MRH Family Prepares for Kindergarten Transition
The first day of class is less than a month away. Both parents and children need to ready themselves.
Getting ready for kindergarten can be just as nerve-wracking for parents as it can be for the children.
However, local educators say there are a number of things parents and children can do together to prepare for the first day of school.
“If a child has been in preschool, the transition might be a little easier than for those who have not,” said Dr. Cyndi Hebenstreit, principal of the Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center. “If a child hasn’t been in preschool or has just been going half-days, the transition to kindergarten can sometimes be more about making the parent feel comfortable with the change.”
(See related on Patch: Educators Offer Tips to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten)
With less than a month to go before area schools kick off the new school year, Hebenstreit said she would encourage parents to visit their children’s school before the first day.
“Even if you can’t get into the building, walk around the school and talk about how excited you are for your child to start school,” she said. “Take part in any type of orientation activities. Becoming more familiar with the school beforehand can be very beneficial.”
To help parents and children adjust, the MRH Early Childhood Center conducts home visits prior to school starting for all preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students. It helps build a connection between the school and families, Hebenstreit said.
Marina and Forrest Ceballos’ daughter, Olivia, 5, will be starting kindergarten this fall at the early childhood center. She attended the MRH preschool for three days a week two years ago and five days a week last year, so she is ready. In fact, she had the same teacher both years, and her parents believe that made a difference in her comfort level and theirs.
“I am not nervous about the first day because Olivia has already started school in my mind when she started preschool two years ago,” Marina Ceballos said. “We already know the building and a lot of the staff there. Our kindergarten teacher is new to the school this fall, but we have trust that she will be a good match for Olivia. We look forward to meeting her at the home visit that we’ve scheduled for next month.”
The Ceballos family has also been preparing for kindergarten by reading together at bedtime and working on counting and simple math.
Olivia and her father have been driving past her school numerous times this summer to check on construction developments, and they are all looking forward to kindergarten orientation right before school, Ceballos added.
“I’m always sensitive to her starting something new, so the first week of adjusting to a new classroom, a new teacher and a different group of classmates will be a transition,” Ceballos said. “Olivia always comes out stronger and more brave and more confident for the experience.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article didn't correctly indicate where the Ceballos family lives. We are sorry for the error.