Transition to School or Kindergarten Orientation programs are important for preparing kindergarten students for starting school. This blog post outlines a range of free worksheets and a range of other great resources to help support students in a smooth transition to school.
You can use these free printables for in-person orientation sessions, or to create Transition to School packs which provide children with lots of fun kindergarten readiness activities to give early learners a head start in the lead up to starting school.
Transition to School Packs
We initially created these packs in lieu of face-to-face Transition Sessions during Covid. However, they were so well-received by our incoming students (and their parents) that these packs will continue to form part of our Transition to School program moving forward, even once we are able to run the face-to-face sessions again! They provide parents with fun activities to complete with their children before they start their first year of school.
These Transition to School packs can be used to help support students in their transition to school by providing parents with fun activities to complete with their children before they start their first year of school. They contain a range of different activities to work on name and letter formation, fine motor skills, and important life skills such as learning to open/close lunch boxes, put on shoes etc. We also include information packs for parents.
Let's unpack what they include in more detail - all of these free resources can be found in the Freebee Library.
Think of these task cards as kindergarten checklists - the basic skills and life skills that we'd like young children to have grasped before they begin school.
In this free pack, 36 task cards are included with essential skills that parents can be working on with their child in the lead up to school.
They include skills such as:
- I can open my lunch box
- I can put my socks on by myself
- I can take off and put my jumper on by myself.
- I can put my shoes on by myself.
- I can open and close my drink bottle.
- I can share with others.
- I can pack away an activity when I am done.
- I can use the toilet correctly.
- I can copy my name.
- I can write my name.
- I can try to hold a pencil correctly.
- I can wear a hat when I am outside.
- I can open and close my school bag.
- I can carry my school bag.
- I can be brave and wave goodbye to my parents without getting upset!
- I can play kindly with others.
- I can tell the truth.
- I can follow instructions from an adult.
- I can walk safely inside.
- I can wait my turn to speak.
- I can use good manners.
- I can be brave when I am hurt.
- I can ask for help when I need it.
- I can keep my hands to myself.
- I can wait my turn.
- I can take it in turns to use equipment.
- I can sit and listen to a story.
- I can say sorry when I make a mistake.
- I can look after my own belongings.
- I can wash and dry my hands by myself.
- I can use kind words.
- I can put my shoes on the right feet.
- I can ask to join in with a game.
- I can use my words if I am upset or angry.
- I can blow and wipe my nose.
- I can bounce back when I lose a game.
Pick and choose the task cards that suit your school context!
We also provided students with a Write and Wipe plastic sleeve and a whiteboard marker, along with a range of tracing mats:
- Alphabet tracing worksheets - focusing on correct letter formation of lower case letters of the alphabet
- Number tracing worksheets - focusing on correct number formation and number recognition
- Name tracing - focusing on writing their own name with a capital letter at the start of a name and lowercase letters for the rest of the name
- Tracing of lines and basic shapes
These free printable worksheets can be downloaded from Mrs Learning Bee.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor activities are a great way to prepare children to use scissors, write with a pencil and other early writing skills.
Our fine motor activities which were included in our Transition to School pack included:
- Playdough name mat + tub of playdough
You might like to also include some simple math worksheets and fun math activities such as:
- Number matching mats - great for early number recognition
- Find the missing numbers
- Number tracing
Social stories are a brilliant way to help support children as they transition to new environments. They help to reduce anxiety and fear of the unknown by familiarising kids with what to expect throughout the school day, and also to show them the people who they will encounter.
Social stories can be printed or emailed out to parents. We encourage parents to read the social story multiple times in the lead up to starting school. It helps to make that first day of school a little more exciting and a little less daunting!
You can download my free editable Social Story template in the Transition to School section of the Freebee library.
These packs can be a lot of work, but they are definitely worth the effort. I recommend making it a team effort- many hands make light work!
Keeping open lines of communication with parents is so important. Parents can be just as nervous as their kids about starting school- particularly if it is their first child!
It's important that kindergarten teachers communicate early to parents that students all learn at different rates, and that as a professional educator, you will be committed to providing each and every child with a solid foundation. You might like to provide parents with an overview of the daily activities that their child will complete at school each day.
Some information that you may like to include for parents
- "Preparing your child for school" handout- this free handout provides parents with comprehensive information about what they can be focusing on with their child in the lead up to school, as well as what to expect on the first day of school.
- Fine Motor Activities grid - another freebie available at Mrs Learning Bee.
- You might like to provide parents with information about any necessary supplies that their child will need to bring to school.
We also run parent information sessions where we walk through all of the important things that parents need to know in the lead up to starting school- what skills to focus on, what to expect etc.
You can download this parent presentation for free in the Transition to School section of the Freebee library.
Transition Day Activities
Many schools also hold on-site Transition to School or Kindergarten Orientation days. These free kindergarten worksheets can be downloaded from the Freebee Library, and make great Orientation activities:
School Uniform Cut & Paste craft- students will cut/paste pictures of our school uniform and assemble it on the body.
Jellyfish counting craft- students will cut out the jellyfish tentacles and add dot stickers to match the numbers.
Name Craft- students will use pre-prepared pieces of coloured paper to glue onto an outline of their name.
You'll also find a range of printable kindergarten worksheets for name practice at Mrs Learning Bee.
We want to also make learning fun for kids during these sessions, so that they are excited to come back! Some other activities that you may like to include:
- Free play
- Fine motor activities
- Fun games in the classroom
- Simple sharing questions
- A trip to the school playground
Story book activities
You'll find a comprehensive list of story books for starting school in my free handbook: The First Week of Kindergarten - The Complete Guide.
I hope that these ideas help you to plan successful Transition to School programs for your new students!