Transition Tips for Pre-K-, K, 1st graders!
At the end of July transitions for Pre-K, K, 1st graders are about to begin. Dwindling away are the days of sleep away camp as indicated by Parent Visitation weekends, pools and beaches are more crowded, humidity factor is in the 90’s, and the smells of hotdogs, hamburgers, and charcoal mix with the sounds of ice-cream trucks and outdoor screams of fun and family gatherings.
Aside from food and fun are the preparations children and families are making as they transition from pre-school to Kindergarten or from Kindergarten to first-grade. There is work to be done by our young ones as many children who were used to a half-day pre-school or kindergarten setting will now experience a full-day in some kindergartens and certainly in first-grade.
Although many children can play all day and grunt at suggestions of being tired and needing rest, it is not the case when young children enter a learning situation where structure, time constraints, and choices are not necessarily theirs. The beginning of anything “new” may cause anxiety, defiance, or simply just confusion and sadness related to a routine that has now changed. Regardless of how a child reacts, there are a few tips that can be introduced as the summer draws to an end which may assist in transitioning to length of day, lack of choice, and structured time segments.
Tips on Transitions to Time, Structure, Choice
- Attend a local day camp for a week or two which offers organized and scheduled sports, arts & crafts, lunch, theater – or find a Local Bible Camp which typically runs for one week and operates on a scheduled activity agenda
- Create some practice school days over the next 4 weeks which include an early wake and dress-up, breakfast, walk to bus stop, two or three 30-40 minute game and reading sessions, sit-down lunches, a 20 min quiet time, and finish with some basic math, letters, and storytelling opportunities which also last for about 20 minutes each session….do not overdo it, simply allow the child to get a view of what lies ahead
- Review any literature that the school or teacher has provided and ask what questions your child has regarding the literature
- Invite an older child to describe going to kindergarten or first-grade for the first time and what they experienced and how they adapted to the things they liked and to the things they didn’t like – don’t mislead the child into thinking that everything will be perfect
- Practice a “non-choice day” where games or stories are selected by parent/guardian/other and not by the child to illustrate how in a school setting a teacher or another student will make a choice that the rest of the group must follow
There are no crystal balls to show what each child will face in the first few weeks of school, however, setting up some practice days where a child can work through feelings of anxiety, resentment, confusion, or elation and anticipation may be the secret key in a smooth transition.