This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about kindergarten. The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Kindergarten. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

Kindergarten is the level or grade most students start elementary school. Starting school can make some children nervous or scared, and they should understand that these emotions are natural. Help children address their fears by focusing on the fun, positive aspects of school. Children should understand that school is a place to learn. Review different aspects of school and walk through a typical day in kindergarten with your children in order to get them comfortable with school and feel excited about learning. We recommend screening the BrainPOP Jr. movie on School.

Remind children that a teacher is someone who teaches a class. Some classes have one teacher. Other classes have multiple teachers. Some teachers teach special topics such as art, music, computers, and ELL/ESOL. A student is someone who learns in class. Remind your children that they are students. Your children should understand that they must follow school rules. Different classes have different rules and teachers, but there are a few basic ones. Listen to your teacher; show respect to your classmates; raise your hand; sit up straight; keep the classroom tidy, etc.

Review with your children when kindergarten starts and ends. Students get to school in different ways. Some students take the school bus while others take a train, public bus, or carpool. Older students may ride their bikes or walk. Students often visit multiple classes or rooms in a class during their day, such as the library or computer lab. They may change classrooms during different times of the day when they learn different subjects such as science or art. Sometime in the morning, there is recess, or a short break from class. Most schools have cafeterias where students eat their lunches. Some students buy lunch, while others bring them from home. Free or reduced lunch may be available, as well as breakfast programs, and teachers can help family members navigate their options. Lunch is an opportunity for students to talk and build social skills. Some students may have indoor or outdoor recess after lunch. Remind children that a gym, or gymnasium, is a place where people exercise and play sports indoors. Some kindergarten classes are released in the early afternoon, while other classes spend a full day at school. If your child is going to after-school, day care, or picked up by another adult, make sure they understand the procedure and have a written note with instructions to be kept on file. Teachers may assign homework, and kindergarten parents should check backpacks for notes and assignments while your child is beginning to learn responsibility. It’s a good idea to keep a separate folder for notes and work that goes to and from school.

Some children may be afraid of starting school. Assuage their fears by helping them focus on the fun activities they’ll do during their day, trips they may take, or the new things they’ll be learning. In kindergarten, students learn the alphabet and begin to read and write, they learn about numbers and how to count, they learn about colors and animals, and much more. Classes may take trips to exciting places, such as museums or parks. If students feel nervous, they can talk to their friends, teachers, and trusted adults and avoid thinking about the things they miss at home. Feeling nervous, anxious, or even proud or excited is normal and it will help for kids to know that other kids are feeling the same mix of emotions.

Parents can help prepare in advance by practicing routines, like good bedtimes, picking up toys, brushing teeth, or helping set the table. There is probably no better way to prepare your child for kindergarten than to read for your child everyday. If possible, visit your child’s new school and classroom over the summer and familiarize them with their new surroundings. Find out what school supplies are needed if possible and involve your child in preparing them with you. Make sure your child knows their full name, and if possible, their phone number and address. Make sure they get a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast everyday to help them be the best kindergartners they can be.