Countdown to Kindergarten
School transition is a process that prepares all partners - students, families, schools, and communities - to develop knowledge, skills, and relationships that help students move from one educational setting to another. Leaving a familiar environment for one with new rules, children, teachers, buildings, and expectations can be very stressful as well as very exciting for a young child. A smooth transition to kindergarten helps children be more self-confident, develop better relationships with others, and succeed in school. See below to learn more about what you can do to make sure children has a successful transition into kindergarten!
Information on Kindergarten Registration in Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Kindergarten Registration
Broward Countdown to Kindergarten 2019-2020
All Broward early childhood programs with VPK children are invited to register to be a part of the Broward Countdown to Kindergarten Campaign. Registered participants will:
- Receive a copy of the book Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson (will be mailed directly to address provided by second week in April)
- Receive information and access to resources to support kindergarten transition throughout spring and summer (see below for ideas)
- Have a chance to receive a kindergarten transition book for each VPK student in your program (limited supplies available, schools will be contacted by May 1)
- Be invited to participate in two county-wide transition events:
- April 30, 2020 (Tentative): Broward Read For K Day
- Read Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!
- Watch and Interact with the KidVision PreK Kindergarten Interavite Field Trip http://kidvisionvpk.org/watch_fieldtrip.jsp?mid=264
- Write a Letter to a Feeder Elementary School
- Create a Transition Space at your school or center
- Post pictures to Twitter at #browardreads
- May 15, 2020 (Tentative): Broward Libraries Summer Reading Kick-Off
- April 30, 2020 (Tentative): Broward Read For K Day
Reading books to children with characters and plots supporting kindergarten transition is a GREAT way to expose children to their upcoming transition. It also helps them to relate to characters going through the some of their same fears and anxiety, especially when the characters in the story are able to overcome those fears in positive ways. If mice, raccoons, cats, and young children just like them have an awesome first day kindergarten experience, then they can too! There are many amazing books with kindergarten transition themes. See below for ideas.
Broward Reads Kindergarten Transition Books
Wimberly Worked By Kevin Henkes
The Kissing Hand By Audrey Penn
On The Way to Kindergarten by Virginia Kroll
Kindergarten ABC by Jacqueline Rogers
Countdown To Kindergarten By ALison McGhee
Successful transition to kindergarten requires more than ensuring that children have the necessary academic and social skills. Smooth transitions from preschool to kindergarten depend on connections made between participants in the process, such as those between schools and families, and between preschool and kindergarten teachers and classrooms, especially connections made prior to kindergarten entry. How transitions into kindergarten are managed has the potential to impact children’s early and later school success. At the heart of making this transition successful is the ability for preschools, elementary schools, and families to work closely together and align experiences by providing information, building relationships, and fostering continuity across settings to best support children and families.
Transition Tips and Resources
- Head Start Early Learning and Knowledge Center
- NAEYC Transition to Kindergarten
- Harvard Transition to Kindergarten
- American Federation of Teachers K Transition
Ensure Families are an Essential Part of Your Transition Planning and Implementation
- Welcome and engage families as partners in transition planning.
- Create a culture of supporting families during transitions as they are the key to creating continuity for children.
- Help families identify and understand quality criteria in early childhood settings
- Enlist families to be a part of a "transition team" to help plan school/center activities, including a transition theme to decorate area in center/school (front office, bulletin board, etc.)
- Provide names and contact information of other families who have already gone through transitioning their child into kindergarten and are willing to act as mentors to incoming families.
- Offer a variety of ways the family can participate in their child’s transition preparation and educational program (adding details to the social story, sharing information about preferred items and activities, such as names of favorite songs, books, toys, snacks, etc.)
- Maintain clear and consistent communication with the family about how their child is adjusting to kindergarten. Use communication methods, such as daily notes, photos, phone calls, emails, etc. during the first few weeks.
- Provide families with information about local kindergarten roundups and orientation events
- Ensure families know about their rights under federal and state laws, such as their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- Ensure families have ongoing opportunities to discuss their observations and concerns about their child’s strengths and challenges prior to transitions
- Share information about activities and everyday interactions with children that promote school readiness
- Ensure families have ongoing opportunities to discuss child assessment data so that families are prepared to initiate and/or participate in similar discussions with teachers in K-12.
- Provide families with information about child development and the impact of transitions on children across early childhood and school settings.
Kindergarten Readiness Ideas for Classroom Routines
- Practice the morning routines such as pledge to the flag.
- Have the children practice raising hands to answer questions.
- Practice carrying items on cafeteria trays (or cookie sheets) - this can be done in centers as well as during meals and snacks or on the playground.
- Learn to open individual milk cartons and straws.
- Learn to open individual condiment (ketchup, mustard, etc.) packets.
- Practice walking as a group from the classroom to other locations in the building.
- Have the children go to another classroom so another teacher can "teach" them a brief special lesson (such as music or P.E). This helps the children get used to the idea that they may have other teachers for "specials".
- Answer "roll call".
- Practice checking out library books (using a card) from the public library, classroom library, or site office.
- Learn to sharpen a pencil.
Plan activities that require cooperative interaction.
• Work with a friend to put together teacher made puzzles • Work with a friend to match simple word cards with symbol cards • Work with a friend to match classmates’ name with their picture • Paint with a partner • Build with a buddy • Group or partner playground games
Remember that these ideas are to familiarize the children with new concepts and/or routines so we want to make them fun! Be sure to have many discussions (large group, small group, and individual) about why you are doing these things.
Ideas From Broward Early Childhood Community.
Question: "How do you support Kindergarten Teransition In Your School?"
I have had our RTCO Parent Coordinator at our school handing out important information for parents We have children who have graduated our Preschool share their Kindergarten experience with our VPK children We also have encouraged our parents to take their children to Kindergarten roundup. Footprints Academy, Lighthouse Point
We will do a field trip to one of the schools in the area to visit their kindergarten classrooms. Charlee Preschool, Hollywood
Our VPK classes take a field trip each Spring to Forest Hill Elementary to visit kindergarten classes in the morning and have lunch in the cafeteria. First United Methodist, Coral Springs
One of the students' favorite activity we do every Spring as part of our transition to Kindergarten traditions is to organize a field trip to one of the local Broward County Public Schools or Charter Schools' Kindergarten classrooms. A tour of the school is provided along with a classroom visit. Charlee Preschool, Oakland Park
Our preschool operates within a Charter School campus. Communication with Kindergarten teachers is very important, children get a tour in one of the classrooms as parents get to visit an open house event to ask questions to their future teachers on various subjects. Creative Solution Childcare, Oakland Park
Our preschool operates within a Charter School campus. Communication with Kindergarten teachers is very important, children get a tour in one of the classrooms as parents get to visit an open house event to ask questions to their future teachers on various subjects. Abundant Live Christian Academy, Margate
Our students have been engaged in Literacy reading a few books about going to Kindergarten Our class is planning to go to a local Kindergarten class - Norcrest is our local school. First Christian Church Day School, Pompano
We take our VPK students on a Field Trip so they can have the experience of riding a school bus.Christ Church Preschool, Coral Springs
We have a Night Out Parents, were we share information about Kindergarten. For Kids Only, Davie
The last week of school, we have the parents drop off VPK students in the lobby so that they can walk to their classrooms independently. We also get lunch trays from the elementary school and have the children place their lunch in them and practice walking with the trays. Andover Academy, Davie
We meet with our parents to find out what schools their children are attending and then we get information from the school; such as kindergarten round ups; parent nights. There will be a Count down to Kindergarten at Parker Playhouse on April 22, 2017 Our VPK Parents will be attending! Jack and Jill, Fort Lauderdale
During the summer months, our school provides a "Kindergarten Prep Camp" for students entering Kindergarten in the Fall. This program is an extension of the VPK school year to make sure all students are prepared academically, emotionally, and socially for their new school. The Goddard School, Parkland
We attend as many round ups as possible and share information with the parents. Early Learning Center, Sunrise
We have a Kindergarten on our property so we go and visit the Kindergarten the last week of school, meet the teachers and learn about what we will be doing in K.
Brauser Maimonides Academy, Dania
At Unity 4Kids we had done the following: •Host parent orientation to provide guidance in how help our children transition to Kindergarten. Provide helpful pamphlets for families on what the school will expect of them and tips on things they can do at home to prepare their children for school. •Coordinate fieldtrips to local Kindergarten classrooms. •Invite a kindergarten teacher to visit your VPK program to explain what happens in kindergarten and answer questions. •Invite former preschool children to visit your program to share their experiences in kindergarten. •Talk with the children about their feelings about the change. Teacher can share her/his own feelings, too. Make a list of the children’s ideas about what kindergarten is like. Write and illustrate a class poster about children’s and teachers’ feelings about going to kindergarten. Unity for Kids, Hollywood
During the school year we plan and follow a curriculum dedicated to the transition from pre k to kindergarten. This process included the family as well. Preparing all of them for the next step. Hollywood Y Learning Center, Davie
we have the children practice going through a lunch line holding a tray and opening lunch. We are also looking into have a visit from a school bus so the children will get a feel for the bus if they will be riding on one. Seton Ridge Children's Center, Coral Spring
We are on the same campus as an elementary & middle school. So every spring, our 4 year old students walk over to the elementary building and tour the kindergarten classrooms. Parkway Christian Academy
The teachers do different activities regarding getting ready for kindergarten like: reading books about it, talking about what school is like and what to expect, kindergarten kick offs. ABC's Of Learning, North Lauderdale
We give the children responsibilities to be able to do things on their own. The Little World Academy, Plantation
The Elementary School in our area allows our center to bring the children to an orientation round up each year. They show the children their new environment and tell them what they can expect. Kinderworld Preschool and Kindergarten Infant Daycare Specialist, Lauderhill
Kindergarten transition is supported in our school by working closely with parents daily to meet the Developmental Standards. We also tour a local Elementary School with students and parents to have an opportunity to see how there classrooms and schools will change next year. Academy at Griffin Harbor
We prepare the children academically by teaching skills needed for kindergarten such as letter names and sounds, sight words, concepts of print, simple addition and subtraction skills, number sense, etc. Learning in Motion Academy, Tamarac
We read books about Kindergarten. Parents are encouraged to take their children to enrollment day field trip. Linda's Garden Preschool, Hallandale
At our school many of the students in VPK stay with us through Kindergarten. At the end of the school year, we have all VPK children visit the Kindergarten classrooms and meet the teachers and get a tour of what is to be their classroom in the fall. Hebrew Academy Preschool, Margate
At Providence we will do a field Trip to a public school and get to sit in with a class for 1 hour and do lunch with them. We also send home work home.Providence Children's Academy, Coconut Creek
We are so lucky to have a Kindergarten at our school and the children visit the Kindergarten classes and learn about Kindergarten. We read books in class about moving up. Beth Emmet Early Childhood Center, Cooper City
we visit a local kindergarten classroom & eat lunch in the cafeteria - we have done this for the past 4 years - and advise the parents to register for kindergarten - we also announce again at graduation --- and post pictures on Facebook. Greater Horizons Academy, Oakland Park
We support the Kindergarten transition by teaching the children what they need to know. Also, by speaking with the children and the parents about what the children need to know and be ready for. JM Family Center, Deerfield Beach
We are part of CQuELL and have transition meet and greet with VPK staff and Elementary staff plus we go to a Fantasy theater show at the cafeteria at a local school. Plus we use a map of the feeder schools and star where all the children are going. And we use the books and resources offered by school board. Miss Bindergarten and Kindergarten Here I come! Neighborhood Kids
Partner with your local Elementary schools. Plan a day for your classes to visit and have lunch in the cafeteria. get info to the parents about the kindergarten round-up meetings. Creative Child Learning Center III
To help guide each child's journey to elementary school, Chesterbrook Academy teachers create and share Kindergarten Readiness Personal Learning Goals specifically for the student in the areas of math, literacy, and social/emotional development. This packet goes with the student to Kindergarten to inform the new teacher. Chesterbrook Academy Coconut Creek
We support our VPK children by prepare them for kindergarten. We guide our students in becoming positive and self-confident young people by promoting their social emotional development and self-regulation skills. Atlantic Private Preschool
By academically preparing our students on every level of growth and development, with an emphasis on the love of Jesus as a faith based center, social/emotional skills, literacy, self directed activities, etc. as well as providing staff, children, and parents with information related to great schools in our community with kindergarten roundup programs, tons of communication from our staff to the students and parents on what to expect on the first day, and occasionally a field trip to the schools cafeteria, so our students can experience the transition to self sufficiency through the process of having lunch on site for a day. Christ Church ELC
We throw a big party, have discussions in regards to the transition, tell them all the places they can go and the professions they can become. Chesterbrook Academy
We talk with the children about the new experience, read several book as "The night before Kindergarten" by Natasha Wing "Kindergarten Rocks!" BY Katie Davis "Kindergarten" by Jacqueline Rogers....and others.
We give the parents a flyer giving them some tips about how they can help this transition. ViewPoint Child Care Learning Center
Read books related to Kindergarten transition. ParadiseDayCare
We create a package that outlines everything a child should know for Kindergarten
We provide the instructions on how to register for kindergarten (given by the Dept.of Education)
We visit elementary schools so students can get an idea of what they are going to experience once they enter kindergarten Little Bethelites Preschool
We read a ton of books in regards to Kindergarten compare and contrast preschool and Kindergarten. Have open conversation of what the students expect and what they will experience. Instill positive behaviors and attitude towards the change so the students feel confident and ready! ABC Daycare and Learning
Additional Tips from Harvard Family Research Project/Global Family Research Project
How Can Programs and Schools Support Parent Involvement Processes? (August 2002) Full Article/Website
To prevent fadeout of family involvement in kindergarten and the elementary grades, both early childhood programs and schools have to provide mechanisms for continuous family involvement. We asked a group of practitioners to respond to our research findings with their own best practices for supporting parents' continued involvement in their children's learning. Early childhood education professionals and a few kindergarten teachers who participated in an annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Anaheim, California on November 3, 2001, offered these ideas:
- Host a wide array of special events prior to the start of kindergarten at an early childhood setting-such as spring teas, picnics, and kindergarten fairs. These transition-focused gatherings often have school staff, such as teachers, principals, PTA representatives, and parent liaisons present to meet parents and answer parents' questions. Schools offer similar kindergarten orientations.
- Make use of routine meetings and materials, such as parent-teacher conferences, newsletters, and bulletin boards, to convey information about the child's academic and social readiness, the schools and teachers, registration dates, and other information.
- Create portfolios, memory books, and other concrete collections of children's experiences to document children's strengths and weaknesses for parents, as well as to assist in their sense of closure from the program.
- Encourage peer networking among parents, creating buddy lists and opportunities for parents to meet others who have same-age children entering the same school, or who have already been through the transition experience with an older child.
- Offer reassurance to parents regarding their parenting abilities and the normalcy of their anxious feelings about their child's transition into school.
- Personalize the school and teacher in a variety of ways, by posting photographs of the classrooms and kindergarten teachers, by having kindergarten children make invitations for preschoolers to visit their class in advance, or by sharing information about specific teachers' styles.
These suggested practices provide information, boost parents' efficacy, create involvement opportunities, and begin to build trusting relationships. Schools and early childhood programs can employ practices like these to respond to parents' feelings of anxiety and excitement, promote their sense of welcomeness and familiarity with schools, provide valuable information about their child and how to support his or her transition, and bolster parents' sense of confidence in themselves as parents and their ability to recognize involvement opportunities. Perhaps most importantly, these suggested practices model collaboration across early childhood programs, schools, communities, and families.