Preparing for Preschool

We are officially signed up for preschool and it is slightly giving me some serious anxiety. How is it that my son is already old enough to be going to preschool?

Once I finally got over that fact, I realized maybe I should figure out what he needs to be doing before we are going. I don’t want to put tons of pressure on him, yet, but I feel like maybe we as parents need to look more into this.

When should they start preschool?

First of all, when should your child start preschool? According to Berkeley Parents Network, “Preschool usually means a preschool for three and four year olds that starts a new class every fall. These preschools do not accept children who are younger than three (or about to turn three.) The idea is that children attend a preschool for one or two years just prior to starting kindergarten.”

Well, since our son is turning three in August we knew he would be younger, but we feel like he is ready to go to preschool and we will just have him in there for a couple years.

My wife was a second grade teacher for seven years, so when it comes to education I know she knows what she is talking about. As for now we have decided that holding our son back so that he is older for his school year would be better than having him be the youngest.

That being said, we are still going to put him into preschool because there is so much he can start learning an absorbing. Plus, who are we kidding, parents need a break.

What can I do at home?

As parents though, we need to take the time in teaching our kids. I wonder, what exactly are things they are going to be teaching in preschool that I can be working on at home?

Letters and Sounds: Reinforce letter-learning by having your child play with letter refrigerator magnets. Sing the “ABC song” together and look at the beginning sounds of words in your everyday lives.

Colors, Shapes and Objects: As you read through books together, ask questions about color: “What color is that car?” and “Which hat is yellow?” Point out shapes of household objects and ask questions like “Does that picture look like a square or a triangle?” When your child is getting dressed, talk about the colors of her shirt, pants, shoes, and socks. Turn everything into a game.

Numbers and Counting: When you see numbers in everyday life — in books, on food cans, even on TV — ask your child to identify them, and count everyday things together: the stairs you walk up, the crayons in a box, and the blocks on the floor.

Cutting and Drawing: Be sure to give your kid plenty of jumbo crayons and markers, thick sidewalk chalk, and ample opportunities to draw. Use Play-Doh to help build your child’s fine motor skills.

Socializing and Sharing: Develop your child’s social skills by arranging playdates and going to play groups and to the playground. At home, be consistent about simple rules your child must follow, such as making the bed or putting toys away. Let your child take responsibility for cleaning up, but remember to model appropriate social interaction and politeness.

What questions should I ask?

I just have a few questions that I found on Parents.com that I feel are important when looking for the right preschool. Some we are working on are:

Is potty training required? We have stepped it up and started potty training our son. It’s not easy, but I will tell you it’s worth it. Accidents happen, but you work through them and don’t fall back.

How is discipline handled? This is one of my biggest fears when it comes up. I think it’s because I have seen way to many videos of caregivers hurting kids. I want to know if the kids are constantly being watched by more than one person.

Are there active play opportunities to develop gross and find motor skills? Clearly I don’t think I am the best at doing this, so I would hope that they would include it in their education. I want my child to be active, working on motor skills.

Those are just the things I think of, but there are many other questions to think of when deciding what preschool is right for you.

I hope this helps you pick a perfect preschool for your little one and you are able to not only pick the right school, but as a parent you are taking the time to help teach them too. Start learning habits early and create a family that thrives on discovering new things.

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