Pre-school can be a challenging time for both parent and child. Parents have a hard time letting go of the child, and the child needs time to adjust to the routine of school. While pre-school isn’t quite as demanding as, say, medical school, you can follow these steps to help your child be successful in pre-school.
Before school starts, take your child to visit the classroom. Your child can meet his teachers, and see where he will hang up his coat, eat lunch and learn though creative play. Also, you can get a sense of how the day is structured so that you can identify potential problems and find solutions before the school year starts.
Talk with your child about what to expect when he goes to school. Once you know what the daily routine is, tell your child what will happen and in what order. You can start with the steps to get ready at home, how he will get to school, and what activities he will do there. You can expand these basics by talking about concepts such as sharing, taking turns and listening to the teacher. This will help your child feel confident about school and start to learn how to interact with other students and the teachers.
When notes and instructions are sent home, take the time to read and follow them. If an art project centers around a family photo, or if your child needs to wear tennis shoes in order to participate in gym, you need to send the required items. The teachers design the curriculum to teach students what they need to know to start kindergarten. It may not seem important, but art projects are practice on small muscle skills and gym class is practice on large muscle skills. These lessons, while fun for your child, really do teach skills that are requirements for kindergarten. Your child will also feel included, which will help him enjoy school.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep and a good breakfast. It’s important for children to be on a routine that works for their needs. As the start of the school year approaches, start putting your child to bed and waking him up just like you would for school. You know how much sleep your child needs to function and be well behaved, so make sure that he’s getting that amount. You also need to make sure that your child is eating a nutritious breakfast so that he can concentrate on the lessons and focus on what he needs to learn.
Read to your child. Not only will he learn how to listen and pay attention when teachers read stories in school, he will be exposed to basic literary skills and develop an appreciation for reading, which will serve him throughout his school years.
Stay positive about school. Let your child guide you as to what he needs, and don’t jump in to solve every problem. Encourage your child to tell you what he did or learned that day, or how specific field trips or activities went. This not only encourages your child to stay positive about going to school, but it can also alert you to any problems he might be having either with classmates or with the school work itself.
Pre-school is the beginning of 13 years of primary and secondary education. While one bad day of pre-school won’t jeopardize his entire education, a good pre-school experience will at least make it easier to get your child to school each day, and at most set your child up for a successful year of kindergarten.