Gone are the days when kids just ran around and played all day. Some days I am sad by the evolution of education and other days I am thankful. What do I mean exactly? What I mean is our kids are learning earlier and earlier. Many of them know their ABC’s and how to count before they ever reach Kindergarten. Much of this has to do with parents, friends, and early education such as preschool.
Here in Florida we have a program called VPK which means voluntary pre-kindergarten. The program is funded by the state and is free for all kids for three hours a day the year before they are to attend kindergarten. The program is to help prepare the kids for kindergarten so many kids are learning before they ever get into formal public school.
If your child has never been in a group setting preschool can be daunting and scary. The thought of being around all the kids and learning new things at the same time can be overwhelming. So let’s talk about what you can do to prepare your children for their first educational experience. Socially you can help your child get use to group settings by attending library readings where a group of kids sit and listen to books being read to them. This is an activity many preschools do and they will be use to it. Setting up play days and hosting small little parties so your child can learn to work with others.
Maybe even throw an educational themed party and teach the children in a fun playful way how to raise their hands and wait for their turns. Teach them how to walk in a single file line, or eat together quietly at lunchtime. All these activities will help your child with the social side of preschool. Learning how to work with others, and behave in a manner suitable for school.
Besides the social aspect, it might make your child feel better to have already learned or at least become familiar with some of the preschool curriculum. As early as you can work with your child in a fun way with counting, colors, shapes, or anything you can make into a lesson. I often use all life experiences to teach my daughter helpful lessons that she uses in school and in life. When she requested the skin be taken off her apple so she can eat it. I looked at her astonished and asked why she would want to do such a thing. I took the opportunity to explain the health benefits of the skin. She now eats all her apples with the skin and can tell you why.
When we are often out shopping, I explain to her what the red, yellow, and green lights mean. We look at price tags and she tells me the largest number or tells me which piece of clothing is more expensive. One game we play at the grocery store is after we check out she has to guess which item in the cart is the most expensive and which one is the least expensive. She loves this game and once she guesses correctly she loves to find the item on the receipt by looking at the prices.
I guess what I am saying is your children are never to young to learn and it is easy to prepare them for preschool or any school setting by using your life experiences and turning them into a learning tool. Spend time with others and teach your child to share, take their turn, and be polite. With all these in hands she/he will already have a good foundation when they step to that school for the very first time.
“An overwhelming 93 percent of parents of preschoolers believe that preschool or early learning programs are important in preparing their child for kindergarten and beyond, according to the second annual “Back-to-Preschool” national survey conducted by KinderCare Learning Centers. The nation’s largest private provider of early childhood education polled parents about what matters most to them as parents of preschool children.
Kindergarten-readiness is a recurring theme among parents surveyed. Key survey results include:
• The majority of parents of preschoolers surveyed believe core skills such as literacy and science are critical elements to an early learning program that sets up children for success in kindergarten.
• Seventy-eight percent of preschool parents surveyed think it is important for their child to be able to read before they enter kindergarten
• Four in five parents who think it is important that their child learn to read before kindergarten also think early childhood education/preschool is very important in preparing their child for kindergarten (81%)
• Ninety-three percent believe their child should be introduced to age-appropriate science programs in preschool
• Fifty-three percent of parents surveyed are also looking for a balanced, holistic approach to learning that blends social, emotional, physical and academic learning and development.”