As every parent knows, transitioning to a school schedule after the summer vacation ends, can be a challenge for many young children. They have a new routine, new teachers to get to know, and new classmates in their preschool or Kindergarten class.
As teachers, we have developed a few tricks to making the back to school transition easier for kids in our classroom. First and foremost we know that maintaining confidence and feeling successful helps kids transition to a new year at school. At school, children should start the year reviewing concepts that they are familiar with and be encouraged to share their knowledge about all the things they already know in order to boost their self-esteem. This is why in our Pre-Kindergarten class, we start the year with a unit on colors and a unit on families. All children know at least their primary colors, and they all know the members of their immediate family. Starting with units that students are comfortable with and knowledgeable about, allows them to easily express their knowledge with their teachers and peers. The results of this transition are felt all year, we know that maximizing the trust and success our students feel in these early days translates into a greater willingness to take risks when learning new concepts later in the year.
Parents always ask us…..what should I be doing at home? Here’s what we say:
Bring on the open play toys: blocks, play dough, and dress up clothes allow kids to play without feeling like there is a right or wrong way to express themselves.
- Smile, listen and have a chat: encourage your child with positive feedback as they play, will maintain a feeling of success. Listening to your child as they play, will allow you to get a glimpse into how they are handling their transition to school. Talk with them after playtime to ask how they are feeling.
- Set up a daily routine: Set expectations by making a daily routine – you can even make a daily chart so kids know what time they wake up, eat and what they have to do (get their backpack) to get out the door to go to school!
Learning is where we play: