Saying Goodbye to Preschool and Hello to Kindergarten
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Many preschoolers feel anxious about moving on to kindergarten. They worry that they won’t have friends, won’t like the teacher, will get lost, or won’t be able to do what the teacher asks.
Here are some tips to guide your child through the move from preschool to kindergarten.
To Help With End-of-the-Year Feelings
• Place a sticker or make a mark on each day of the calendar every day during the last month of school.
• Encourage children to talk about their feelings about preschool ending; talk about your feelings too.
• Draw pictures and/or write good-bye messages for your child’s friends or teachers.
• Revisit the events of the past year with your child by looking at drawings, paintings, photos, and writing. Celebrate how much your child has learned this year.
• Offer stress-reducing activities at home such as water play, puppets, or playdough.
• Help the class plan an end-of-the-year family potluck.
• Plan ways to keep in touch with classmates or organize a regular play group.
To Ease the Move to Kindergarten
• Visit the new school before your child’s first day. Point out ways the room is similar to his preschool room, but also discuss how it holds new materials to explore.
• Plan playdates with new classmates.
• Read books about starting school, such as Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson; Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen, illustrated by Ronald Himler; and If You Take a Mouse to School, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond.
• Describe the daily routines, including arrival, breakfast, snack, lunch, and bathroom practices.
• After your child is well settled into kindergarten, plan playdates with old friends.
Source: Adapted from the Message in a Backpack for Debora Jones, 2010, "Letting My Butterflies Go. Helping Children Move on to Kindergarten," Teaching Young Children 3 (4): 21–22.