Transition to Kindergarten

young children drawing at a table with a smiling teacher

Attending kindergarten is a big first step into your child’s school-age years.  Preparing for this transition can make for a smooth start for parents and child.

In Michigan, if a child turns 5 before September 1st they are eligible to attend kindergarten.

Preparing for the IEP meeting to plan for kindergarten is important. Parent input is important, and included in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance statement.

Many districts host a Kindergarten Roundup in the spring to register next year’s kindergarteners. Special education is a service, not a place.  IDEA requires placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each child, a setting that is based on the child’s IEP. Students must be taught alongside their typically developing peers as much as possible.

Effective kindergarten teachers know that children start kindergarten with a wide range of skills. You do not need to drill letters, numbers, and facts, before school starts. But there are some things to prepare both you and your child for kindergarten.

• Visit the new school. Explore the playground. If more supports are needed to ease the transition, that can be included in the IEP.

• Describe and practice the new daily routines like arrival, snack and lunchtime, and using the bathroom at school.

• Plan playdates with future classmates.

• Read books about starting school. Book Lists & Recommendations for Ages 3-5  

More resources:

Note:  Since the 2015-2016 year, the new permanent requirement in Michigan is for kindergartners to be 5 years old by September 1st. There are some exceptions to this law, but you must register before June 1 to qualify for them.

More Michigan Alliance for Families webpages related to other times of school transition:

Transition from Grade to Grade
Transition to a New School
Transition To Preschool
Transition to Kindergarten
Transition from Elementary to Middle School
Transition from Middle School to High School
Transition to Adulthood
Retention/Social Promotion

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