It’s springtime, which means districts across Contra Costa County have opened up registration for Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten. If you have a child who turns five on or before September 1, then they are eligible to register for kindergarten. If your child turns five between September 2 and December 2 of this year, they are eligible for transitional kindergarten. (Our friends over at First 5 California break down the difference between kindergarten and transitional kindergarten).
Step one: Find your school
Contra Costa County is home to 18 different school districts. The one your child will attend depends on where you live. To find the schools in your area, enter your zip code into the California Schools Directory.
Step two: Get registered
Each school district has slightly different processes to register for kindergarten or transitional kindergarten. Learn about each district’s process from our friends at the County Office of Education. Together with them, we’ve compiled all the different registration dates and important information you should know for each district. It’s important to enroll sooner rather than later, as space may be limited in certain districts.
Step three: Prepare for the transition
For many children (and parents!), attending kindergarten or transitional kindergarten for the first time can be a big transition, so it is never too early to start preparing.
A few ideas:
Our First 5 Centers host ongoing class series focused on Kindergarten Readiness. Check out their calendars, register at the Center, and sign up for a class!
Start reading books about what it’s like to attend school. Here’s Terry Crews with Storyline Online reading the King of Kindergarten.
Whenever you drive past your child’s future school, talk about what it might be like to go there everyday, build friendships, and connect with teachers.
Be sure to create space for children to express big feelings like fear or anxiety, which are natural feelings in anticipating a big transition like starting kindergarten. One way to do this is to talk about how it’s okay to feel nervous or scared about something new. Another strategy is to read books, sing songs, or watch short videos on what to do when we have tough feelings [more examples?].
Dig into more resources! Our friends at PBSKids have several articles to help you and your child prepare for this transition:
- It’s Going to be Okay: The Transition from Play-Based Preschool to Kindergarten
- Help your child be courageous when facing something new
- How to Handle a Tough First Day of School
You’ve got this! Remember, we are on this journey together and in order to make the most of early childhood, it takes a village of community support, with families at the center.