Stepping Up: Out of Kindergarten and into Primary
As summer break approaches, little learners from Beijing to Britain and everywhere in-between are preparing to step up to a new challenge, Primary School. At Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing) we have been working to ready our Year 4 Kindergarten scholars for the transition to Year 1 of Primary for several months now. While our devoted educators will continue to shepherd our little learners through this transition during the first few months of the 2019-2020 school year, we are enlisting our most dedicated, effective reserve forces to continue this critical work over the summer months, parents.
Following our recent Year 1 Information Session, for parents of K4 students, we spoke with Mr James Sweeney, Vice-Principal & Head of Primary. Mr Sweeney shared useful tips for parents on how they can support and smooth the path from Kindergarten to Primary School for transitioning little ones.
1. Talk and Read
Talk to your child throughout the summer about transitioning from Kindergarten to Primary School. Try to help them understand the main changes that are to come, and do your best to answer any questions they have.
Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to ready them. Especially during the summer break. The language doesn’t matter. In fact, reading to them in your mother-tongue is essential and shouldn’t be skipped in favour of English. Reading to them daily will help in developing their attention spans, focus, critical thinking, self-regulation, and vocabulary. All essential for success in Primary School.
2. Independence and Social Skills
Create opportunities for your little ones to practice autonomy and regularly interact with their peers. For example, during their daily routines, have them:
• dress themselves
• pack and unpack their bag (lunch bag, toy bag, backpack, etc.)
• straighten up after themselves (i.e. put their things away without help after playing, take their own dishes to the sink after meals, etc.)
• play in groups (make time for playing with other children)
3. Play and Explore
Let your child learn through play and experiences. Create a fun environment for your child and take advantage of opportunities for learning as they emerge while you play. Also, help them explore the world around them with visits to parks, museums and other fun outings. Be sure to engage your child in conversation during these adventures to create learning opportunities.
4. Avoid Common Mistakes
While we all want the best for our children, it’s hard to always get it right. A few common mistakes to avoid during this critical phase of your child’s life are:
• Too much pressure: each child is unique and learns at their own speed. Respect that and work with them accordingly. Look for their strengths and focus on developing those the most.
• Abandoning mother tongue: English is a great tool that can open many doors for children as they grow, but it is not more valuable or important than their mother tongue. Keep talking and reading to your child in their native tongue and incorporate English into these interactions. They will learn best when their native tongue is respected and nurtured alongside the new language(s) they are introduced to.
• Overscheduling: Summer goes fast. Take this precious time to enjoy the break with your child. Fun should be top priority, with reading priority number two.
Click here to download a printable copy of the reading list prepared by Mr Sweeney and his Co-Principal of Secondary, Mrs April Peng.