Transitioning From A Private Daycare To A Public Kindergarten

Posted on: 8 October 2015

If your child's private daycare facility does not feed into a private elementary school, or if you simply elect to send your child to public school rather than private school after preschool, you will have to help your child transition from the private daycare environment to a public school environment. While much of the transition will be similar to the transition children continuing into private school will experience, there are several aspects of public education that your child should be prepared for. 

Larger Class Sizes

Many private preschools offer much smaller class sizes than public preschools. For this reason, your child may feel a little overwhelmed if they begin attending a public elementary school with larger class sizes. Having more children to interact with can either overexcite your child or cause them to behave shyly. 

To make the transition easier, you may consider enrolling your preschooler in an activity, such as a dance or art class, that exposes them to more children than their current preschool class. Over the summer, consider taking them to places where other children play so they can practice meeting new children and making new friends. 

Higher Child-Teacher Ratio 

Many private daycare centers offer very low child-adult ratios. This means that your child may be used to constantly having input and assistance from an adult without having to wait for other children to be helped first. 

You may have to help your child work on their patience at home. When your child asks for help with something, instead of helping them immediately, let them know that you are aware they need help and that you will help them when you finish what you are doing. Gradually extend the time before you engage with them to help them learn to wait their turn. 

The good news is that the extra one-on-one experience your child gets during preschool will likely increase their independence during elementary school, making them successful in an environment with a lower child-teacher ratio. 

Different Teaching Styles 

Every teacher has different teaching styles, but if your child attends a preschool with specific learning methods, such as Montessori or Waldorf, they may have to get used to different teaching techniques when they begin attending public school. This may include more group activities and less time for individual play and exploration. 

You should discuss the different expectations between your child's preschool and elementary school before they begin attending the elementary school. 

Varying Academic Levels 

It is likely that most children in your child's private preschool have similar academic skills. However, in a public preschool your child will be put into a group of children who have learned different academic areas. Some children may be more advanced than your child in basic reading, writing and math skills, while other children may be behind your child. 

It is important to let your child know that they may relearn things they have already learned in preschool while other activities may be new and difficult. 

Greater Diversity 

Public schools often offer more economic, racial, religious, and ability diversity than private schools. Your child may meet children who speak, think, and look differently than their current friends. To prepare them for this, you may want to read some appropriately-aged books about diversity and acceptance

Since not all public elementary schools have public preschools associated with them, it is common to transition from private daycare to public elementary school. There will be several other children in your child's class experiencing a similar transition, which should make the experience easier for your child. However, it is important that you are prepared to assist your child through the transition.