The first day of kindergarten can be nerve-wracking for the whole family. Being prepared for the changes ahead is half the battle. TVOKids and TVOParents have joined forces to help your family enter this new stage.

How We Can Help:

Getting Ready for "Big School"

TVOKids' Teacher Advisor and Senior Trainer at Sheridan HighScope Teacher Education Centre, Moya Fewson, has provided the following tips to help get ready for the big day:

  • Parents can help their children feel positive about this change if they themselves are positive. Speak about going to kindergarten in an excited way. Share stories that you remember about your early school years with your children. Talk about how much they will enjoy the experience, the nice teacher, the new friends, the paint, the play dough, and most of all, the fact that they will soon learn to read!
  • Parents can ease this transition by taking their child to the school they will be going to. Spend an afternoon in the playground, walk around the building, and go inside if possible.
  • If your child will be taking a school bus, try to show them a school bus. Talk about how big it is, how yellow it is, and how they will sit in a big seat with a lot of other excited children.  
  • If children are leaving an early morning program at a child care to go to school, walk through the process with them several times.
  • Parents need to know what will happen when their child gets to school. Will they be in an outdoor playground, or will they immediately go to their class? Children can be prepared if they know what is going to happen.
  • Talk to your child about things like lining up, waiting for turns and putting up your hand. You can play games with them like, “let’s line up for 5 minutes and think of all the blue things we see.” Play games like, “when we talk let’s put up our hands. Whoever has their hand up first can talk first.” It is important that your child know they will have to share the attention of one adult with lots of other people.
  • Remind them that you will be there when they get home at the end of the day.
  • Remind your child about the bathroom. Tell them there will probably be a bathroom next to their classroom but they may need to ask the teacher if they have to ‘go.' Play games about asking to 'go.' Tell them stories about how everyone has accidents and these are okay.
  • Talk to your child about snack and lunch. Have them make choices of what to include in their lunch box.
  • Provide a family picture for your child that they can take with them to school and look at if they are missing you.
  • Go over the clock with your child. Help them understand what time they will leave school every day and where they will go at that time: child care? To a babysitter? Home?
  • Tell them that you will be on time--and be on time. If an emergency arises make sure a trusted adult is there to pick them up when they expect to be picked up.
  • Read to your child every day.
  • Plan play dates for your child. Have other children over for them to interact with.

September will be here before you know it. If you provide them with the skills they need, they will enjoy and embrace their new "big school."