Most young children will be more successful in school when:
--they know what will happen at school
--they hear good things about school from their parents and from other children
--the adults who take care of them at home and in preschool or daycare are excited and enthusiastic about school
The purpose of transition to kindergarten activities is to increase children’s (and families’) comfort and familiarity with their new school and teachers before their first day. Research shows that children who start school with positive feelings and a degree of comfort are more likely to be academically successful and continue to be successful in the next several years of school.
Parents and preschool/child care teachers can help young children be excited about starting school by:
--talking about the new things they will learn
--talking about new and old friends they will see at school
--talking about who will help them at school
--listening to the child’s feelings and answering his or her questions about school
--visiting the school if possible
Smart Start Transition Activities
Smart Start plans and supports many activities and efforts to help children and families get ready for Kindergarten (and Kindergarten get ready for children). We have activities and information for parents, and we support communication between elementary schools and preschool/childcare programs. Here are some of our recent projects:
Smart Start has initiated Transition Teams at 14 local elementary schools. These teams are made up of early childhood teachers and administrators, school staff, and parents. The teams work together to plan strategies and activities that will help children successfully transition to Kindergarten. If you would like to be included on a school team, email email@example.com. Click here for more information on the teams and their projects.
Countdown to Kindergarten
Smart Start-Centre County was pleased to organize a successful 5th annual event Saturday, February 4 promoting successful transition to Kindergarten for Centre County children and their families. More than 150 families visited 20 exhibitors including four school districts, private and charter schools, and support agencies and programs who provided information and answered questions about Kindergarten programs and registration. Parents really appreciated the opportunity to talk to staff from different schools at one time and place.
2012 Event Overview
"Welcome to Kindergarten" Booklets
In 2010 we received a grant from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning for transition activities. One of the activities funded was the development and printing of “welcome to kindergarten” booklets for the 13 Title I schools in Centre County. These booklets were distributed through the schools to every child who registered for Kindergarten and to many of the preschool and childcare programs that help prepare children for Kindergarten.
Check back here for 2012 dates for Kindergarten registration, readiness activities in the community, and more. It is very important for parents to register their children on time, so schools and classrooms can be prepared for the correct number of children. If you have questions or problems about registering, feel free to contact our representatives for your school district:
- Bald Eagle Area - Danielle Sowers, 355-4860
Bald Eagle Area School District
April 17 5:00pm - Wingate Elementary Registration
April 17 6:00pm - Howard Elementary Registration
April 19 6:00pm - Mountaintop Area Elementary Registration
April 24 6:00pm - Port Matilda Elementary Registration
- Bellefonte Area -
Children entering kindergarten must be five years of age before September 1, 2012, to be eligible to register for Kindergarten. Please contact the appropriate school in your residence area to schedule your registration appointment. Parents must register their child in the enrollment area of their current residency. When attending your registration appointment, please bring your child's birth certificate, your child's immunization record, and a parent's proof of residency which includes a utility bill or mortgage or lease agreement.
Benner Elementary - 355-2812
April 25 & May 23
Bellefonte Elementary - 355-5519
April 11, 12:00 - 7:30pm
May 8, 8:30 - 3:30pm
Marion-Walker Elementary - 357-2425
April 3 – 12:30 to 7:20 pm
May 9 – 8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Pleasant Gap Elementary - 359-2739
April 17 – 3:30 to 8:00 pm
May 16 – 8:30 to 11:00 am
- Penns Valley Area -
Registration for Kindergarten is done by appointment only. Look for further details in the Grapevine. If you have questions regarding registration, please call Deb Stover, Student Registrar, at 422-2000, extension 2532.
- Philipsburg-Osceola Area - Jeff Baker, 342-1050
Philipsburg Area School District
- State College Area - Connie Schulz or Deb Latta, 231-1001
Registration Dates: April 10-12
Parents' Top Ten Things You Can Do To Help Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
10 Send your child to preschool. "Read to your children and have them go to preschool the year or more before." "Send the child to a preschool at least for a few months."
9 Talk to other parents. "Talking with other parents was my best source of information!" "Speak to someone who just went through the transition."
8 Ask questions. "Be an advocate for your child. No question is a stupid question - ASK!"
7 Plan and prepare for time changes, rest, and self-help skills. Practice school routines. "Help child learn to listen, sit still, follow directions. Help child be independent, tie shoes, clean up, make choices." "Establish a routine with your child - consistent bedtime and later-in-the-day naps (if necessary)." "Start out with fewer activities the first week or so of school. Most children spend 1/2 the day in play and are now expected to sit and listen, so do this gradually." "Life skills at home are the best preparation for transition into school." "Make sure your child gets plenty of rest."
6 Talk to the teacher and administrators, and trust them to do their job well. "Ask the teacher if there are any concerns or if they need more information about the child's history." "The teachers and administrators are very helpful and willing to be very communicative with parents! You just have to ask!" "Our children are in good hands!" "Relax and enjoy! Teachers are supreme and will do a great job."
5 Be organized. "Write dates on your calendar, read the information given to you, and everything goes pretty smoothly." "Be prepared for the large load of information parents will receive about the first day." "Prepare a large file for all the paperwork."
4 Talk to your kids about what to expect. "Read books about Kindergarten, discuss with older siblings, role play." "Explain to your child that school is a great place to learn."
3 Read to your child and do fun learning activities at home. "The most important part a parent can do is read to their child and make sure they learn the basic shapes, colors, abcs before entering school." "You are your child's primary instructor - make the most of that opportunity. Read every day, show how you value education!"
2 Be confident and positive - let your kids know that YOU are ready for them to go have fun learning new things. "Always talk positively about school and how much fun it will be for your big kid." "Kids are probably more ready to go and adaptable to the change than we think they are." "Don't worry - it's harder on mom and dad than the child!"
And the number one best thing you can do to help your child prepare for Kindergarten is:
1 Attend as many school preparation activities as you can, preferably with your child. Most schools offer one or more of the following: classroom visit, meet the teacher, open house, registration, information meeting, kindergarten camp, bus orientation. "Bring your child to as many of the meetings/registration/parent info sessions as possible. Just being in the school allows your child to feel more comfortable to go to school when the first day arrives."