Transitions, From Old Memories to New Beginnings
As we begin the ending of the calendar year, our children are going through a whole different kind of change; the transition from preschool to Kindergarten. It is one of the biggest changes our children face as a young person. In this blog I am going talk about some ways we, as a parent/childcare unit, can make this transition easier for our children.
While researching some information to be able to write this blog, since this is my first time, (wink wink) I came across a fact that said, “Effective early school experiences can close achievement gaps in a child’s educational career.” It is such a true statement and is the reason why we do what we do here at Mary Lee Johnston.
What we know:
· Transitions work better when we know what to expect.
· By planning we can adjust and approach new experiences in a positive way.
As for Kindergarten….
The complexity of an elementary school’s social environment is so different that your child can be facing the hardest thing they have to go through for the next few years. When moving to Elementary School from a preschool setting, there is first and foremost less family connection with the school. There is also less connection with the teachers themselves whom, in preschool you see twice a day every day! There are also so many MORE children and OLDER children, that when our little ones are used to being the oldest and most independent ones around, those 4th and 5th graders can be a very intimidating thing. Children starting Kindergarten are made to be so much more independent than they were in preschool and have so much going on, as those bells are ringing and they are going from their regular classrooms to specials for the very first time, it is everything to understand that they can get overwhelmed VERY easily. Another thing for some children but not all, depending on circumstances, is transportation. Weather that may be riding in an after-school organizations van or getting on a school bus for the first time, it’s such a huge change.
As you can see, there are so many transitions taking place in this one change that our little ones need all the help they can to get through this as smoothly and as least frightening as possible!
Here are some things we can do as their parents and teachers to make this the best possible transition they can have;
The first step we take as a child care facility is to align preschool and Kindergarten practices within our classroom. We try to make everything as similar as possible so when the time comes for our children to progress to a new school they will be familiar with some of the things they are seeing in their new setting. We go over any academics that are needed for Kindergarten, we make sure they know all the criteria that is expected of them when starting in Columbia Public Schools, and we also know what is expected of them socially so we can plan activities based on those social expectations. We also speak with them as much as we can about their transition when the time comes to make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
All of this can help reduce our children’s stress to help them have a higher rating of social and emotional competence at the beginning of the school year.
As for you!!!!
Parent participation in transition activities prior to a new school year is strongly associated with children’s self-confidence, their liking of school, and their overall happiness in Kindergarten. Here are some tips to help you help them!
· Have your teacher give you a copy of their lesson plan if it relates to this transition.
· Come in for any and all planned activities that are made to congratulation your Kindergartener on their accomplishments.
· Help your child understand when the transition is going to take place. A great way to do this is by marking off the days on a calendar up to ‘The Big Day’.
· Make sure the new teacher knows any and all information about your child prior to him/her starting, from any medical information that needs to be shared to their temperament on a daily basis. Any and all information that you can share will help that teacher bridge the gap between him and your child.
· Get to know your child’s new schedule before he/she starts school. Talk with your child about that schedule. Let them know how their day will look beforehand so their first day will not be so nerve-racking.
· The biggest and most important thing you can do is talk with your child. Talk to them about their feelings towards this change and share your feelings too! It is OK and so important to say you WILL miss them but you are so proud of them for growing up and moving on to the next chapter of their life.
Always remember, during times of change children might have behavior regressions or outburst’s. This is completely normal! Reassure them with positive comments, physical affection, and love.
Your Kindergartner will come home with so many happy stories to tell as long as we keep in mind that they need our help with this monumental time in their life.
I hope this blog was helpful to the parents going through this transition at the moment and those who will be eventually going through it at some point in the next few years. Let me know if there are any other questions you come up with that weren’t answered here or if you have anything else you would like to share! I hope each and every one of our Kindergartners will remember Mary Lee Johnston for the rest of their lives, but I also hope they go on to make some amazing memories with new friends and teachers to be.
Happy New ‘School’ Year everybody!