Pre-primary Phase-in and the Transition to School

For 2s, the school year begins with a gradual and extended phase-in schedule designed with the developmental needs of two year olds in mind. Starting off in half groups for shorter periods of time, the the amount of time that children are in school builds over a period of a few weeks, eventually leading to the whole group being in school for the full class time. Depending on how many days a week the class meets, this phase-in period (until they reach the full schedule) may last between two and a half to four weeks. This gentle introduction allows teachers to get to know the children and establish clear routines, thus helping children to develop a sense of ownership and community in this new environment. It also allows time for children to develop the essential sense of trust and connection that will enable them to feel at ease in the classroom.

After remaining in the classroom for the first few days of school, parents or caregivers will leave the room for increasingly longer periods of time, depending on the teachers’ sense of each child’s individual comfort level. By the end of the phase-in period (and sometimes before), we will encourage children and adults to say goodbye at the end of the morning arrival time. We recognize, however, that some children may not yet be ready for this, in which case the teachers will work with families to create an individual plan for their child. Throughout this period, the Division Director and Early Childhood Development Consultant are available to meet and talk with families and caregivers when they are out of the classroom.

3s and 4 / 5s classes follow a phase-in schedule that is more accelerated and usually lasts between one to two weeks, depending on the length of the day and how many days a week the class meets.