It is important that you have a very clear understanding of the elementary curriculum that the school you are interested in uses, and what areas you might need to work with your child on so that they are well prepared, and not far behind the grade-1 classroom expectations set on their very first day. If you are staying at the same school that your child attended kindergarten at for elementary, this is less of a concern as the kindergarten program should prepare them with a base of skills they need. But if you are changing schools, it is critical that you genuinely understand the new curriculum you are entering, and what benchmarks the child should reach before going into your chosen first-grade program.
Once you know the criteria or expectations that your school has for children entering the first grade, talk to your current teacher, I can’t stress this enough! Your kindergarten teacher is your best resource outside of the home to help your child be prepared for this big transition. Try to allow for open and honest communication, so your teacher can tell you how your child is doing in their class and what areas they think your child needs to work on to prepare for elementary. As children often act very differently at school than they might at home, advice and recommendations given by your child’s current kindergarten teacher should be taken very seriously. Some recommendations may not be academic at all. Some teachers may make recommendations on ways you can prepare your child to become more independent, social or confident. These recommendations are just as important as those related to academics!!!
Furthermore, the majority of Elementary programs have homework, while some more than others. They require that you work with and support your child’s learning at home. Some schools will even provide a summer packet of activities your child could do to keep their minds busy before they enter elementary school, or start a new level in the fall. Ask your teacher if this is something they could provide, and see if they have recommendations for things that you could do to help support the needs of your child. Be involved and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Building up good after school habits now will make the requirement of doing homework at home when your child enters elementary seem less daunting for both you and your child. And remember when reviewing with your child or doing homework at home, give your child the chance to question and find the answer. Let them work out a problem on their own. The more a child learns early on how to problem solve, the smaller all of their challenges become. Even if their new elementary setting is a lot more demanding than their kindergarten one was, if they have the tools socially and academically to solve problems and question the world around them they will find a way to succeed.