During the Covid-19 restrictions, your preschooler is surely enjoying being in their own home and having one or two parents around them 24/7. I bet some of them have even asked you not to go back to work! As parents, are doing our best to meet all our commitments like older children’s school work, our own work, elderly parents, household upkeep etc but if your pre-schooler is due to start primary school in September, are they ready? What are they missing out on with this unusual non-attendance at preschool?
The role of the preschool teacher is to provide an environment and opportunities for the children to develop a love of learning (some tips on this in a previous blog post HERE). Another role is to facilitate the development of motor skills and independence so that the children are physically able for future learning. In preschool, the children also learn (through play) social skills and emotional intelligence.
You can help with this learning at home. In fact you are probably doing a large bulk of this already. Over the next week-10 days, I will post some tips with the aim of reassuring you that you can help your child with the big step to big school! Areas covered will include Independence, Pre-writing Skills, Pre-reading Skills and Emotional Literacy.
How can I help them become independent?
In school, it is of great benefit to the child if they are able to take care of their own basic needs like dressing, feeding and personal hygiene. These tasks fill a small part of their day but the inability to perform these tasks will most likely set their day back by using up time and pinching at their self-esteem.
Over the next few weeks, encourage your child to work on their practical skills in a fun and realistic way (i.e. so that it is useful and makes sense to her day)
If you’re having a picnic or even lunch inside, pack a lunch box with nice snacks. Let them open the lunch box themselves. If there is difficulty, demonstrate how it should be opened and continue to encourage until your little one ‘gets it’.
This would also be a good opportunity to encourage an attitude towards healthy eating. In the lunch box, only include healthy snack options like fruit, cold meat, seeds, breads and crackers. Avoiding sugary foods like chocolate, sweets and biscuits during these lunches at home will get your child used to the healthy eating policy that most primary schools adopt now.
When you are off out for a walk or a play in the garden, take the time to let your pre-schooler put on their own boots. This can take a while for some children, so don’t be in a hurry to leave!
Same with the coat. Take all the time that’s needed so that your child can learn that dressing themselves is their responsibility and is something that they can actually do!
Everyone’s on top of their handwashing skills these days but do take the time to ensure that your child knows to wash their hands after toileting, after playing outside and before eating. A little reminder on each of these occasions will help to ensure the message is going in and of course, good modelling from yourself is invaluable.
The key to your preschooler mastering these skills of independence is plenty of time and patience on your part. This will reinforce the notion that they can do it themselves. Of course, do help when it’s needed but hold back as much as you can to give their self-esteem plenty of growing room.
Confidence in themselves is like an armour that will keep them steady while they negotiate the rest of school life ❤️️