My niece, Angelina, is going to be entering kindergarten in the fall and my sister shared with me that they are both a bit nervous about it. It reminded me of when my own little Emma put on her backpack and climbed on the bus for the first day of kinder. Although she had been a bit unsure about what to expect over the summer, we had a great opportunity to meet her teacher and get to know the school and the classroom before her first day of class. That made all the difference for her, and I know that it will help Angelina and my sister as well.
When I think about the time that we spent with Emma’s teacher before school started, I realize how special it was to really connect and share about what is important to our family and what makes Emma unique. When Emma entered the classroom on the first day of school, her teacher already knew somethingsthat she liked and her strengths as well as some of her challenges. I think it also helped that Emma’s preschool teachers and kindergarten teacher had connected to share important information about her learning style and current development in multiple areas through something called a transition report.
By the time we had our parent-teacher conferences in November, Emma was able to confidently show me around her classroom, share the fun and creative work that she had done, and talk about what she had learned. Her teacher shared Emma’s development in everything from literacy to social and emotional learningand was able to share ideas for how we could help her with next steps in all of those areas.
In all, kindergarten was a fantastic experience for both of my kids, but I think that Emma had an easier transition than my other child Ed Jr. who started kindergarten before WaKIDS was implemented in our district. There is an observational assessment that helps teachers and parents understand and support their children’s development and the family connections and early learning collaboration help to smooth transitions to kinder. Luckily for my niece and sister, this program supports every kindergartener in Washington State public schools! I think it will be a phenomenal experience for both of them and cannot wait to watch Angelina grow and learn!
NWESD EARLY LEARNING: Sarah Southard, Director |firstname.lastname@example.org