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Easing the Transition
To help CHILDREN transition
- Visit the school. Attend an orientation at the school in the spring, spring carnival, play on a school playground or visit the school library over the summer.
- Practice "cafeteria style" eating at a local restaurant and practice opening food packages. Also, allow your child to serve himself from bowls at home.
- Shorten your child's naptime a few weeks before school starts.
- Adjust your child's sleep schedule several weeks before school begins — remember that a child needs about 10 hours of sleep each night.
- Help your child choose a school bag and label it with his or her name. Also choose a place in your home to put things each night to take to school each day.
- Talk about what will be familiar at kindergarten as well as what will be new.
- Add a family photo to your child's book bag.
- Be positive — your child takes cues from you.
- Write a letter to the principal during the summer describing your child as a person (likes, dislikes) and as a learner. Describe the kind of teacher you hope he or she will have (no names, please).
To help PARENTS transition
- Recognize that you are in transition, too. Expect to feel scared and sad in addition to feeling excited about your child starting kindergarten.
- Think through and plan for food, transportation, and schedule changes. (When does school begin and end? What about before and after school care? Where is the bus stop? How much does lunch cost?)
- Visit the school and meet the teacher. Don't be afraid to ask if things seem confusing! Ask for a conference (by note to the teacher) as needed.
- Talk to someone about your feelings. School counselors often set up special times at the beginning of the year for parents with entering kindergartners. You can also see a parent counselor at Project Enlightenment.
- Get involved! Volunteer in your child's class, join the PTA, and volunteer in the school.
- Remember that your attitude will determine your child's attitude. Your positive support of school increases your child's confidence and success.