Our Head of Preschool, Simona Chongo, and Assistant Head of Elementary (K-2), Lorraine Chao, reflect on how we support students (and parents!) in the transition from the last year of preschool to the first year of elementary school.
The preschool years at PKS are a truly special and magical time. The summer before they first start school, students see their teachers for the first time via postcard, and for many, these same teachers will be their educational guides for the next three years. As our preschoolers move from P1 to P2 to P3, each class becomes its own microcosm that grows together, learns together, explores together, and welcomes new members together.
As preschoolers transition to kindergarten, they will continue to grow, learn, explore, and welcome new friends, but in a new setting. They will graduate to a new part of campus, with new classmates and class compositions, new teachers, and a new rhythm to their daily schedule. For some children this experience is a welcome adventure, while others may feel a bit of trepidation.
Our goal is to ensure that all PKS preschoolers are excited and ready for Kindergarten, and we will begin preparing our P3 Pine and Oak Tree students for this new educational milestone in the next few weeks.
Starting in late October / early November, each P3 student will participate in a 60-minute kindergarten readiness assessment with an independent child development expert that will help us better understand his/her academic, physical, and social-emotional strengths. There are four main categories that the expert will observe and that crucially inform our approach to nurturing the whole child:
Self-care and motor skills
Based on these results, our teachers and staff will scaffold learning to better support and prepare each child for elementary school. As a parent, there is no need to do anything differently: continue to teach responsibility and problem solving, provide opportunities for independence and self-care, provide outdoor play time and good nutrition, and read to your child every day.
As the year goes on, our P3 students will have a chance to visit kindergarten classrooms and get to know some of the kindergarten teachers. Our preschool teachers and kindergarten teachers will begin an open dialogue to ensure that the transition between the two divisions is as seamless as possible. Our goal is to make sure that all our students feel a sense of belonging, starting in preschool and extending through their entire PKS experience.