Transitioning to Kindergarten

Transitioning from an early childhood program to kindergarten is a significant time for children and families. Providers, families, and schools can work together to help make this important transition a smooth one.

Each program should have transition plans in place throughout the year that help prepare a child both developmentally and academically for kindergarten. Check out the list of ideas below that can ease the transition for all involved.

  • A few months before children leave your program, it’s important to talk to them about what to expect. An easy and comfortable way to start that discussion is through books and stories. Explore your local library for these books:
    • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate
    • Welcome to Kindergarten, by Anne Rockwell
    • The Night Before Kindergarten, by Natasha Wing
    • Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, by Eric Litwin
    • Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten, by Hyewon Yum
  • Make a list of children’s thoughts about kindergarten.
  • Remind families to register for kindergarten, and have registration information available from local schools.
  • Invite a kindergarten teacher to visit your program. Or, if you offer a kindergarten program, take the time to visit the kindergarten classroom.
  • Hold an end-of-the-year conference with a kindergarten focus.  Provide parents with a progress report and/or portfolio.
  • Encourage families to engage in activities at home that will foster lifelong learning. Here are activities you can suggest:
    • Read to their child every day.
    • Give their child opportunities to problem-solve and make decisions.
    • Offer crayons, scissors, and small manipulatives to support their child’s fine-motor coordination.
    • Create a consistent bedtime schedule to encourage quality resting and waking habits.
    • Provide healthy, well-balanced meals to support their growing bodies.

Creating many opportunities throughout the year to help your prekindergarten children and their families transition through this change in their lives will have a positive impact for years to come.

For more information about how to help children transition between programs successfully, the Maryland EXCELS Toolkit offers tips, knowledge, and resources to support your work with children and families.