As a former preschool teacher and director, I was always disappointed when parents did not take advantage of the opportunity to enhance their child’s preschool experiences. Some parents it seemed, ignored my advice or even requests to better prepare their child not only to come to school, but also to be successful. Although it was not always the case, it was frustrating despite my best efforts, many parents ignored my desire to help them enhance their child’s preschool experience. Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for preschool success!
Dress for Success
I cannot count the number of times parents sent children to school in clothing that was inappropriate for play, exploration and learning. Preschoolers are naturally messy, love to explore and should not feel the restriction of things that they are afraid of ruining their such as clothing, shoes or a hair style. I once had a mother of a pre-kindergarten child in my class tell her child at morning drop off that if he came home dirty from preschool, she would spank him he would go right to bed when he got home. The poor child was so distraught when it came time for us to do art that day that I finally had him change into some extra clothing that we kept on hand so that he could have a less stressful day. Parents should remember that children should be in play clothes and shoes when they come to preschool. Their hair should be out of their faces and their shoes should be appropriate for running, climbing and jumping. Parents that wish to dress their children in $50 tennis shoes or expensive clothing should save those items for family time or other times of a child’s week.
Encourage Good Nutrition
Although many schools provide meals and snacks for preschoolers, some do not. If you are required to send a sack lunch with your child to preschool or if you choose to send one because you know your child will not eat what’s on the menu, make sure it is nutritious. Many times I have seen children with horrible lunches sent from home. In the case of one child, the parent had send a butter sandwich, a “snack cake” and a sports drink for their child everyday. Not only was the child not being fed a good lunch, he often vomited after lunch or complained of a headache later in the day. If your child is a picky eater that’s okay but a lunch filled with sugar, low nutrition based foods or foods that cannot sustain his or her energy for the day should be avoided.
Talk with your Child’s Teacher and the School Director
Get in the habit of talking with your child’s teacher and the school director about your child’s progress. There is no harm in asking for a meeting and of course if your a scheduled for one, make sure you attend. It is never to early to get involved in your child’s education. If you suspect a behavior problems, learning issues or feel that your child is not progressing, schedule a meeting and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just understand that the staff and administration cannot compare your child to specific kids in the class, so you can’t expect to hear that your little Jimmy is “smarter than Sally and Mark but not as smart as Jake or Austin”. If you do hear this, it should be a red flag. Children should not be compared in this manner.
Read the Daily Report
Teachers take time writing about your child’s day and you should use these daily reports to talk with your kids at home, continue their learning and make conversations. If your preschooler is learning about animals, maybe plan a trip to the zoo as a family or to your local animal shelter to talk about animals. Talk about your child’s day at dinner and use the report to name specifics. The preschoolers daily report is made to encourage you to take an interest in your child’s learning.
If your child presents you with the 200th piece of collage art for the month don’t throw it in the trash right away. Ask questions about their art, appreciate their efforts and encourage more. This is the time when your child will begin to establish a love of learning, you do not want to sabotage it by throwing it in the trash.
If you are looking for more ways to enhance your preschoolers experience visit the website for the National Association for the Education for Young Children.