Preparing your Child with Disabilities for Kindergarten
Preparation is important for all children who are going to kindergarten. Preparing for your child with disabilities requires some additional thought and consideration.
Preparation begins with the IEP (Individualized Education Program)Many children with disabilities will have received services from the public school system before kindergarten. The public school system may have provided services in a regular early childhood program, special education early childhood program, the child’s home, or in a private setting. If so, your child already has an IEP and has been working on goals to prepare him/her for kindergarten. As your child gets ready to enter kindergarten, you may want to request an IEP meeting to discuss your child’s needs prior to the beginning of the kindergarten school year.Other children with disabilities may not be involved with the public school system until they are ready to enter kindergarten. If this is true of your child with a disability, or you suspect your child will be identified as having a disability when s/he are in kindergarten, you should call your school and request an evaluation for your child. This will help ensure that your child will be able to receive appropriate services when kindergarten begins.
Before your child starts kindergarten:
Share information with your child’s new teacher about:
What s/he likes and dislikes, such as listening to stories, drawing and coloring, playing alone or with other children
What your child does well and what things are harder for your child
Your child’s early learning experiences, including whether or not s/he was enrolled in a preschool or other pre- K program and how your child learns best
Special supports or services that your child previously received.
What should I do to help my child adjust to kindergarten?
Visit the new school and spend time with the teacher.
Explore the classroom, see the cafeteria, and visit the playground.
Talk about the bus ride or other transportation to and from school. If your child will ride the bus, practice walking to the bus stop.
Use pictures and/or stories to familiarize your child with the new classroom, school, and teacher. Check out children’s books or videos from your local library about starting kindergarten.
Reassure your child. Let your child know that you care about his/her feelings, by saying such things as, “It’s okay to feel sad, angry, scared, excited, etc.”
Let your child make choices about school clothes, food, and school supplies. This can help him/ her feel more confident and in control. This also increases his/ her independence skills.
The information contained in this document is a summary and does not provide every detail, exception or circumstance. Please refer to other resources or your local system for complete information. Nothing in this document is intended to state new law or supplant any federal or state laws, regulations or requirements.