Ready for kindergarten? Tips for preparing their first day at school
Is your child about to make the symbolic transition from daycare to kindergarten? Here are some tips to help parents make the transition as smooth as possible.
Starting kindergarten is an important stage in a child’s life. The transition from daycare to school is a tall and impressive leap for our little ones who are taking their first steps into the grown-up world!
First, let’s remember that kindergarten’s main objective is to socialize children outside their family unit. This first step allows them to learn the rules of community life: respecting their friends and the rules, living together, listening, communicating, etc. “We also want to teach them to like school,” adds Nancy Poulin, kindergarten teacher. “We want them to realize that they are comfortable in their new environment and in their group. Once this is acquired, learning becomes much easier.”
So here is Miss Nancy’s advice on how to help your child take this giant leap.
★ A few days before the school year starts, go play in the schoolyard to help your soon-to-be schoolchild become familiar with the new playground. Another great idea is to plan a picnic where your children will be able to experiment with figuring out their lunch box, new containers, and snack bags. They can then practise opening them on their own, becoming familiar with what they will be eating, and even get them involved in making lunches and menu choices.
★ Playing board games with your children is another great way to prepare them for kindergarten: playing with others, taking turns, losing. “In kindergarten, there are several quiet play periods when students are asked to play board games,” says Miss Nancy. Children who have been introduced to board games already have a head start.”
Preparation Through Reading
Answer your children’s questions as they come, without getting ahead of them and without downplaying kindergarten. Overemphasizing what to expect can cause unnecessary stress for the child. On the other hand, this is a good time to read them stories about the first day of school.
As the school year approaches, it’s best to gradually eliminate afternoon naps from your toddler’s routine. In kindergarten, a 20 to 30-minute quiet time is planned. Your child can rest, but also play quiet games such as puzzles, drawing or reading. “A child who is used to taking naps will be more sluggish in the afternoon,” says Miss Nancy. “So, it’s best to get them used to doing without them.”
also a good idea to move up their bedtime and wake-up time one or two weeks
before school starts so that they can get used to the new routine.
Organizing Can Be Fun
At school, children will need to quickly learn how to be organized with their bags and personal items in their lockers. To help them do this, set up a designated area at home for their backpack, clothes (coat, hat) and lunch box. Encouraging them to put their toys away properly through games during this transition is another great way to prepare them for preschool.
Towards Greater Independence
Make sure your children can easily tie their shoes and coat. This can be learned through play as the school year approaches. It’s also important that your children are able to use the bathroom on their own, including wiping themselves and pulling on their own clothes.
An Organized Parent Makes for a Confident Child
To optimize your children’s integration into kindergarten, make sure they start their day at the same time as the others, without delays, insofar as possible. Even just a few minutes’ delay is enough to cause inconvenience for the children and the teacher. The same goes for the end of the school day: being late often causes a great deal of insecurity and stress for your toddler.
During the first few weeks of kindergarten, don’t worry if the days and evenings seem more difficult for your little one. “It takes about two months for children to adjust,” says Miss Nancy. “Two months during which they are more tired, they cry more often, and they feel anxious. By November, things usually settle down and the classroom routine is well integrated.”
Wishing children, parents, and teachers a great start to the school year!