Preschool is a great time for your child to learn how to interact with their peers, but it’s also a great stepping stone for kindergarten. Since every child is different, many parents wonder and worry, “Is my child ready for preschool?” Everyone learns at a different pace and in different ways, so it can be difficult to know how a child will fair when entering preschool. If you are a parent concerned about this, take heart in knowing that preparing for preschool is more about the general concepts that your little one understands more than how “smart” they seem. Preschool has a lot to do with social interaction, getting used to organized education, and experiencing the learning process in a more formal setting. If you are concerned about your child doing well in a preschool setting, read on to learn about the concepts that are helpful for them to understand before starting in order to make the transition easier.
Giving your child the foundation for a healthy understanding of math will only help make preschool even easier for them. Help them learn how numbers and counting apply to their life. Give them the ability to count to at least three, although being able to properly count to at least five is better. As your child enters preschool, counting will be covered, however, getting a head start is always helpful. You can help your child count their crackers at snack time, or teach them how to show how old they are by holding up the right amount of fingers. Your child should be somewhat familiar with numbers, even if they can’t count very high.
Yes, we don’t expect preschoolers to be talented artists or even color within the lines, but it is always a good sign when a child can recognize and replicate certain elements when drawing. By three to four years of age, your child should be able to copy square shapes and draw circles and squares. When it comes to their imaginative artwork, they should know how to draw a person with at least two body parts. They should also begin to copy some capital letters. While they don’t need to know them off the top of their head, they should be able to copy a few capitals when you write them for them first.
Emotional and Social Development
Education is an integral aspect of preschool, but socialization is just as important in development. Their pretend games will become more complex at this age as they play. Being bossy is developmentally normal, but it’s important to help them understand the concept of giving as they play with others. Help them curb their bossiness by letting them help with chores at home and give you guidance without being overly controlling. If your little one doesn’t have any siblings, you might worry about their ability to share and play nice with others. Observe them as they play with other children their age, and help them understand how to play fair and share with others when issues arise. This will be a key part to their happiness in preschool.
By four, children should be able to make connections in their play. They should know how to sort objects by shape, color, and/or size, as well as understand the concept of simple opposites. You can encourage this by play with colors or textures, teaching them about the seasons (hot versus cold), and by helping them learn their colors. Many of their lessons in preschool will be focused on these types of categorizations, so helping them get a basic knowledge of opposites or categories before preschool will allow them to stay ahead of the curve.
Consequences will be different for whatever the action is, but it’s important to help set boundaries at home before they enter a school setting. Start using an early warning system (“Food isn’t for throwing. If you continue to throw, I’ll have to take your food away”), as well as only offering punishments that follow a logical series of consequences. By the time they enter preschool, they should know that there are consequences for their actions, regardless of what they are.
Preschool is an exciting time developmentally, and you can do so much at home to help your child prepare for this chapter in their life. Worrying about your child making a smooth transition into preschool is normal, however, there isn’t always a “norm” when it comes to how developed a child should be. All children have different strengths and weaknesses, many of which you will discover as your child enters school. Be observant, and have open communication with your child’s teacher in order to help him or her with any areas in which they struggle. With extra help at home and in the classroom, any child can successfully conquer preschool and prepare for success in kindergarten.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves to write for women’s interests, education, and parenting issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters and is enthusiastic about learning kids from star-brite.com