How to Plan for a Smooth Kinder to Prep Transition
I know that the end of a school year and saying goodbye to your kids can be such a tough time emotionally! And this is coming from probably the biggest sook of all - having mostly taught Grade Prep and Grades 1/2, I’d always be a bawling mess by the last day of school (and, let’s be honest, the days leading up to it too!). When you teach kids so young, it feels like they’re your babies, that’s for sure!
But, as they say, with every ending comes a new beginning, and it’s also this time that you get to meet the new little faces who’ll be breaking your heart in 12 months’ time! As Kinder kids attend special sessions to help in their transition to school, you can play a crucial role in making this change a smooth one. Having been through quite a few Kinder to Prep transitions in my time, I wanted to share some of the teacher tips I learned to make the most out of your short time together with your new kids!
A quick note:
Grade Prep here in Victoria might be known as Kindergarten or Foundation where you are - it’s that first year of school before First Grade! And Kinder, is the equivalent to PreSchool or Pre-K - the year before formal school begins.
Why are transition to school sessions important?
Making the move from the Pre school learning environment to actual big school is a pretty big deal - not just for the kids making the transition, but for their families, too. Hosting introductory sessions before they officially start the transition to school can not only make this time easier for everyone involved, but more enjoyable, too! They give you a chance to start forming those important relationships with parents, to understand where each child is at in their learning journey, and for kids to feel comfortable in their new environment. Chances are, someone in your family has a photo of you on your first day of prep - wrestling a backpack that’s WAY too big for your tiny body, wearing a hat that’s dropping down over your eyes, and the world’s biggest grin plastered on your face! Starting Prep is a huge milestone, so getting the transition to school right means that the first day will be a positive memory for years to come.
What activities should I run in a Kinder to Prep transition session?
Your future little learners might be feeling unsure or apprehensive about making the leap to school, so focus on creating a day that’s fun and engaging! Activities don’t have to be complex or elaborate! Print out a few centers from my bundles below, and use everyday items like pegs for the kids to get tactile.
To help you get what you need out of your time with the kids, look for tasks that will showcase a variety of skills. This means you can get a snapshot of each child’s strengths and areas for development without having to work with them one-on-one. Skills to look for include:
- Writing their name
- Responding to a text
SET UP SOME STATIONS OR CENTERS
A good way to put this into action (and reduce the pressure on yourself) is to set each activity up as a station, that the children can either rotate through or move between as they wish. And BFF, if you’re staring at the screen wondering how in the world you can come up with enough activities to flesh out a whole transition session? I have a few activity resources that can help relieve some of that pressure on you!
Numeracy: Monkey Madness Game
- This one’s a freebie in my resource library! Just sign up to download.
Fine motor skills: This “I can pack my bag” activity
is a great one that touches on cutting and pasting, writing their name, matching words and colouring in. Another freebie!
Fine motor skills: If you’re after a bit more of a hands-on activity, these Number Play-doh Mats
are just the thing! Simply print and laminate the cards, you can also use them with whiteboard markers.
It’s a good idea to have an adult present at each station if you can, particularly when there are scissors involved! Ideally every child will return home from their Kinder to Prep transition with all 10 fingers...
MAKE IT FUN!
Don’t forget that these kids are just that - kids. Play-based learning has been a huge part of their education so far, so consider including some more physical activities like dress-ups, games and make-believe play. Anything that encourages relationship-building and FUN will be a huge hit.
TRY NOT TO OVER-PLAN
Lastly, BFF? This time is going to fly by. Before you know it, those little learners will be headed out the door again - so don’t over-plan your session to the minute or you’ll find yourself getting flustered. Leave a block of time towards the second half of your session for free play or exploration, where your kids can spend time interacting with one another and you can spend time observing and making some notes. I cannot WAIT to hear how your transition to school sessions go! Come and tell me in our Teacher Community over on Facebook - there are lots of other early years teachers in the group who’d love ideas on activities or any tips you have to share!