Transitioning to Kindergarten
As each new school year begins, adults who work with children in the year before kindergarten have much to think about. Research in recent years highlights the importance of early education, and we all want to give children educational and social experiences throughout the pre-kindergarten years that will give them the best possible start. What you might not realize, however, is that the start of the pre-kindergarten year is also the perfect time to begin thinking about kindergarten.
Too often, preparation for kindergarten does not begin until a month or two just before kindergarten begins. However, transition to kindergarten is a process that is most successful when it is carefully planned out over the entire pre-kindergarten year. Whether a child is in preschool, child care or spending time with parents or caregivers at home, the transition to kindergarten can be a stressful time for parents, educators and children.
Schools and the early childhood education community are increasingly taking notice in a formal way of the importance of this process in the lives of children and families. According to Ramey & Ramey (1994), "One of the few universals of childhood in our society is the transition to school." In their article, "The Transition to School: Why the First Few Years Matter for a Lifetime," they explained that the signs of a successful transition to school include:
1) Children like school and look forward to going.
2) Children show steady growth in academic skills. Teachers must understand each child’s strengths and weaknesses upon entry to school so that the progress of each child can be monitored to ensure that each child has acquired new academic and social skills relative to when they entered school.
3) Parents maintain involvement in their children's education. This includes involvement at home, in school and in the community.
4) Teachers know the parents of most of the children, as well as other important family members. Teachers feel that they are partners with families in promoting children's learning and adjustment to school.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. © 1999-2008 Get Ready To Read!, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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