The start of the New Year is the perfect time to start preparing pre-schoolers for their transition to kindergarten. In Ontario, children are eligible for kindergarten the year they turn 4 and elementary schools will begin accepting registrations as of mid-January (for specific registration dates and times and a list of required documentation, please contact your local elementary school).
Starting kindergarten is a big transition in a little life and, in some instances, may be a child’s first experience in a structured school environment. Our staff will be preparing children enrolled in the preschool program for this transition but there are ways that parents and caregivers can assist their children as well.
Elementary schools typically offer an orientation for parents and children. This includes the opportunity to meet the teachers, visit the classrooms and learn about the kindergarten program. This is also a great opportunity for children to meet their future classmates and start forming relationships. It may also be a great time to set a meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss any questions or concerns ahead of time.
There are also kindergarten prep classes that are offered by private instructors/institutions where children can familiarize themselves with some of the activities and routines that will form part of their new curriculum.
Practice New Skills
In kindergarten children will be learning new skills such as coloring, forming letters and cutting out shapes. Take the time to practice these skills with children. A kindergarten orientation package will often include activities so parents can help their children develop these new skills prior to the commencement of the school year.
If you’ve had the chance to make the acquaintance of other children and their parents set some time to meet and get to know one another. Being familiar with some of their peers prior to the start of the school year will help with the transition.
Be sure to talk to your children to help them through any stresses they may be feeling about this new experience. Help them manage their emotions and answer any questions they may have. During this time try not to let your own emotions show, focus on listening and being encouraging.
Run a First Day Trial
Help your child prepare for the first day by discussing their routine and perhaps even walk through the events of the day. If possible take them on the route they will be taking to school, show them the area in which they will lining up etc.
The transition to kindergarten need not be an anxious time for both children and parents; with some preparation everyone can take on this new experience with ease. Best of luck to our graduating pre-schoolers and all children who will be taking their first steps along this pathway to education.