How Can We Make The Transition to First Grade Easy?
Making the transition to first grade is not always easy. This can be especially true if your child did not attend a full-day kindergarten program. For many children making the transition to a full day of first grade can be rather difficult. The transition to first grade isn’t necessarily any easier if the child did attend a full-day kindergarten program, either. Very often, the academic requirements of first grade are quite a contrast to those of kindergarten. Still, there are things that you can do to make the transition to first grade easy.
Making the transition to first grade easy actually starts before kindergarten, with a preschool program. Studies show that children that are enrolled in a preschool program prior to starting kindergarten actually do much better both in kindergarten as well as the entire rest of their school years. Those early-childhood academic skills are the building blocks upon which further education is built. If children have to begin developing these in kindergarten, they are already a bit behind.
Your choice of kindergarten classrooms is also a significant part in the process of making the transition to first grade easy. You want to make sure, before enrolling your child in kindergarten, that the teacher truly believes in the academic potential of kindergarten students, and that she is not only trying to “prepare” them for first grade, but that she is actually teaching them things here and now. Talking to parents of former students can also help you in this process.
Naps can be one of the more difficult parts about the transition to first grade. While some kindergarten programs try to wean the children off of the nap, the fact of the matter is that many children are taking naps right up until they start a full-day first grade classroom. To help make the transition to first grade easy, you should try to wean your child from naps at the beginning of the summer before first grade.
Finally, constant support and encouragement is an important part of helping your child to make any transition, including the transition to first grade. Helping your child feel like a “big kid,” and telling him that he is smart, and that you are proud of all of his hard work will encourage him to work harder in first grade.