Summer is winding down and soon school will be back in session. And for many kids preschool will be a new experience and their first with early education.
Preschool is a big step for both parents and children. The following are some tips to help ease the transition and make your child’s first school experience a positive event for everyone.
Partner with the Teacher
Talk to the teacher about the day’s activities so that at home, you can reinforce what your child learned at school. For example, if children are really into blocks, parents could check out books about construction from the library, visit a construction site or use material around the house, such as couch cushions and boxes, to build pretend cities. Ask teachers about new achievements and what you can do to help at home, such as emphasizing colors or shapes. Parents should also keep teachers informed of new interests or problems.
Look for what Interests your Child
“How was your day?” is too big of a question for preschoolers. They need prompts such as “I saw you playing with blocks. What did you build today?” This is a great way to connect. It makes for an easy start to the next day, too, when on the way to preschool you ask, “Will you play with blocks again today?” It lets your child know that you know what they’re doing and that you’re thinking about them even when you’re apart.
For many children, learning about friendship is the best part of preschool. Parents can support friendships by arranging a play date, which give children a chance to learn about friendship one-on-one. Teachers can tell you whom your child plays well with or point our favorite playmates. Play dates are most successful if they are planned, with an activity that both children are sure to enjoy.
Make it Routine
Children make the transition from home to school more easily if parents establish a routine, such as skipping from the parking lot or saying the same things – “I love you to the moon and back” – every day. Parents should always say goodbye with a hug before they leave so children learn that while Mom & Dad have to leave, they always return.
Link School and Home
The language used at school can be duplicated at home, making for an easy transition between the two important places in the child’s life. Use the same reminders at home as they do at school such as, “Please use your inside voice,” or sing the same song at home as they do when they clean up at school. Also, point out the differences between home and school such as raising your hand to speak at school, but simply speaking to each other at home. A link between a child’s preschool and everyday family life can promote a sense of security, and he’ll be more likely to do well in school.
Southwest Human Development’s early literacy programs help young kids build skills they need to become successful readers & lay a foundation for lifelong literacy.