Novice kindergarten (KG) teachers often encounter various challenges that may prevent them from performing satisfactorily during the transition from school to work. In Hong Kong, this issue has become more salient under the Free Quality Kindergarten Education Scheme which induces heavier workload and higher expectation on teachers’ performance. Self-control is a crucial factor that facilitates individuals’ performance via promoting positive thoughts, emotion, and behavior as well as preventing the negative counterparts. In this research, we examined the hypotheses that novice KG teachers’ pre-existing self-control would predict better subsequent job performance through promoting work engagement and preventing work stress. Students from an early childhood education (ECE) higher diploma program reported their self-control at the final semester of the program. Those working in the ECE classrooms after graduation rated their work engagement and work stress at the end of the first month of the new semester, and those who retained in the job also reported their job performance at the end of the first semester (final N = 117, 96.6% females). The results of mediation model fully supported our hypotheses. These findings suggest that enhancing self-control, improving work engagement and reducing work stress could be promising ways to facilitate novice KG teachers’ job performance during the school-to-work transition period. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.