The transition to kindergarten is an exciting time for children and families. But along with the excitement, you may have questions about starting school and being ready. These 6 tips will help you make the best transition possible for you and your child.
1. Support your child’s learning and development
When you help your child develop skills before they start kindergarten, you help them feel confident. No matter what new skills your child gains, feeling good about learning helps them to feel ready to start learning in school. You might work on skills such as playing with friends, asking questions, investigating, counting, and recognizing their name. This Hello Kindergarten! brochure (Spanish) includes ideas for how to help your child build skills as you all get ready for this transition!
Schools are ready to support all children who enter kindergarten, no matter what skills they are ready to learn next. If you have concerns about your child’s development, it helps to act early! There are many resources and services available to help you and your child. Learn how to get help with questions about your child’s development.
2. Register for kindergarten
Families register their child for kindergarten with their local school district. Districts start registering children for fall kindergarten after the new year begins, often as early as February or March. Check your local school district’s website or call the closest elementary school to learn more about the process in your district.
This CT Department of Education brochure has more information about kindergarten enrollment and attendance and includes frequently asked questions.
3. Talk to your child’s school
You know your child better than anyone else. You are not only your child’s first teacher, you are their permanent and most important teacher. Educators are important partners in the process, so it’s important for you to talk with them about your child.
You can help your child’s kindergarten teacher by sharing what you know about your child. When families and teachers build respectful, trusting relationships, they can become full and equal partners in supporting a child’s learning and development.
Teachers would love to see you often, but demands on their time and your own schedules can make that hard sometimes. For example, at the start of the school year, teachers are trying to get into a routine and get to know all of the children in the classroom. Talk with your child’s teacher to find the best ways for you to communicate and learn from each other so that you can support your child’s learning together.
4. Prepare your child for what to expect
Many school districts will provide you with a schedule or plan a classroom visit before the school year starts. Other ways you can help your child learn what to expect could be reading books about kindergarten, watching videos, or talking with other children who attend kindergarten. Keep it positive.
5. Practice your new routine
Make sure to prepare your child for the change in routine at home as well! Practice getting up in time for school and getting ready to start the kindergarten day. Practice packing their bag. You could even drive or walk to the school. At some schools you might be able to play on the playground. Pack a lunch and eat it outside near the school. Talk about what your child can expect when they get home from school.
6. Be ready for your child’s reactions
There are so many ways to make the transition to kindergarten a fun and positive experience! But no matter how much you prepare your child, and yourself, there can be fears or even tears on the big day. Be prepared to support your child with their feelings, and to take care of yourself as you see your child through the start of school.
For more tips on transitioning to kindergarten, visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s website.