Resources to help new kindergartners, their families, and their educators get into the routine.
Kindergarten is a big step for students and their families. Each year presents an opportunity for a warm and welcoming introduction to the classroom for the whole family. Children and families may exhibit symptoms of anxiety or trauma, creating greater urgency for teaching skills to build hope.
State Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s mission and priorities emphasize equitable access to a strong foundation, including developmentally appropriate opportunities for social-emotional learning (i.e., learning the knowledge, skills, and abilities to develop healthy identities and habits, manage emotions, maintain healthy relationships, and make responsible decisions) critical to success in school and life.
To help the transition into school, families can consider the following actions:
- Establish daily routines around mornings, mealtimes, and bedtime, including consistent expectations, shared routines, and opportunities to connect. Be flexible during periods of change to reduce stress.
- Talk with your child about what they see, hear, and feel. Help your five-year-old children learn and grow, and engage them in conversations.
- Connect with your child’s teachers regularly and address concerns as soon as possible. Relationships and open communication with your child’s teachers and helpers create pathways to understand how your child responds to different social environments — at home, with friends, at school, and in other settings.
- Share what matters most to your child with their teachers. What does your child like to do? What are your child’s favorite and least favorite foods? What comforts your child when they are upset? Find these conversation ideas and more in Introducing Me!.
Resources for Families: Transitioning into Kindergarten — Routines, Schedules, and Supporting Well-Being
- Check out the Vroom app for parenting tips to capture learning opportunities at mealtime, bath time, bedtime, or anytime.
- Learn about ages and stages including activities and guidance from the Washington Early Learning and Development Guidelines.
- Use PBS LearningMedia’s kindergarten readiness resources to engage and build skills for a strong start in school.
- Learn about WaKIDS (Washington’s transition process to support new kindergarteners), find resources including Introducing Me!, review Frequently Asked Questions, and more.
- Find resources to help your child learn and support their developmental needs.
- Visit National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations for helpful tips on routines, emotional regulation, transitions, and more.
- Learn how families are partners in promoting family engagement.
- If you or someone you know are struggling with mental health, help is available through many sources including Crisis Connections, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Resources for Educators: Creating a Culture Through Hope and Healing in the Learning Community
- Gauge your schedule on the social-emotional and physical needs of 5-year-old children factoring in that your class may be the child’s first exposure to playing with peers. Consult the Social-Emotional Pathways.
- Consult PreK to 3rd Reentry: Connecting to Families for ideas to build robust family communication and partnerships as kids emerge. As many children lacked opportunities to play with peers during the pandemic, entering kindergartners may demonstrate a wider span of development than kindergartners prior to the pandemic. Adults may exhibit anxiety about separating from their children, which requires the school’s attention and support to retain a warm, inviting relationship.
- Utilize OER Commons Classroom and Assessment resources for ideas to establish a classroom community and learning routines.
- Build your learning environment incrementally as you get to know your students’ goals and how they manage their learning. The WaKIDS observational assessment is an ongoing, documentation of children’s emerging skills, knowledge, and learning and if used regularly, can provide invaluable data to guide what is included in learning centers for Plan, Do, and Review.
- Recommendations for early childhood educators to create a caring, equitable community of engaged learners.