School Readiness and Transition to Kindergarten

Success in Kindergarten

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) believes that a high quality kindergarten program provides an education that meets each child’s needs, interests, and level of development. Kindergarten offers opportunities for children to observe, explore, experiment, and investigate the world around them.

Parent Strategies

FCPS recognizes that parents are their children’s first teachers. These resources provide parents with ways to support their children to help ensure a successful transition to kindergarten. Parents are encouraged to engage children in these activities in their home language.

tranlsations Official PDF Translations

Oral Language

Oral language is the basis for all communication, both spoken and written. With your child:

  • Talk about what you are doing and what they are doing.
  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes.


Children develop reading behaviors before they enter school. Print (e.g., books, street signs, email) is encountered early in life. With your child:

  • Go to the library or bookstore for storytime.
  • Check out books from the library.
  • Use wordless books and pictures to make up a story.
  • Let your child choose his or her own book.
  • Point to the words and talk about what they mean.
  • Let your child know he or she is a reader.


Children begin to explore writing in many ways. They make scribbles and print-like marks, draw pictures, write strings of letters, write letters in their name, write words they see, and write letters to match sounds. With your child:

  • Encourage drawing and writing notes to family and friends.
  • Make lists.
  • Make up stories about the pictures they have drawn.


An understanding of mathematics happens as children use objects in the home. With your child:

  • Sort objects such as socks, crayons, and cereal.
  • Look for patterns (e.g,.stripes on a shirt, petals on a flower).
  • Touch and count objects or toys.
  • Talk about different coins when you go to the store.


Science for young children is exploring and discovering the world around them. With your child:

  • Talk about things you see outside.
  • Collect and sort leaves, sticks, and flowers and talk about their shape, size, and smell.

Social Studies

Children are beginning to move from thinking about themselves to thinking about the world around them. With your child:

  • Share family history. Help your child to tell family stories.
  • Get to know your community. Talk about the role of community members as you visit the fire station, post office, local police station, community center, swimming pool, and stores.


Technology, when available, provides another tool for learning. With your child:

  • Make age-appropriate software and apps available.
  • Talk about what he or she sees on the screen.

Emotional Development

Parents can help children become responsible, independent, and confident by setting clear limits and explaining appropriate behaviors. With your child:

  • Discuss and be consistent with rules and consequences.
  • Help your child understand that making mistakes is part of learning; encourage them to keep trying even when it is hard.
  • Encourage your child to find multiple solutions (e.g., “Can you think of a different way to do it?”).
  • Participate in programs in your community to help your child practice being away from you for a short time. Say good-by and give reassurance that you will return.
  • Work on developing independence by having them dress, use the bathroom, and wash hands.

Social Development

Social development begins as children interact with the world. Children learn socially when they engage in play and observe others. With your child:

  • Join in play and activities that encourage sharing and taking turns.
  • Encourage your child to get along with others and help them problem solve when difficulties arise. (e.g., “I can see it makes you upset when he takes your toy. How do you think we can solve this problem?”)

Physical Development

Daily opportunities to develop physical growth and coordination are important. With your child:

  • Play by practicing throwing, catching, kicking, rolling, bouncing, or chasing a ball.
  • String beads, buttons, or straws on pipe cleaners.
  • Visit local playgrounds.

Executive Function and Self-Regulation

These skills are the thinking processes that help us to plan, focus, and remember successfully. The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child has published an activity guide for building executive function skills.

Fun Learning Activities


Materials: An assortment of buttons, keys, rocks

  • Pour out a handful of objects.
  • Have your child sort by color, shape, or size.

Writing Tool Kit

Materials: Salt or sand, cookie sheet, pipe cleaners, play dough, markers, paper, crayons, pencils, envelopes, note cards

Provide a variety of materials for your child to use when practicing forming letters or words.

Math Egg Carton Game

Materials: egg carton, magic marker, small objects (e.g., shells, buttons, beans)

  • Number the holes inside the egg carton 1 through 12.
  • Have your child place the matching number of items in each hole (e.g., 5 shells in hole number 5).


Create an obstacle course using playground equipment and challenge your child to move through the course in different ways (e.g., walking, crawling, hopping).


Provide your child with different kinds of puzzles to help develop problem solving, memory, and planning skills.


When preparing snacks and/or small meals, invite your child to help. Participating in cooking helps develop self-control, memory, attention, oral language, reading, and math behaviors.


Partnering with School Readiness and Transition to Kindergarten

Early Childhood supports students and families in being ready for school. This includes developing the well-being of the whole child so that it aligns with the Kindergarten expectations.

  • Collaboration between Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers
  • Collaboration between schools and families
  • Ongoing instructional communication
  • Alignment of Curriculum

Bridge to Kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten is a big one for kids, and even more so for children who haven't had any preschool experience. FCPS offers the Bridge to Kindergarten program to help these future students to learn what its like in the school environment.

Parent Information about the Transition to Kindergarten from Early Childhood Special Education Services

The transition from a special education preschool program to kindergarten can be exciting yet overwhelming for students with disabilities and their families. Students face a lot of adjustments: a longer school day, a larger class size, new classmates, and new teachers. Fairfax County Public Schools approaches the transition with a team approach to ensure the child is provided with services to make their transition successful.

Kindergarten Registration