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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Kindergarten Transitions

Kindergarten Transitions

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As part of an Early Childhood Collaborative initiative, we have been trying to improve transitions to kindergarten. One obstacle we have faced is getting parents to register on time. We created a Kindergarten Readiness Fair and reached out to area childcare facilities to try to identify incoming students. The hardest group to reach is our ELL families. The predominate language spoken is Spanish. We have translated our fliers, had bi-lingual teachers at events, and reached out to the local support program. Are there any strategies other districts have tried and found successful?

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Ashley Zimmerman's picture

In the district where I student taught, the Kindergarten teachers went to all of the local preschools where most of the kindergarten students were coming from. They invited the students and parents to come and visit the Kindergarten classrooms during a normal school day. Each kindergarten teacher took a few preschool students for about 1/2 hour while the parents went to a meeting with the principal, guidance counselor and other staff members. The kindergarten screening and other school procedures were explained to the parents. The preschool students also felt less anxious since they were able to interact in the classroom. It was very beneficial and they had more involvement that way. It is not a huge area for ELL though so I do not know if this helped you in any way.

Stephanie's picture

In the district I teach in, we have a Beginners Day where all of our current kindergarteners stay home and the upcoming students come in. This usually takes place one day in April. The parents meet with principals, guidance counselors and other staff. They are also given information about bussing, lunches, and daily schedules. While this is going on in the cafeteria, the kindergarten teachers take the students to the rooms for games, songs, crafts and get to know you activities. Children are pulled out individually for short assessments, to see if they know their names, basic numbers and shapes as well as colors. This seems to have worked well and helps us really get to know the students and families before the start of the new school year.

Kelli's picture
Kelli
Kindergarten teacher from Ohio

In the district where I teach, we send out papers to all local preschools of an upcoming screening. We have subs cover our classrooms and we go to another location, along with the guidance counselor, nurse, principal, and preschool, kindergarten, and speech teachers. At the other location the teachers take the students in smaller rooms and do an assessment on them, also basic skills. In the other room the principal, nurse and guidance counselor talk to parents as to what is to come for their child in K. Then they also discuss the results of the assessment and areas they need to work on to be ready for kindergarten.
Then at the beginning of the school year we have an open house that students come to visit the school and classroom with their parents. Then the next day the other grades start school but Kindergarteners come for about an hour to an hour and a half. The teacher speaks to the parents while the students go to another classroom for games and a short 5 minute KRAL Assessment test. It seems to work very well for us.
As far as ESL we have very few but we do have a teacher who translates for us. Hope this could help!

TJ Hinson's picture

In the school district where i teach in TN, we have all the upcoming Kg students who are already enrolled in a pre-school or pre-k program come in and visit each Kg teacher and classroom. Also, we give each upcoming student a Brigance test to assess their basic skills, such as name, letters, counting, body parts, and fine motor skills. We are very lucky to have a pre-k program which consists of 5 pre-k classrooms. This program is a major benefit to the transition to Kg.

Sherena Perkins's picture

I am a prek teacher and I feel that it is so important for me to prepare my students for kindergarten! At the beginning of the school year, some of my students could recognize their name, colors, shapes, etc. A few students needed some work, and that is where I came in. I am just amazed at what they can do! TJ I think that is a great idea for your school to have a kindergarten transition program. Its a great way for both the parents and students to get a feel for kindergarten and what to expect.

Julie A. Leszczynski's picture

In our district, we have something called "Transition Day." Transition Day is a day set aside where the entire district has a half-day and the parents of the Pre-K students go Kindergarten classes, the Kindergarten students parents go to first grade classrooms, and so on. It usually is a very successful day and encourages Kindergarten registration.

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