Transitioning Preschool and K-8 Programs


Bridging the Gap Between a Congregation’s Preschool and K-8 Program

Transitioning from preschool and k-8 programs can be quite intimidating for little boys and girls.  Even if your child seems mature for his or her age, problems are nearly guaranteed to arise when bridging the gap between preschool and K-8 programs.  Pray for assistance from the Lord amidst this transition, prepare accordingly and you will have done your part to help your child enjoy a seamless segue to the next chapter in his or her life.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Focus on the Positive Rather Than the Negative

Your child will undoubtedly be nervous about the pending transition to a K-8 program.  Your little one might even cry him or herself to sleep in the nights ahead of the “graduation” from preschool to the comparably intimidating kindergarten atmosphere.  After all, everyone fears the unknown, especially in the sensitive and fragile formative years. 

You can counter these fears by reinforcing the positive aspects of transitioning to the K-8 learning program.  Make it clear to your son or daughter that this academic progression presents the opportunity to meet new friends, learn exciting new things and become more like mom and dad. 

If your child responds by focusing on the negative aspects of changing his or her learning environment, quickly counter it with a positive element of the transition such as highlighting the friendly new teacher and relishing the opportunity to learn more about the world. When in doubt, emphasize the additional freedom available in the kindergarten learning atmosphere as opposed to preschool and your kid just might start looking forward to the transition.

Visit the new School and Classroom

Do not let your child’s imagination run wild in regard to what the new learning environment might be like.  If you do not show the kindergarten classroom to your child in-person, he or she might spend countless hours attempting to envision it in his or her mind.  This is not a constructive use of your child’s time.  Furthermore, such a runaway imagination is unlikely to parallel the reality of the situation.

Bring your child to the new learning space and he or she will no longer worry about what it will be like to be a kindergarten student.  If possible, schedule a time to meet with the teacher so your child does not spend a single second worrying about whether the new teacher will be as friendly or supportive as the preschool teacher.

Remind Your Child That Being Afraid is OK

There is no reason to teach your child it is unacceptable to have fear.  Make it perfectly clear mommy and daddy are also afraid in some situations.  However, you should also stress the importance of overcoming fear in order to grow and progress on the path to becoming an adult.  Once your child knows other kids and even adults are also afraid from time to time, it will be that much easier for him or her to accept the fact that life is centered on change that has the potential to prove quite scary.  

It Only Gets Easier From Here

If your child is especially worried about moving on to kindergarten, he or she might refuse to go to this strange new place.  However, letting your child stay home is unacceptable.  Make it clear that he or she has to go to school.  Emphasize that the first day of kindergarten and the days that follow will prove increasingly easier as time progresses.  Once the first day or two are over, your child might even look forward to returning to kindergarten, seizing the opportunity to make new friends and learn new things.