind them that you love them and that you will be back to pick them up.
To help your child prepare, you can practice eating from the lunchbox and containers that they will be using. One fun way to do this is by having picnics at the park or in the backyard! Your child can practice opening and closing these items.
As you eat, you can talk about how they might not finish eating everything and that is OK. You can chat about how healthy foods will give their body energy to play and to learn.
Then, practice packing everything back up. Determine what is trash and what should return back home in their lunch box.
Let’s start learning Learning Exercises
Practice counting and letter names and sounds! Show your child a letter and make the sound together, for example- C is for c c cat.
Read to your child before bed, help them engage with storytelling.
Social Emotional Skills
Some skills students of this age are working on include recognizing and labeling emotions and building their understanding of how their emotions are tied to their behavior. To support your student, help them use the appropriate feeling word when they are having big emotions, and identify a strategy that works for them to self-manage their feelings. For many children, taking deep breaths and drinking water help. Often, children benefit from a visualization or kinesthetic activity that reinforces deep breathing. One example, Five-Finger breathing, has benefits for the adult as well.
Students in Kindergarten also are learning to recognize the feelings and perspectives of others. You can reinforce this at home by talking about characters in books, movies, and tv shows, what they are feeling, and why they are feeling that way. Additionally, if you are coaching your child through a situation where someone's feelings were hurt, this is a great opportunity to have your child reflect on why the person felt a certain way.
Encourage kids to ask questions and don't be afraid to say, "That's a great question! We'll figure that one out together," if you're unsure of an answer. Give space for all feelings. For children who express hesitation, dislike, or fear for the upcoming change, name that feeling for them and speak to how you'll be a comfort (being sure to connect the ideas with "and"). For example, "It sounds like you're feeling sad about spending more time away from me, AND I will see you at the end of each day to give you extra cuddles and hear all about the fun you had at school." Ultimately, talking about this upcoming transition early and often - and with positivity - is the best first step in starting Kindergarten in the right direction.
By practicing these simple steps and routines, your child will be ready to start school in no time! We still have room in our kindergarten classrooms for the 23/24 school year- apply today!
Thank you to our experts: Ms. Dajani (Kindergarten Teacher, CICS Bucktown), Ms. Kamin (Kindergarten Teacher, CICS Irving Park), Ms. Saric (Kindergarten Teacher, CICS West Belden), Ms. Gaw (Network Director of Student Services) and Ms. Lansing (Network Director of Clinical Services)
Enroll your child in kindergarten at one of our campuses today! DSChi.org