Kindergarten (kindy) is where children continue their love of learning.
Effective transition practices, based on strong relationships and communication between the child, their family, early childhood education settings and the community, help children and their families positively move from one setting to another.
When children make the transition into kindy, they adjust to new or unfamiliar environments and situations. This includes new routines and expectations, new ways of learning, new relationships with other children and adults and new physical surroundings.
Researchers continue to find strong links between children's intellectual and social capabilities in the early years of learning and future educational success and positive social outcomes.
Positive transitions experienced by children throughout the early years have a positive influence on long-term educational experiences.
Things you can you do
Help your child to feel comfortable about starting kindy by talking positively about kindy in everyday conversations. You could talk about:
- the location of the kindy: 'when we go to the shops today, we will drive past your kindy' or 'the kindy room is the next one along, do you remember seeing the kindy kids in the playground?'
- when your child will start kindy: 'next year, you will start kindy – let's put it on the calendar'
- who your child might know at kindy: 'did you know Sam, Kellie and Jake will be going to your kindy?'
- making friends at kindy: 'you can say, hello my name is... I'd like to play too'.
Take time to talk to the educators and understand the routines your child will likely experience at kindy, for example:
- use the names of educators if known (especially if you are staying at your current centre)
- ask if your child thinks there will be group times for stories, songs and games
- ask your child what they think they will able to do when outside
- ask your child what they are looking forward to the most about kindy.
You can reassure your child and make them feel safe by:
- reminding them to ask the educators for help if they are worried or unsure what to do
- talk through some 'what will I do if…?' situations with your child, for example 'what will I do if I can't find my bag?'
- practise easy ways of asking for help, e.g. 'can you help me with my shoes please?', 'I don't know where to play', 'I don't know where to put my hat'.
Getting to know the kindy community also plays a big part in helping your child feel safe, confident and welcome in their new environment. You can:
- attend transition to kindy sessions, open days and advertised social events
- spend time with your child in the kindy program
- get to know your child's teacher and other kindy staff.
wonderful me kindy poster and complete with your child to support their move to kindy.
Be You, in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia and headspace, has developed a range of evidence-informed resources for families and educators including:
Together, let's make the big moves smaller.
Preparing for the first day
Before starting at kindy, talk to your child about:
- where they will be going and drive or walk past the service
- what they will be doing
- who they will meet
- why they will be going
- when they will be going and explain they will stay there for a period of time until you pick them up.
You can help your child prepare for kindy by encouraging them to do day-to-day activities. It's best to give them simple, 2-part directions to follow. Encourage them to:
- get dressed (zipping, buttoning, putting on a hat, getting shoes on and off)
- put on sunscreen
- open and close their lunch box and water bottle
- throw away their rubbish
- not interrupt and, instead, excuse themselves
- play and talk with others, sharing and taking turns
- pack up after play and other activities.
What you need to bring depends on the kindy or long day care service you choose. Ask your chosen service what they would like you to pack for your child each day.
Your child might need to bring:
- fresh food in a lunchbox
- drink bottle
- spare clothes
- broad brimmed hat and shoes
- sleep sheet and pillow.
How to get there
Some kindies offer bus services for pick-up and drop-off. There are also public transport options available that can help you and your child get to kindy each week. Talk to your local kindy to find the best option for your family.
For more information on getting ready for kindy, speak to your service provider.