With the end of the school year quickly approaching, many children and parents in the Upper Preschool are experiencing mixed feelings about the upcoming transition to Kindergarten. There is excitement and anticipation about this new endeavor as well as some feelings of sadness and loss about ending a wonderful preschool experience. During their preschool years, children have established meaningful relationships with teachers and peers and have grown immensely—socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Parents have developed close connections with staff members and have had the consistent opportunity to share information about their child. In addition, teachers have provided a wealth of information about child development through daily conversations, written communication notes, conferencing, and progress reports.
Due to these strong bonds and high level of communication, it can be frightening to think about moving on to another learning environment with unfamiliar people. Although it will be a new setting, it’s important to remember that your children are well prepared for the challenges they will face. Many of the school routines and activities will be similar to those in preschool. Children often have an easier time transitioning than parents. The Kindergarten teachers will be excited to meet your child and will help him/her settle into the new school. Their methods of communication will be somewhat different, but through class newsletters, websites, conferences, and report cards, you will continue to receive information about your child’s school experiences.
The structure of Kindergarten has changed over the years and the academic demands have increased. Due to these increased expectations, many parents are understandably focused on their child’s cognitive skills, such as their ability to recognize letters, numbers, and shapes, rhyming, counting skills, patterning, and so on. Although these skills are vitally important, of equal value is the child’s emotional readiness. It is critical that a child demonstrates the social maturity needed to succeed in school. Listed below is a selection of key skills a child should possess prior to entering Kindergarten.
- Ability to interact and cooperate with peers and adults
- Problem solving skills
- Self-advocacy skills (ability to communicate needs)
- Age-appropriate attention span
- Listening skills
- On-topic contributions to group discussions
- Ability to follow multi-step directions
Possessing these skills will help the child successfully adjust to a larger group setting and a more formalized learning environment. Kindergarten is an exciting adventure and one every child and parent should enjoy! Children will use their strong foundational skills to continue to explore, discover, and learn. Enjoy the journey!