Your child was born about five years ago; you held, rocked and cuddled him or her. You watched as your child began to crawl then walk and run around the house and you remember the hours spent guiding your child’s maybe not-so-good behavior. As your child began preschool or took part in other social experiences, you saw your little, shy child blossom into seeing the world beyond the front door. Your child began to love play dates, took interest in going to farms or to the museum and making new friends. Then he or she turned five. Five is a special age; the beginning of formal schooling. As a parent, you are probably beginning to think about questions such as how to make the transition to school positive, how your child will expand his or her world and as a parent, what the school expects of you.
Going to kindergarten is a major milestone in your child’s life. What can you do to support this milestone? While many parents are delighted with this transition, it also elicits feelings of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Each elementary school in Danbury invites incoming families to an orientation session. Invitations are given at the time of kindergarten registration. This orientation is a really important event to attend. You will meet the school principals, support staff and kindergarten teachers, and many schools have activities for the children to engage in. Parents meet other parents who are experiencing the same feelings and the school staff is there to support you.
Ensuring that your child has solid readiness skills will make the transition easier. These skills are built during the preschool years in informal settings and at home. Children who know their full name and telephone number, how to make friends, be empathetic with peers and demonstrate good manners will do well in school. Furthermore, children should know their letters, shapes and colors, how to ask to have their needs met and how to use the toilet independently.
Simple activities you can do at home help children to learn important skills. Reading several times each day is essential for your child to learn new words and to be able to recall and talk about the sequencing of the story. Encouraging play dates increases your child’s ability to develop independence during time away from the primary caregiver. Your child may exhibit many different feelings about going to school. There will be excitement and fear of the unknown. Thus, it is important you take advantage of visits to the school and orientation events.
Parents may experience some of the same emotional feelings their children show. A sense of being disconnected from normal routines, day-to-day contact with preschool teachers and watching their children develop self-sufficiency is often hard. Keeping a positive attitude, sharing your feelings with other parents who are experiencing the same thing or talking to your child’s teacher will calm these fears. Children ready for the next milestone in their lives by having families who support these transitions will become successful in school. To find out more about Danbury School’s Kindergarten Registration, call 203-797-4753.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.