At CVPNS, we understand that the transition from preschool to TK/kindergarten is one of the first of many transitions students will take on their education journey. One of the essential steps in this process is encouraging independence. Students who are independent are more likely to feel confident and capable in their new school environment. While each child’s needs must be tailored to their development, here are a few ideas that can help with the transition to “big kid school”:
- Teaching Self-Help Skills: Self-help skills are essential for students to become more independent. Teaching students how to put on their shoes and jackets, pack their bags (including zipping up their lunch bags/backpacks), and use the bathroom alone are all important skills that will help them feel more capable and prepared for the expectations of kindergarten.
- Encouraging Decision-Making: Encouraging students to make decisions helps foster independence. This is a core aspect of the CVPNS experience, as students are free to choose how they spend their time – whether it’s participating in science projects, creating artwork, or just playing with other students outside, CVPNS allows them the freedom to make their own choices.
- Setting Clear Expectations: As a parent co-op school, CVPNS has a variety of strategies to ensure that everyone at the school – teachers, parents, and students – all have a clear understanding of what is expected. In doing so, students learn by example as they see teachers and parents working together and encouraging them to do the same.
- Practicing Patience: As all parents know, encouraging independence can be a long process (but also, somehow, an extremely short one as well), and we understand how important it is to practice patience. While not always easy, remaining patient as students work through problems on their own is an invaluable skill for both parents and students.
- Allowing for Mistakes: A related aspect of patience is allowing for mistakes. While we all know (but often forget) that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, it’s important to encourage students to learn from their mistakes and to keep trying. This helps them develop a wide range of important life skills, including problem-solving skills and resilience.
Encouraging independence is an essential step in preparing students for TK or kindergarten. By teaching and focusing on some of these important skills, teachers and parents can help students develop the independence they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Remember to be patient, supportive, and to celebrate the successes along the way!