Most children start kindergarten when they are 5 years old and start grade 1 when they are 6 years old. They may be eager to learn new things and will likely be excited, nervous or a little of both.
Registering for school
Depending on where you live, your child can start kindergarten as early as 4½ years old. Most children start when they’re 5 years old.
For more information about being a partner in your child’s education, visit Alberta Education.
For more information about what your child will learn in school, visit LearnAlberta.ca
You can help your child have a good start at school
- Take her for health check-ups. Up-to-date immunizations and check-ups (medical, dental, vision and hearing) will help your child be ready to learn. Some health problems can get in the way of learning and a check-up may find a problem early.
- Talk about what to expect at school (e.g., how she’ll get there and what she'll do in class). Also let her know what you will be doing when she’s not with you.
- Take a school tour and meet her teacher and principal. She can see the classroom, front office, washroom, library, gym and playground. Try to remember the names of 1 or 2 other children on the tour.
- Start your new routine a month or so ahead. Shift slowly to a regular time for getting up, having meals and going to bed.
- Read books about starting school. These books will help her understand more about what school will be like. Local libraries have books about school.
- Respect children’s different temperaments. Children adjust to change in different ways. Your child may adjust to school differently than other children. Learn more about temperament here.
- Be positive with your child about starting school. Share fun memories of teachers you had and things you enjoyed doing at school. She will enjoy it more if she knows school is important to you.
Supporting your child in school
While you continue to be important to your child, her teachers will also become important people in her life.
When you show your child you think school is worthwhile, she is more likely to think so too.
- Children benefit when their families show support for teachers and schools.
You can support learning and show your child that education is important to you.
- Share your child’s interests, strengths and challenges with her teacher. Ask what you can do to help her at home.
- Find out the best way to keep in touch with her teacher. Sending emails or notes often works well.
- Attend school events, learning celebrations and meetings to find out how things are going for your child and the rest of her class.
- Take time to talk to your child about her day. Ask her open questions like "What was the best thing that happened at school today?" or "What did you learn about today?"
- Show her that you value her work by asking her if it’s okay to hang it on the fridge or wall so everyone can see it.
- Encourage her to tell the family and other important people in your lives about her school activities.
- Read and share stories with her every day.
When you support your child's learning in any way, you help her to succeed.
Helping your child adjust to school
Children sometimes get tired of school once the excitement of starting something new wears off. Your child might be anxious if she isn’t used to being away from you. She might think she’s missing out on activities at home.
You can help your child adjust to school.
- Make sure she has enough sleep. She may need extra sleep, especially at first.
- Offer healthy meals and snacks.
- Don’t plan too many activities before or after school.
- Spend extra time together on days when she doesn't have school.
If your child strongly resists going to school or seems to always be complaining about something (e.g., stomach ache or headache), you’ll want to find out more.
- Ask her what she thinks might help.
- Talk to her teacher for suggestions to help your child.
- Arrange a check-up with your health care provider.
- Talk to other parents to see if their children have similar problems.
Don’t schedule too many things
Try not to schedule too many activities and appointments in your child's free time.
Organized activities like preschool, child care and kindergarten need a certain level of attention from children.
A young child uses a lot of energy staying focused in school. She needs down time once she gets home to burn off some physical energy and reconnect with the ones she loves.