Preparing for Kindergarten
I've had many questions lately about transitioning to kindergarten and what that means for your child's special education needs. First of all, every child is different. Second, you, as the parent, are the best advocate for your child. Keep in mind that there are still over 4 months until kindergarten, so your child will hopefully continue to progress, so no need to panic!
Here are a few tips to get you thinking about your child's experience with kindergarten:
1. Think about the new setting...
This one may seem obvious, but really think about what one teacher and 25-30 students means for your child. Go and observe the kindergarten classroom this spring on your own if needed. Is it whole day or half day? Ride the bus, drive, or walk? Think about the change in routine, then start to make preparations.
2. Talk with your current service providers about your concerns and your child's goals. Public arena: update educational goals if needed with your public service providers (early childhood special education). Typically, the goals that the elementary school makes are very similar to the ones from the early childhood district, so be sure you review these and still find them appropriate. Goals drive services. Private arena: If accessing private therapies, talk with these providers about their input on how your child will do in kindergarten. They are also good resources for advocacy.
3. Prepare your child. Start talking with your child about going to kindergarten. Make social stories about going to a new school (either with clip art or actual pictures). Drive past the school, visit the playground, see the classroom, meet the teacher. Pack a few lunches over the summer to prepare for eating at school. Get to know the other families if possible, have playdates. Go school shopping and emphasize that these items are for school. Some parents have bough specific "school" clothes that are very comfortable of the kids, that they love, and that they know they can wear when they go to school. Start a few weeks before with the schedule change during summer. Wake them up at the same time you would if they were going to school. That way their bodies have plenty of time to adjust if their wake-up or sleep times need to change.
These are just a few tips on how to prepare your child for kindergarten. Be sure to be excited of your child! If they know you're excited and happy for them to go, they will be able to tell and this will help them look forward to it too!
See the Parent Resources page for Kindergarten Readiness provided by Hillsboro School District. /parent-resources.html