Are you preparing your child for preschool? You’ve no doubt started teaching them their colors, ABC’s, and how to count to 10, but according to preschool teachers, these skills aren’t synonymous with preschool readiness. Here are the top 5 things your child should learn before starting preschool.
1. Listening to/following directions
Following basic one and two-step directions is a critical part of preschool. No preschool teacher expects every child to be an incredible listener. However, they do want their students to already have some listening and following directions skills prior to entering preschool.
Child educator Katie T. Christiansen says:
“A big part of the preschool day involves listening to the teacher. Teachers often give directions such as, “throw your tissue away,” “put the truck back on the shelf,”or “get your coat and go to the door.”
It is important for children to be able to listen to these instructions and to be able to carry them out. While it might be tempting to do some of these activities for children, they are better off if we use them as learning opportunities.
It is a huge skill for children to follow directions, and sometimes it takes weeks for children to get the hang of it in the classroom setting. Children who are successful at following directions when they enter preschool have a huge advantage over those who do not as they are able to dive into learning activities instead of spending so much time practicing their listening skills.”preschoolinspirations.com
Learning and playing in a classroom with other children can be a big adjustment for little ones, particularly for children who don’t come from large families. However, being able to share and get along with other children is critical for preschool-age children. If your child needs extra practice in this area, try setting up a regular playdate with friends who are your child’s age. This will give them the opportunity to learn how to share and play with other children in a low-pressure environment.
3. Good hygiene
As much as schools try to keep their classrooms sickness-free, preschool is a germ-filled environment. So one of the biggest things you can do to make sure your child is ready for preschool is to ensure they have good basic hygiene. Make sure they know how to thoroughly wash their hands after using the restroom or prior to eating a snack. Be sure to also teach them how to cover their nose when they sneeze and cough.
Preschool teachers have a lot of things to manage throughout the day. Take snack/lunchtime, for example: while they don’t mind helping children put a straw in a juice box or open a bag of chips, a teacher’s top priority at this time is making sure children stay safe while eating. It’s important, therefore, to teach your child to open each element of their snack/meal so that they can eat their food with minimal help. Additionally, your preschooler should be able to put on their own jacket and shoes with little to no assistance.
Your child will learn so many things in preschool, including skills they are still working on. But something you can instill in them before they even enroll is good manners. You can teach your child phrases like “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “please stop” at home so that when they are in a classroom with teachers and peers, they already have practice being respectful and considerate of others. You can also teach your child to be quiet when someone else is speaking and to stay seated during meal time, reading time, etc.