Kindergarten: The First Visit

Kindergarten: The First Visit
Starting kindergarten is a huge milestone for both you and your child! Luckily, visiting your child’s school before classes begin will help you get ready for this new adventure.


Starting kindergarten is a huge milestone for both you and your child! Luckily, visiting your child’s school before classes begin will help you get ready for this new adventure.

Schools know that starting kindergarten is both an exciting and nerve-racking time for families. To help you transition smoothly into this new environment, schools organize an orientation session for parents and children before school starts.

This orientation session varies from school to school, but its purpose is always the same: to familiarize the child with the kindergarten classes and teachers, and to inform parents about the school. Orientation is usually held in the spring, although in some schools it takes place in August. You will be informed of the date when you register your child for kindergarten.

What to expect?

Generally speaking, during orientation, the children will go to a classroom with a teacher and do some short activities, usually a craft or the reading of a story followed by a discussion. Your child will also be able to play a little with the toys in the classroom. The teacher’s goal is to give the children a positive first experience of school.

The teachers and sometimes other professionals (psychoeducator, specialist teacher) use this opportunity to observe their future students. This helps them form more balanced groups to avoid, for example, placing all the calm or more active children in the same class.

Obviously, your child may be more excited, or rather more timid and reserved than usual during orientation. Don’t worry—the staff already know this.

That’s why, whether on registration day or during this first visit, you are usually asked to fill out a questionnaire on topics such as your child’s strengths and skills, their behaviour, and their likes and dislikes.

In some cases, you may also be asked to complete a separate questionnaire for your child’s teacher on how your little one behaves in a group setting. This information helps the teachers get to know your child better so that their interaction with your child at school will be more effective.

Answers to your questions

While the children are enjoying themselves in class, the school principal meets with the group of parents. Often, there are also other staff members present, including the daycare manager. This is the opportunity to learn more about a wide range of subjects regarding the school, including class schedules, bus transportation, steps to take if your child is sick, and so forth. You will usually also be given documents to help you remember all this information.

Your child can start getting a feel for the school, the classes and the kindergarten teachers during the orientation session before school starts.

Time is then set aside to answer questions from parents. It’s a good idea to write your questions down before the orientation session so that you don’t forget them. However, if you have questions regarding your child’s particular needs, for example, regarding a disability, disorder, or illness, it’s best to schedule a meeting with the school’s administration. A private meeting will allow the staff concerned to discuss the situation with you and to then plan the measures required to meet your child’s needs.

When school starts, in early September, another parent-teacher meeting is planned. This is an important meeting since the teacher will explain the class structure, the evaluation methods, the main in-class activities and the field trips planned for the school year.

Virtual visits
In the event that a situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic prevents this first classroom visit with your child, schools may organize another activity to familiarize you with kindergarten. This could be a videoconference, a virtual book, a home visit, or activities in the schoolyard.

 

Things to keep in mind

  • An orientation session is planned for you and your child before school starts so that you can familiarize yourselves with this new environment.
  • On registration day or your first visit to the school, you will usually be asked to fill out a form about your child and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Once you have registered at the school, if your child has a disability, illness, or any special needs, it is important that you meet with the school’s administration as soon as possible so that the staff can make any necessary arrangements.

 

Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Marie-Hélène Dufour, Kindergarten Teacher
Research and copywriting:
The Naître et grandir team
Updated: December 2021

 

Useful links and resources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

Online

Books for parents

  • Au retour de l’école... La place des parents dans l’apprentissage scolaire, 3e édition, M.-C. Béliveau, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2019, 272 p.
  • Les grandes émotions des tout-petits, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2020, 144 p.
  • Petit Loup entre à l’école, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2012, 96 p.
  • Petit Loup se sent bien à l’école, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2015, 96 p.

Books for kids

  • 1,2,3 à l’école, M. Dubuc, Casterman, 2020, 32 p.
  • À l’école, les grands!, texte: A. M. Bergeron, ill.: Maco, Éditions Imagine, 2012, 32 p.
  • Allons à l’école, texte: L. Charlesworth, ill.: M. Baker, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 16. p.
  • En route pour l’école, collectif, Éditions Hemma, 2015, 16 p.
  • Gédéon va à l’école, L. Wall, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 24 p.
  • J’adore l’école! texte : R. Munsch, ill. : D. Whamond, Éditions Scholastic, 2020, 32 p.
  • J’aime la maternelle avec Biscuit et Cassonade, C. Munger et C. Chabot, Éditions de la Bagnole, 2018, 48 p.
  • Je ne veux pas aller à l’école, texte : E. Abécassis, ill.: A. Siroy, Éditions Thomas Jeunesse, 2013, 28 p.
  • Je suis capable! C’est la rentrée, D. Pelletier, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 24. p.
  • Je veux pas aller à l’école, S. Blake, École des loisirs, 2011
  • La grande école, ton album de la rentrée, texte : J. Rochefort, ill. : J Morin, Éditions Fonfon, 2011, 32 p.
  • La rentrée de Gaston, S. Yoon, Éditions Scholastic, 2016, 40 p.
  • La rentrée de papa, M. Wohnoutka, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 40 p.
  • La rentrée de Roudoudou, C. Bielinsky, Bayard Jeunesse, 2019, 26 p.
  • Le monstre des couleurs va à l’école, A. Llenas, éditions Quatre fleuves, 2019, 38 p.
  • Le premier jour d’école de Madame Pépin, texte: P. Robbins Janousky, ill.: M. Lands, Éditions Scholastic, 2017, 32 p.
  • Les Monsieur Madame et la rentrée des classes, A. Hargreaves, Hachette, 2018, 40 p.
  • Pat le chat : J’adore aller à l’école, texte: É. Litwin, ill. J. Dean, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 40 p. 
  • Princesse Paola à la maternelle, texte: J. Couëlle, ill.: M. Arbona, Éditions Planète rebelle, 2012, 32 p.
  • Roi de la maternelle, texte : D. D. Barns, ill.: V. B. Newton, Éditions Scholastic, 2020, 32 p.
  • Qui sera mon professeur?, texte: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 32 p.
  • Qui m’amènera à l’école cette année?, texte: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 32 p.
  • Sam apprend à aimer l’école, texte: S. Martel, ill.: C. Battuz, Dominique et compagnie, 2010, 24 p.

 

Photo : Nicolas St-Germain

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