The first five years of a child’s life are critical in establishing the foundations for their learning, and preschool is becoming increasingly important to a child’s academic success. As parents, you play a key role in helping to set them up to succeed. Here are five tips to prepare your child for preschool.
Reading is a critical skill in developing early literacy and listening ability. It isn’t merely a skill that will help your son prepare for preschool, but is an important skill in order to succeed in life.
When reading with your child, choose books that are appropriate for preschool so that you can share a conversation about it afterwards. Studies have found that shared parent-child book reading during preschool years lead to higher reading achievement in primary school, as well as creating greater enthusiasm for reading and learning. Studies also found that young children who read regularly tend to have a larger vocabulary, higher levels of phonology, greater knowledge of letter names and sound awareness as well as better success at decoding words.
Schedule time with friends
Play dates, leading up to starting preschool, are helpful because they allow your son to learn social skills. One of the great benefits of preschool is the socialisation that’s offered. It’s in the preschool environment that children learn how to interact appropriately with their peers. So if your son has prior experience with interacting with others, then sharing, being respectful and taking turns won’t be completely new concepts when they do begin preschool. Play dates help your son to connect more deeply with a friend, and allows you as a parent to see how your son behaves with his peers.
Children are also multisensory beings; it’s important to stimulate all of their senses. Giving them the opportunity to mix with different people in different settings makes this possible.
Although self-reliance isn’t necessarily a characteristic to describe toddlers, it is still important for him to show signs of independence. You can help facilitate this by allowing him to practice basic self-help skills, such as choosing his outfits and deciding what to eat. Having this level of independence will help him transition into preschool.
Practice communication and emotional expression
Being able to express emotions on his own will help your son when he enters preschool and interacts with other children. Teach your son to talk about what he’s feeling and validate how and why he feels the way he does. Encourage him to use gestures or words, rather than grunting or crying. When you’re talking with your son, give him the time to respond. Make eye contact on his level – this will communicate your desire to hear what he has to say.
Help develop physical skills
Working on your son’s gross motor skills is important leading up to the start of preschool. The best part is that this can be an entire family activity. Simple activities such as a trip to the playground, playing hopscotch, playing catch or going swimming can help your son develop the physical skills he needs.
Preschool is certainly an important time for your son and his journey into becoming a young man, but it is also a very exciting time for him and for you as a family.
Learn more about preschool at Scots by downloading a copy of our EYC prospectus.