Are the children in your care starting kindergarten next school year? If so, you’re likely looking for ways to help children and their families make the transition to kindergarten. Here are a few tips and resources to help you get started:

1. Send Activity Sheets and Transition Kits Home with Children

Activity sheets and transition kits can help children learn the math skills, reading skills, and other academic skills they need for kindergarten and school success while also helping you bridge the school-home connection. Our Transition to Kindergarten: Ready to Read Kit and the Transition to Kindergarten: Math & Literacy Kit both include a clear backpack filled with activities and family engagement materials. On Track to Kindergarten features weekly activity sheets that you can make copies of to send home with children. The weekly activities are a great, easy way for parents to help their children learn at home.

2. Incorporate Transitioning to Kindergarten into Your Lesson Plans

Children are usually pretty apprehensive about starting kindergarten, so it’s important that you take the time to address their concerns and to reassure them about the upcoming change. Try to read books about change and positive thinking, such as I Knew You Could!, during storytime and encourage discussion on how children are feeling about starting kindergarten. Planning activities that will reinforce skills and prepare children mentally and emotionally for kindergarten is one of the best ways to make the transition easier for children and their families.

3. Help Children Build Their Social-Emotional Intelligence

Helping children learn to write, read, count, and problem solve are prominent learning goals in preschool, but helping children build their social-emotional intelligence should also be an important goal. As Pam Schiller discusses in her book Seven Skills for School Success, social-emotional intelligence “is a crucial determinant” of school readiness. Research has identified the following seven characteristics as critical for school success:

  • Confidence
  • Curiosity
  • Intentionality
  • Self-Control
  • Relatedness
  • Capacity to Communicate
  • Cooperativeness

Helping children develop and strengthen these seven characteristics will help them be successful learners now and in the future.

4. Tour an Elementary School and Kindergarten Classroom

Taking children on a tour of an elementary school or a kindergarten classroom can help settle any nerves children have about starting kindergarten. Another great option is to have a retired or current kindergarten teacher come to speak with students. You could also ask kindergarten teachers to take pictures or videos of their classroom setup for you to show and discuss with the children in your care.

5. Make Sure Parents Know About Kindergarten Registration and Screening

Each community has different requirements for kindergarten registration and screening (your community may be one that doesn’t require screening), so it’s important that you make sure parents know how to proceed with enrolling their children in kindergarten and know what to expect at a kindergarten screening. Send home reminders about kindergarten registration and screening dates in your community or let parents know where they can find that information.

Be sure to read our Insights and Inspirations article “Helping Kids Transition to Kindergarten” for additional tips and resources on helping children have a smooth transition to kindergarten.