Preschool teachers play a vital role in preparing their students to transition to kindergarten. No longer is kindergarten merely an extension of preschool — instead, new standards in public schools have contributed to the more academic environment that currently exists in kindergarten classrooms.
Whether the child is in day care or in preschool, the transition to kindergarten can be a challenging experience for parents and educators alike. Having tools that can guide children and parents through the process is tremendously important.
Teaching Important Skills
Preschool educators understand that the process of successfully transitioning to kindergarten cannot be left for the last few months of preschool. Preschoolers must be exposed to the relevant skills needed to properly function in kindergarten. This should start at the beginning of the year prior to starting kindergarten.
When school begins, kindergarten students will be expected to master certain tasks like holding a pencil properly. Preschool teachers know the importance of gradually exposing their students to certain kinds of experiences throughout the year prior to kindergarten. This will give children the time and space necessary to become familiar with the new experiences.
Early preparation for kindergarten is not an indication that children should be currently learning kindergarten skills. Instead, teachers ensure that the children can recognize the letters in their own name, retell a simple story, and master other preschool skills.
Many preschool teachers encourage parents to enroll their children into play groups, go to a local library for story hour and encourage interaction with other children. These are remarkable techniques that can be used to introduce children to new social experiences. This will assist them in doing better in kindergarten both socially and academically. In essence, being equipped with these skills will put children in a superior place of readiness for kindergarten.
Other essential skills taught by preschool educators include:
- Following simple instructions
- Matching rhyming sounds
- Tracing the shapes of numbers and letters
- Being able to recognize a book title
These skills are all vital to success in kindergarten and beyond. This is because they combine to form a strong foundation for pre-writing and pre-reading skills. They also establish a base for working with sounds and letters during the kindergarten sojourn.
The Process of Transition
Throughout their lifetime, children will go through a number of transitions; however, transitioning from preschool to kindergarten is arguably the most important one. Behaviors are shaped during this period, and attitudes are formed by which children will be influenced throughout their academic lives.
The transitions of children are most strongly influenced by the environment in which they live, the preschool program to which they are exposed, and the flow between the preschool program and kindergarten.
To prepare children for the transition, educators teach them more than just the ABCs. They go beyond teaching the letters of the alphabet, numbers, sounds, and rhymes. The children are taught how to take turns, spend an entire day at school, and other new social experiences. This Belton, MO area preschool, for example, emphasizes exploration in children’s learning, in order to foster creativity and curiosity. These educational experiences are vital because kindergarten is typically the first exposure they have to a formal school setting where creativity and social behavior are stressed.
Discovering Unique Qualities
Early preparation for kindergarten also provides teachers with an insight into different activities by which a particular child is excited and frustrated. They then share this valuable information with parents, who encouraged to share it with their child’s teacher in the new school. The more knowledge the teacher has of the child from the beginning, the better off the child will be as the year progresses.
Additionally, teachers keep records of activities in which the child had participated, paying close attention to the skills that have or have not been mastered. This information can also be passed on to kindergarten teachers via the parents.
Preparing children for this important transition is a process that should start way before they get to kindergarten. Starting early and gradually teaching new skills will enable a child to have a great start to a fascinating year of learning.