The most crucial skills that every child needs for starting preschool successfully are being socially active (communicative and mobile) and independent. The more you prepare your child the easier it is for him/her to settle down and begin acquiring knowledge. Children starting pre-school come from very different backgrounds and react differently in their first few days and weeks; some are confident, others shy and nervous; and yet others demanding and disruptive.
Children starting preschool (ages 2 & 3) need to be emotionally prepared to handle the big change from home to school. Preparing them for school will go a long way in making them independent and confident as well as feel comfortable and secure in their new environment.Here are some tips for you..
• You can help your child to cope with school life through everyday activities such as talking and listening with your child.
• Activities such as shopping, cooking, gardening and laying the table provide learning opportunities because they involve counting, observation and discussion.
• Read books with your child, talk about the pictures, ask questions about the story, ask him/her to retell the story and encourage your child to make up his/her own stories. These are good ways to prepare your child for learning to read. If your child starts to read before coming to school, do not stop him/her, but ask for help on good books to read. Do not force your child if no interest is shown.
• If you speak a language other than English at home, start introducing English in your conversations with him/her well before start of school. This will help improve your child’s vocabulary as well as enable him/her to follow instructions at school.
• If your child’s speech is not clear, respond normally (in correct words and sentences) to enable him/her to pick up the right words.
• It is a great help if children can dress themselves, take themselves to the toilet and use crockery (drinking glasses, cups, plates and bowls) and cutlery (forks & spoons) properly. Of course teachers will help them with all these if they are not prepared. The more independent you can make your child, the easier it is for your child to settle.
• Talk to your child about school often. Before the first day, drive or walk by the school and explain to him/her that this will be the place they will come to everyday. Point out facilities in the school explaining how these will be used. If possible, introduce them to the school staff and explain that they will be playing with them everyday.
• If your child has not been exposed to the outdoors, he/she is likely to contract minor colds and allergies on joining school. Consult your doctor on how best to acclimatize your child to the external environment he/she will be encountering at school.
Most Important : do not be anxious for your child as he/she will perceive this. The school will prepare your child in all of the above areas so do not pressure yourself or your child unnecessarily. Talk to the Head Teacher of your child’s intended school about any concerns so you may resolve them together.
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