Getting Ready for Kindergarten – Helpful school readiness tips
For many Queensland families, the start of 2022 means there are only a few weeks to go until the first day of kindy. For every child (and parent) the transition to kindergarten can be an exciting and also sometimes overwhelming experience.
Kindergarten is an important year in a child’s life, where a life-long love of learning and community can be fostered. At Lady Gowrie, we value community and connection as the core tools to support the transition. Whilst navigating this new experience, families can prepare for the first days of kindergarten and make it as enjoyable and comfortable as possible for their children and themselves by considering:
Prepping for the First Day
In preparation for the first day of kindergarten, it’s important to help manage your child’s curiosity and wonderings when it comes to this exciting new experience. By explaining to them what kindy will be like, what happens including meeting new teachers, lunch with friends, and new play – you can familiarise your child and create a sense of predictability of the day.
Regardless of whether your child has been in care before or their siblings have been to kindergarten, this new experience can still bring forward a range of emotions, including being weary or scared. Talking positively about the different setting and different people and framing it as an exciting experience can help them look forward to, not fear the first day.
The First Day
On the first day of kindergarten, it’s important to plan the morning to ensure it runs smoothly and comfortably.
By involving your child in the process of getting ready for kindergarten, such as packing their lunch-and-bag, helps them be familiar with their belongings and embrace the independence kindy brings.
If you arrive at kindergarten early, you have the opportunity to take your time helping your child settle in and walk around the space. You can introduce your child to their teacher and other children.
It is important when it’s time for you to leave, to explicitly say goodbye to your child. This helps them understand you have left, and they won’t need to go looking for you. Remind them you will be back to take them home later in the day.
It can be distressing seeing your child be upset and scared, please be reassured this will lessen over time. For many families in our community, this is the child’s first opportunity stepping out of the home on their own and we have experience in making kindy comfortable and exciting, but it often takes time.
Some children will adapt to kindergarten seamlessly, as if they’ve done it before, others may need a bit more time to adjust! Both are normal and common.
After the First Few Days
It is not uncommon to feel like your child might have regressed after a few weeks of happily attending kindy and saying goodbye to you. Often the exciting novelty aspect of kindergarten begins to wear off and children’s behaviour might change and go back to what it was initially.
If this takes place, continue to positively talk about kindergarten to your child, particularly the parts of it they enjoy. By making it known every day that you will be back, and are excited to know about their day, you can help alleviate their concerns.
Your child’s teacher can provide support to your child should the show any signs of distress when it comes to going to kindy. They have experienced this year after year and are familiar with navigating these issues. By involving them in helping to manage your child’s concerns, they are fully informed when it comes to your child’s learning journey and understand what’s best for them. At Lady Gowrie, we have the same staff every day of the week and this can help build a beautiful connection between child, staff, and yourself.
Kindergarten is such an important year for children. It is a wonderful age in their lives where they start to understand who they are as people. Children may have experienced many decision making processes and conversations throughout the day, we recognise and appreciate that families will be interested to hear about their day. Asking supported questions may assist your child to engage in conversation with you such as “Were there any songs you sung today?”, “What did you like doing inside today?”, “I noticed the water trough was out with the boats, did you choose to play there today?” You may choose to comment on parts of your day to your child and then pose one or two questions across the afternoon / evening about the kindy day, for some children being asked many questions on the way home from kindy can be overwhelming and you may experience the response of “nothing” or “no”.
Getting involved in the Lady Gowrie community, such as introducing yourself to your child’s teacher and other parents, can make kindergarten an enriching experience for the whole family. At Lady Gowrie, community is our core value and ensures that you or your fellow parent doesn’t feel they are experiencing this time alone or unsupported.