How Do I Prepare My Child For Preschool?
By Emily Valentine and Priscilla Garcia - Emily Valentine currently teaches the toddler class at Discovery Child Development Center and Priscilla Garcia is a preschool teacher at Discovery.
While the first day of school can be stressful for children and parents alike, it can also reap great rewards, even in the early days when your child might be upset at having to separate from you, the parent or caregiver. Some children may have a negative reaction to the first day of school, and how you respond can help your child work through those negative emotions and experience success at school.
One way to prepare your child for school is to read books about going to school and relate the book content to the child’s upcoming entry into school. Once you have been able to tour the school and classroom and meet your child’s teacher or watch your teacher’s welcome video, you can talk with your child about the details of their class. Some books we recommend at the beginning of the school year:
As a parent, it is important to be consistent with your drop off routine. Develop a routine for saying goodbye to your child. This can be something that you decide on with your child and could include a hug followed by a kiss, high five, etc. It is important that even if your child is upset and crying that you say goodbye and not try to sneak out. If your child is unaware that you left, they can feel insecure and more upset the next time you drop them off at school. In my toddler classroom for example, it is okay for a child to bring a small security item such as a small stuffed animal, small car or other small toy from home.
Now that you’ve gotten your child in the door, let’s talk about some skills that can be very helpful to practice at home. These are not skills that we expect the children to have mastered, but familiarizing them with these concepts will help them when they are entering the classroom. A lot of these skills are learned through repetition and modeling by the teachers and children will pick them up even more quickly when the teachers and parents are on the same page, working on the same skills together.
Focusing on these things with your child will foster independence and confidence in your child and will help them have a great start in preschool. A lot of these tasks take practice so don’t be discouraged if it takes a lot of reminders. We as teachers will be there to support you and your child and will do all we can to help them get off to a great start!
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