Transition to Kindergarten
As a School Readiness teacher and an Early Childhood Screener, I am often invited to the Kindergarten registration nights. In Minnesota, kindergarteners are required to be screened within 30 days of starting Kindergarten. The placement center coordinators invite us to registration to help families make appointments. It is usually a relief for these families to see me there – a familiar face in a sea of new experiences. I help them find where to go and who to ask. I really enjoy working at the events because I am able to see many of my current students exploring what will soon be their new school, classroom and teacher! It’s helpful for my students to have a safe and familiar teacher as they think about what it will be like to be a kindergartner. I usually get sentimental – like a proud parent – seeing the children grow up so quickly!
A few days after a registration night, Malik came to me during class. He seemed very troubled by something, so I asked him if I could help.
Malik: “You remember that other school you were at?”
Malik: “I really don’t know about that.”
Me: “Well, what are your thoughts?”
Malik: “Do you remember my new teacher’s name?”
Me: “I am not sure, but I know they will help you and remind you when you go there.”
Malik: “Will you be there?”
Me: “No, I will stay at this school and teach another group of students.”
Malik: “Oh. Why can’t you come?”
I was so moved and intrigued by his thought process. He will do fine with this transition, but, it is a little scary to think about. There are new teachers, a bigger building and new friends to make. Parents are often concerned about the length of time their child will be in school and also the start and end time (having to get up earlier or give up a normal afternoon rest time, etc.)
In addition, the communication styles of teachers and schools are different. I have a very open and consistent relationship with my parents – I check in at least once or twice a day during drop off and pickup. My style may not be the same as another teacher’s style. As a school readiness teacher, I have tried to work with parents and students about this transition. However, because we have about four months off in the summer, I often wonder how the first weeks of Kindergarten go for some of my students.
Does anyone have any ideas or feedback about how they approach discussing the transition to kindergarten?