3 ways to help your child successfully transition into preschool and kindergarten | St. Louis Public Radio

3 ways to help your child successfully transition into preschool and kindergarten

Aug 15, 2017

It’s that time of year again: children are heading back to school, some for the first time. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the ways parents, family members and caregivers can support young children in making a successful transition into school life.

Joining the program to discuss was Stephen Zwolak, the CEO of the LUME Institute and Executive Director of the University City Children’s Center.

“We really need to think about what was that like when we made the first transition,” Zwolak said. “We will either do something completely opposite or do the same things. That’s the first step in a transition: be empathetic, think about what your child could be thinking about.”

Zwolak identified four main things to think about starting a kid in school.

1. Understand each child has a different temperament when it comes to starting school.

When children go to school, consider how that temperament interacts with a parent’s temperament, a teacher’s temperament and other students’ temperament.

“Kids need three things: a real sense of belonging, a real sense of appropriate power and an understanding they will be loved and cared for,” Zwolak said.

2. It is a three-to-six month transition period for children to understand school.

“If you think you’re going to go into a job and get it in the first or second week, it won’t happen,” Zwolak said. “You have to understand, culture and behaviors. There’s a lot for a child to put together. Often a child will go into school for three weeks and say ‘this is wonderful,’ but after that time, they’ll want to go back to the way things were.”

3. Drive past the child’s school several times before school starts.

Ahead of a child’s first school experience, drive past the school and begin dialogue about what school is and what they will do there. Zwolak also recommends visiting the school to bridge school and home.

Listen to the full discussion here:

Related Events

What: University City Childrens Center Benefit Concert "Fairytales Can Come True"
When: Thursday, August 17, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Caramel Room at Bissingers, 1600 N. Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.