Enrolling your child in a preschool is a great way to prepare your child for kindergarten. When you do so, preschool will be his or her first experience in a new learning environment and atmosphere. This will also be the first time he or she is separated from home and family. This separation can be very intimidating for kids at this young age, but this will get them out of their comfort zone and teach them how to socialize independently. There are ways to help students starting preschool feel more comfortable. Here are some activities parents can do at home daily to help them be more prepared.
Activities to Prepare Your Child for Preschool
Read and Follow
For a good start, as a parent, you can start by reading aloud to your child. Start with picture books. Make sure that the books are age appropriate. When reading aloud, try to point at the sentence that is being read, word by word. Let your child ask one or two questions each time and then continue while he or she is sitting still. Even better, ask him or her to hold the book and flip the page each time. Try to get not just story books, but also find books that teach. For example, books for manners, counting, alphabet, etc. When done reading, ask what he or she thinks about the book, why he or she likes it or dislikes it, and what he or she would do in that situation. Ask as many related questions as possible. This will prepare your child to understand how to answer questions, speaking out his or her opinion, and the concept of cause and effect.
Alphabet and Its Song
Introduce your child to the alphabet. Start with singing the alphabet song together. Before singing the song, have all 26 letters written on a piece of paper. Treat this as your child’s first English worksheet. While singing, point at each letter so he or she can see what each letter looks like. Soon, your child will learn how to sing the song alone and remember the alphabet. After sometime, cut out the letters, and spread them around. Ask him or her to sing the song while putting the letters back in order again. This is a really good exercise. Once your child has mastered the uppercase letter recognition, and if there is still time before preschool, repeat the process with lowercase letters.
Numbers and Counting
Introduce your child to counting. Start with numbers 1 to 10. Just like the alphabet, have all the numbers written on a piece of paper. Treat this as his or her first Math preparation worksheet. While counting, point at each number so your child can see what each number looks like. After sometime, cut out the numbers and ask him or her to put the numbers in the correct order. Next, use the knowledge of numbers to count objects around you, like the number of fingers on one hand, the number of pencils he or she has, etc. Although it is not yet required, it will also be helpful if they learned how to count with their fingers.
Pretty Colorful World
Interact with your child by pointing at objects and naming their colors. For instance, point at a tree for green, point at the sky for blue, point bananas for yellow, etc. Encourage him or her to color at home on coloring books. Get a set of colored pencils or crayons. Give him or her instructions of which color to use for certain pictures and let him or her pick out the correct crayon or pencil themselves. For instance, “Color that apple red!” Not only will he or she learn the colors, but also to listen, follow instructions, and to hold a pencil.
Other Tips for Preparing for Preschool
Preschool and the Fun
Make your child feel excited about preschool. Talk about how much fun it will be, how many new friends they will make, how awesome the first teacher will be, how many cool things he or she will do, etc. Let them know that you will be waiting to hear all the new exciting stories he or she will have after preschool.
The Shy Ones Still Use the Restroom
Teach your child how to use the restroom independently with correct basic etiquette. This is a very important skill to know. Make sure to tell him or her to ask the teacher before going to the restroom, but he or she does not need to be afraid or shy to ask.
Be Good, Be Kind, Be Happy
Lastly, let your child know how to behave with other students in class. Make sure they keep their hands to themselves and know how to share.
By doing these simple steps at home, you can give your student a good jumpstart for preschool.
Author: Elaine Timbuleng, Writer and Teacher at MathWizard, Inc.