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Today, I’m going to talk about “Transition from preschool to kindergarten”. Transition is when you move from a familiar place to an unfamiliar place where you are separated from your friends or families. If you have ever made a move from one location to another or separated from friends, you know how hard a transition can be. Going from a known, comfortable environment to one that is different and unfamiliar can be very stressful. This is often how young children feel as they move from preschool to kindergarten.
For a young child to experience transition from preschool to kindergarten is very hard for him or her, if a smooth transition is not given to the children, they might face difficulty in studying and unable to cope with what the teacher is teaching in the classroom. Therefore, appropriate activities must be provided to young children to ease their anxieties about leaving a familiar environment for an unfamiliar one. As teachers, we have a responsibility to facilitate that change. Preschool refers to the first formal academic classroom-based learning environment that a child customarily attends in the.
It begins around the age of two to five in order to prepare for the more didactic and academically intensive kindergarten, the traditional “first” class that school children participate in. On the other hand, it acts as a way to prepare children (especially those of a disadvantaged population) to better succeed in a kindergarten. Kindergarten is a form of education for young children which serves as a transition from home to the commencement of more formal schooling. Children are taught to develop basic skills through creative play and social interaction. In most countries kindergarten is part of the preschool system.
Children usually attend kindergarten after the age of five depending on the local custom. Transition activities are very important to preschoolers as they enter from preschool to kindergarten. This is because they move from a place where they had already spent a lot of time there to a place that is completely strange for them. Some preschoolers might not get use to the routines in kindergarten. In preschool, a child often just play around without attending class formally and teacher also doesn’t give a lot of worksheets to do while in kindergarten is a place where more formal teaching is provided.
Children might not get used to it and will resist on not wanting to go to kindergarten. A study had been made by the National Center for Early Development & Learning, the result show that of nearly 3,600 kindergarten teachers nationwide, 48 percent of children have moderate to serious problems transitioning to kindergarten.
This result has indicated that nearly half of the children are experiencing trouble transitioning from preschool to formal schooling. It is very important to provide a smooth transition to young children. If a smooth transition is provided to young children, he or she might not find it difficult to study in kindergarten.
If children feel comfortable in the place that they are studying, it will boost up their self-confidence. They will not feel afraid to be friends with others and will eagerly come to class everyday as they found out that it is fun attending kindergarten. If the children can overcome transition with confidence, they have a bigger chance to succeed in the future. It is because this period is important as it will determine the child’s perception on education. During this period behavior is shaped and attitudes are formed that will influence children throughout their education” (PTA and Head Start, 1999).
According to Sharon Lynn Kagan, “Transitions are those activities that support the principle of continuity for young children” There are a lot of activities that can be held in providing a smooth transition to young children from preschool to kindergarten. In order to provide a smooth transition to children, teachers play an important role. Before the preschoolers enter into kindergarten, teachers may arrange a visit for the preschoolers to visit the kindergarten and join their classes for a period of time.
During this time, teacher can use age appropriate children’s literature, child dictated stories, and have kindergarten children read to preschoolers, exchange favorite songs, stories, rhymes, and games with each other and have both classrooms celebrate and share special days together like Christmas, New Year, Easter, or Valentine day. These activities will help the preschoolers to understand more about what they will do when they are in kindergarten. With this they will not feel afraid when they enter the kindergarten on the first day as they already familiarize with the activities going on in the school.
They will also be able to have the opportunities to make friends with some of the kindergarten students. As Maxwell and Eller said that “A generous amount of guided social experience with peers prior to kindergarten helps children do well in this new world” Not every child will accept and get use to the transition activities planned by teachers. They might still find it difficult to be separated from their families and peers to begin their formal school experience that includes joining a classroom community. With this, social stories can be used to help children in decreasing their fear in transitioning.
Social stories are teacher-made books written for children on topics relevant to an individual, it can provide assistance for those preschool-age children who need help in the transition process. If a child experience difficulties after a few days attending kindergarten and the transition activities doesn’t seems to work well with the children, teacher can consider writing a book about what the child do as he or she reach kindergarten every morning. Teacher can start the story by showing a picture of the child being carried to class and being lead to certain learning center to play.
The book must be only a few pages long with most of the pages are with picture illustration. This activity is useful as the stories are written from a child’s perspective and are about the child, himself or herself; they provide concreteness with an object the child can hold and emotional support from the story itself. As Gut and Safran suggested that using illustrations in social stories helps young children make transitions by providing “a more visual understanding of the situation” (2002, 90) Not only teachers play an important role in providing a smooth transition to young children, parents involvement are important too.
It is important for teachers and parents to work in unison to provide a smooth transition from one learning environment to another. When parents are involved in the transitional process, it enables them to make important and appropriate decisions regarding their children’s adjustment to different learning situations. With mutual and ongoing levels of communication, the fundamental building blocks can ensure that confident, positive, and successful learning experiences are provided. Teachers can encourage parents involvement by held a meeting before schools starts and provide a brief picture on what will kindergarten children do in class.
In addition, teachers can also discuss the education goals with parents and listen to what parents want their children to learn in school. In the meeting, teachers can consider provide teachers with the kindergarten’s scheduled timetable and what are the activities will be held throughout the years. With this, parents will feel secure in sending their children to suitable kindergarten without worrying what their children will learn in schools. According to Maxwell and Eller, they stated that “when teachers and parents agree on a philosophy of education, children usually adjust more easily”.
Children feel more secure in their new environment if they feel that their parents support the teacher and the school. Teachers can also consider visiting the child’s house before the schools semester starts by arranging an appointment with the child’s parents. During the visit, teacher can grab this opportunity to talk with parents about the child’s interest, hobbies, or does the child experience any health problems. In the meantime, parents can try to tell teacher their opinion about what they want their children to learn in kindergarten or sound out any comments about the activities that will be held in schools.
If they are not satisfied with the activities, teacher can try and arrange for other activities that are suitable for every child. This can establish a positive relationship with families and understand more about each child, their family background and the community that they live. As Boethel has said before, “Family involvement is a viable strategy to address transition issues related to readiness”. In conclusion, the transition from preschool to kindergarten can be a stressful time for teachers, children and parents.
However, if preschool teachers can facilitate collaboration between parents and kindergarten and familiarize children with the workings of kindergarten, it will be a smoother process. Parents need to try to find a developmentally appropriate class for their child by observing different classrooms and talking to teachers about educational philosophies. While planning for a smooth and effective transition activities, teacher must take in the consideration of children’s cultural backgrounds and the multiple characteristics of the community, including family income levels, cultures, physical location and resources.
Using what we know about young children and transitions, teachers, schools, and communities can adapt strategies to local needs and resources to promote children’s successful transition to kindergarten and school success in the years after. Preschool teachers, with their knowledge of different learning styles and the temperaments of their students, can help everyone with this important transition. As Riedinger said before “children’s transitions are most strongly influenced by their home environment, the preschool program they attend, and the continuity between preschool and kindergarten”.