By: Becca Dey – Discovery Learning Extra Teacher
Preschool is a great experience for both children and adults. It gives young children the opportunity to interact with other children their age, gain independence by completing tasks of their own choice and carving out their own way through the classroom. It also gives them the chance to work with a teacher and get a first impression of their school years to come.
A good place to start is to get your child mentally ready; “School” is a very abstract concept to a child who has never been before. So, give your child some details about the experience. Tell him about the games that he will play, or the new friends and toys he will get to play with.
Be positive. Children take cues from their parents, so be calm and confident that everything will go well. Also, take this time to start congratulating your child’s “school-ready skills” by noticing them share with a sibling or a friend, by saying “ I noticed you shared your trucks with Lynne. That made her very happy. Your new friends at school are really going to like how well you share.” School should always be talked of in a positive manner to keep kids excited.
Take a visit to the school before classes start if possible. Visit your child’s classroom, meet the teacher, and find their cubby so they feel some ownership to this new place. Look for specific toys or books that your child will enjoy, and remind her about them as school approaches. “Remember Laura, next week you get to go to your school and play with that neat train set.”
Incorporate school into your life by using some “school language.” Talk about art time, rest time, snack time etc. Pretend play school with siblings or furry friends. Go on a mini “school shopping spree”. Your child can pick out a backpack and a few small supplies. This will make him feel like a big kid. Let your child play with the supplies before class starts to keep the excitement going.
Finally, reading books about starting school is a great way to approach the topic from another person’s viewpoint; these are some of my favorites:
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- Oh My Baby, Little One by Kathi Appelt
- Don’t Go! By Janet Breskin Zalben
- Owen by Kevin Henkes
- I am too absolutely small for School by Lauren Child
- Do you want to be my friend? By Eric Carle
- Wemberley Worried By Kevin Henkes
- Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney