This time of year brings graduation photos of all types, including lots of preschool graduation photos on Facebook, which are SO CUTE!! It also, for many of us, involves enrolling our children in preschool for next year for the first time. I recently had my enrollment meeting with the supervisor of the preschool that Wild Thing will attend in August and, of course, she went over some of the things that they expect the children to be able to do -- many of these things are not academic, but rather involve a certain level of independence in the child (like getting dressed by themselves). This got me thinking -- are there things I can do this summer to get my child ready for the big day on August 12th? The answer, of course, is yes! Plus, I realize, these things can be fun or, as Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool suggests I can fill his summer with experiences that will engage him and prepare, while he has fun. (By the way, Deborah as over 25 years of early childhood education experience and a really cool blog, and if you have a child that finished preschool, Deborah has some great tips about preparing your child for Kindergarten too!)
I asked her for some tips on preparing a child for their preschool experience and selected some posts from the Kid's Co-Op last week that I thought might be helpful. Plus, you should check out this cool post of hers on 10 ways to use pool noodles for learning and play!
For every child, the preschool experience will be a little different depending on where the child is emotionally, socially, physically, and cognitively which also means 'getting ready for preschool' will be a little different for every child. As you consider ideas to help your child prepare for a successful preschool experience, consider the following tips...
1. Think in terms of "experiences" instead of "projects." They don't have to be big and elaborate experiences. Simple and fun experiences such as pouring a pitcher of water into cups can build strong skills in eye-hand coordination (aiming for the cup), fine motor control (holding and pouring at the same time), daily life skills (pouring his own juice), critical thinking (how much is too much or too little), self regulation (should I stop or keep going?) and more. (Jenni adds - I love this water pouring post from Living Montessori Now).
2. For each experience you plan, ask yourself - "In what way(s) might this experience help my child grow physically, emotionally, socially, or cognitively?"
3. Throughout the experience, be there to provide guidance or encouragement where needed but at the same time, step back and give your child some space to explore, make decisions, make mistakes, and self-adjust.
4. For every experience you share with your child, get into the practice of being an observer of your child's interests, preferences, decision-making, independence, and confidence in participating and managing those experiences.
As you help your child prepare for the journey through preschool remember that positive, fun, and open ended experiences will help to build your child's confidence and, with time, master new skills that are appropriate for his or her development.
Here's my Kid's Co-Op picks: Simple & Easy Ideas for Building Toddler Self-Help Skills from A Simple Planner, Lessons Learnt Journal's Rainbow Writing, which I want to try with Wild Thing because I think it will build his confidence as he sometimes fears messing up and will not try writing because of this.
I also know many parents that worry about little ones knowing their numbers and letters, so I thought I would share these fun number and letter learning activities from last week as well: Counting and Numbers Games from KZ and ME, Letter Learning Activities from fun-a-day and The Kavanaugh Report - Tot School Letter L.
Sharing at: Sharing Saturday, Stress-Free Sunday, The Sunday Showcase, Tuesday Tots, Mom's Library.