If you're getting ready to enroll your child in preschool, you both may be a little anxious. You'll want to make sure they're well-prepared, but what exactly do they need to know before starting?
Preschool is about learning to learn, so many of the skills your child will need aren't the kind you can teach with worksheets.
How to use the potty
This one is pretty obvious. Preschools vary in their requirements, but, in general, children are expected to know how to use the toilet. Of course, preschool teachers understand that accidents happen and they can help support young kids as they become more consistent in this area. Be honest with your preschool about your child's potty skills - but avoid pressuring your child to hurry up and learn to use the potty - before taking the step of enrolling them.
When your child is entering preschool, social skills can be more important than academic ones. After all, they'll have plenty of time for academics throughout their school years, but social skills will enable them to start their journey right. Your child should be able to be away from you and be able to share, take turns, play with others, have good manners and join in with pretend play. A good way to learn these skills is by setting up plenty of play dates before your child enters preschool.
Teach your child how to be organized before he or she starts preschool. Help them use baskets or bins to store similar items together and show them where toys belong after playtime. Make cleaning up fun by putting on music or singing a song. You can also practice by putting up a coat hook for your child to use with a basket underneath for storing a backpack or bag. This will help prepare your child for cleaning up at preschool and for storing items in a cubby.
Reading and writing readiness
Your child doesn't need to know how to read and write at this young age, but they should show some readiness, such as being able to recognize some letters. Knowing colors and shapes as well as the difference between real and pretend is also helpful. Your child should also be able to sit still for about 15 minutes and be able to understand and comply with the classroom's rules.
How to be curious
Put down the flash cards and step away from the worksheets. Your child should bring curiosity, motivation and persistence with them on the first day. Help foster their desire for knowledge and encourage creativity by taking them to the aquarium or the science center rather than trying to drill basic academic skills. A curious mind is more important than any specific academic skill.
How to manage emotions
Emotional readiness is important for a child starting preschool, so help your child learn to manage their emotions. This will help them focus when it's time to listen and learn. It will also help them to get along well with fellow preschoolers. No one is perfect, of course, but your child should generally be able to meet the school's behavioral expectations.