A network to share best practices for children with special needs
Preparing for Kindergarten can be a daunting task in itself, but it's the transition that really lies at the heart of anxiety for children. Preparing for that transition will make the move all the smoother.
There are lots of opinions on the skills that a child needs before reaching kindergarten, but I think kindergarten itself is a time of skill exploration. The most essential skill to have is to approach kindergarten with a calm state of awareness or being, that's optimal for learning. With that in mind, there are several tasks to prepare for the big day.
A social story can be around a theme or event or can be broken down into small parts. If Going to My new Kindergarten Class is the theme, you can create a personalized book that you can read every day from now until the big event and continue during the first few weeks. This helps with preparing for the transition that will cause anxiety and fear of the big unknown. It can also help to practice small broken-down skills like saying hello, blowing your nose, washing hands, etc. The book can include actual photos or pictures and be about one to two sentences per page and cover themes like: Meeting my new teacher; what to wear to school; what things might I need for school; how will I get to school; meeting new friends; listening to my teacher etc.
Small examples include:
My name is Sammy, and I am five-years-old.
I will be going to Kindergarten at ANY NAME elementary school.
My teacher’s name is Mrs. Pink, and she has black hair.
I will meet lots of new friends at school.
I get to wear my new clothes and shoes to school.
I'm a little scared because I have never been to school before.
When I am scared, I'll tell my teacher or my new friend.
I will do lots of fun things at school like draw, paint, play and listen to stories.
After school, my mom will pick me up in our car.
Going to school will be fun.
You can also make a set for the classroom, like a My Family Book, so your child can read it if they get lonesome.
However you use them, please share the technique with your teacher. Who knows? It may help other students as well. Hopefully, it will ease the anxiety on that first day and help with the transition. Mommy and Daddy may make one for themselves: Our Baby Goes to School can help parents get through the first day themselves.