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Nerves & Excitement! Tips for a Successful Transition to Kindergarten!

July 05, 2019 - Points of Pride

On August 12, 2019, tens of thousands of new kindergarteners will flood the hallways of Hillsborough County Public Elementary Schools.

These are 5 year old children. Many of them with no prior classroom experience. Walking into class that first day will be a whole new world for them, and for their parents.

Naturally, many kindergarten families have a lot of questions: Is my child ready? What can I do to help them be successful? What can I expect on the first day of school?

Brenda Quintero is a kindergarten teacher at Collins Elementary School in Riverview and an Excellence in Action Award Nominee. We asked for her expertise.

She says socialization and the ability to carry on a conversation are very valuable skills for an incoming kindergarten student.

Here are her suggestions on how to help them develop these skills:

  • Play games with your child. Let them win some, but also allow them to lose.
  • Don’t always come to the rescue in social situations. Let them navigate the problem and find their own solution.
  • Sit down for a full 30 minute meal several times a week. Have a conversation afterward. Make sure they contribute to the conversation but also LISTEN!
  • Go to a restaurant and let them order their meal.

Academically, Ms. Quintero emphasizes the importance of reading and being comfortable with storytelling. She stresses creativity. “That’s another big thing we’ve seen change over the past few years, kids lack that piece of really being creative thinkers,” she says. “Even LEGOS now, every set comes with instructions on how to build it. We don’t even let them build and create an imagination.”

Ms. Quintero says families can help their children become creative thinkers by reading a book and asking simple questions—or starting a story and letting them finish it.

But all of that will come with time. If you really want your child to be prepared on the very first day of kindergarten—think about the basics.

  • Make sure your child is dressed in clothing they can take on and off themselves. Overalls may be cute but a lot of kindergarteners struggle with them. Be smart with their clothing choices.
  • Be thoughtful when it comes to their lunches. Don’t pack them things in containers they cannot open. Practice putting the straw in the juice box before the first day of school.
  • Make sure they know their full name and how they are getting home in the afternoon.

When it comes to that first day of kindergarten drop-off, it’s important for parents to be positive and encouraging. Give your child an easy goal to accomplish. For example, ask them to learn one of their new friends’ names and share it with you after school. Also, don’t linger! Give a hug, wish them a wonderful day, and be on your way.

When asked for one final piece of advice for incoming kindergarten families, Ms. Quintero doesn’t hesitate. “Go into kindergarten with an open mind and an open heart,” she says. “Be open to listening and understanding. Have an open ear and let the teacher know you are partners in your child’s education.”

Find out how to sign up for kindergarten HERE