How Preschools Prepare Children for Kindergarten

preschool3Preschool teachers play a vital role in preparing their students to transition to kindergarten. No longer is kindergarten merely an extension of preschool — instead, new standards in public schools have contributed to the more academic environment that currently exists in kindergarten classrooms.

Whether the child is in day care or in preschool, the transition to kindergarten can be a challenging experience for parents and educators alike. Having tools that can guide children and parents through the process is tremendously important.

Teaching Important Skills

Preschool educators understand that the process of successfully transitioning to kindergarten cannot be left for the last few months of preschool. Preschoolers must be exposed to the relevant skills needed to properly function in kindergarten. This should start at the beginning of the year prior to starting kindergarten.

When school begins, kindergarten students will be expected to master certain tasks like holding a pencil properly. Preschool teachers know the importance of gradually exposing their students to certain kinds of experiences throughout the year prior to kindergarten. This will give children the time and space necessary to become familiar with the new experiences.

Early preparation for kindergarten is not an indication that children should be currently learning kindergarten skills. Instead, teachers ensure that the children can recognize the letters in their own name, retell a simple story, and master other preschool skills.

Many preschool teachers encourage parents to enroll their children into play groups, go to a local library for story hour and encourage interaction with other children. These are remarkable techniques that can be used to introduce children to new social experiences. This will assist them in doing better in kindergarten both socially and academically. In essence, being equipped with these skills will put children in a superior place of readiness for kindergarten.

Other essential skills taught by preschool educators include:

  • Following simple instructions
  • Matching rhyming sounds
  • Tracing the shapes of numbers and letters
  • Being able to recognize a book title

These skills are all vital to success in kindergarten and beyond. This is because they combine to form a strong foundation for pre-writing and pre-reading skills. They also establish a base for working with sounds and letters during the kindergarten sojourn.

The Process of Transition

Throughout their lifetime, children will go through a number of transitions; however, children playingtransitioning from preschool to kindergarten is arguably the most important one. Behaviors are shaped during this period, and attitudes are formed by which children will be influenced throughout their academic lives.

The transitions of children are most strongly influenced by the environment in which they live, the preschool program to which they are exposed, and the flow between the preschool program and kindergarten.

To prepare children for the transition, educators teach them more than just the ABCs. They go beyond teaching the letters of the alphabet, numbers, sounds, and rhymes. The children are taught how to take turns, spend an entire day at school, and other new social experiences. This Belton, MO area preschool, for example, emphasizes exploration in children’s learning, in order to foster creativity and curiosity. These educational experiences are vital because kindergarten is typically the first exposure they have to a formal school setting where creativity and social behavior are stressed.

Discovering Unique Qualities

Early preparation for kindergarten also provides teachers with an insight into different activities by which a particular child is excited and frustrated. They then share this valuable information with parents, who encouraged to share it with their child’s teacher in the new school. The more knowledge the teacher has of the child from the beginning, the better off the child will be as the year progresses.

Additionally, teachers keep records of activities in which the child had participated, paying close attention to the skills that have or have not been mastered. This information can also be passed on to kindergarten teachers via the parents.

Preparing children for this important transition is a process that should start way before they get to kindergarten. Starting early and gradually teaching new skills will enable a child to have a great start to a fascinating year of learning.

Messy Kids, Clean Carpets

messy kidThere comes a time in the day when all the arts and crafts supplies need to be put away and stored in their respective drawers. Little hands (and faces) need to be washed, and the tablecloth needs to be stripped from the kitchen table and thrown into the wash with all the paint-stained clothes. Artwork gets hung up to dry, while children’s active imaginations must wait until tomorrow for their chance to be artistically expressed. Maybe it’s time for dinner or time for bed, but either way – it’s often on you to clean up after your kids make a mess learning and exploring.

If you’re anything like me, you take pride in your clean home. My friends always comment when they come over to visit that if it weren’t for the extensive collection of macaroni artwork on the fridge, you’d have no idea that four children live here. But they’re exaggerating; with our daily art activities, one can only keep the carpets so clean. When you homeschool kids who are around the house all day, either inside learning with messy materials, or playing outside in the muddy backyard, there’s only so much you can do to keep the carpets clean. I’m always quick to clean up accidental spills and stains, but my carpets nevertheless started to turn an unappealing shade of light brown.

A friend of mine suggested these local Henderson carpet cleaners. I wasn’t too sure about hiring a professional carpet cleaning company as I knew they often used toxic chemicals that could be left behind and dispersed into the air. I’ve got four kids and a dog who all like playing around and wrestling in the carpet – I’m not risking any contact with dangerous chemicals! So just to be safe, I gave Sahara Chem Dry a call and asked about what kind of chemicals they use in their cleaning products. They happily explained that they only use organic, non-toxic cleaning products that are 100% safe for my kids and my dog. I also learned that their specific cleaning method of hot water extraction is a lot less likely to leave behind any sticky residue than other methods. I told them to sign me up!

Just hours after they came by, the carpets were clean and dry – ready for my kids to go back to playing. Of course no shoes are allowed inside, but we won’t be stopping our daily arts and crafts time any day soon!

How to Choose the Right Preschool for your Child

preschoolIf you’re wondering if it’s time to enroll your child in preschool, it probably is. Many parents are getting their children’s names on long waiting lists as early as mid-pregnancy. Preschools with a reputation for excellence in educating and caring for young children are in high demand, so it’s best to start your search as soon as possible. But how do you determine what the “right” preschool is for your child? Here are some tips to get you started:

Make a list of what you’re looking for in a preschool.

Are you a working parent who needs a full-day program, or just a half day? What’s the farthest you’re willing to drive your child to school? What’s your budget for tuition? Do you want a year-round program, or one that offers summers off? Knowing the specifics of what you’re looking for will help to start your search.

Do your research.

After you compile your “bottom line” list, look around online for websites of preschools in your area and see if they meet your criteria. It’s also a good idea to check online reviews of these schools to see what other parents are saying about them. Do any of your friends have recommendations for you? If you need more information, give the school a call.

Set up a tour.

After you’ve narrowed down your prospects, call to set up an informational tour. If the school allows you to bring your child, bring them along! It’ll be beneficial to see how your child likes the environment. Be sure to make extensive observations — do the teachers look happy? Are they interacting respectfully to the children, or are they talking down to them? Does the school appear safe? What kind of activities are being offered?

Ask a lot of questions.

If you still have questions after a tour or interview, make a list and follow up with the school. This is an essential time in your child’s development, and it’s important to know that he or she will be in good hands while you’re away at work. A good school will not only challenge your child intellectually and academically, but it will also foster positive social development, creativity, and imagination. For example, this preschool that provides child care in Blue Springs, features a curriculum that focuses on education, enrichment, and exploration.

Whatever school you end up enrolling your child in, be sure to check in with your child often about how he or she is liking the school. Have conversations regularly with your child’s teacher, as well as the preschool director for insight on your child’s behavior and progress. Whether your child is enrolled in the local public preschool, or a prestigious private school, you want to be sure that he or she is thriving.