Any advice on how to prepare my 3 1/2 for preschool in august?

Question:My daughter will start preschool in a few months and has never been in school before. She has been in home child care since she was little. She is very excited to start school, but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to better prepare her AND myself for the transition.

Serious answer only, please!




Answers:
I recently retired as Center Manager of a Head Start center serving 3 & 4-year-olds. It is good that she is looking forward to preschool and is used to being away from you for short periods of time. If you're worried about her being prepared "academically" don't be. If she is able to stay focused during a brief lesson or story, that would be a good thing. If she is a good listener, too, that's great! If she makes friends fairly easily, too, Wow! In other words there's probably not a thing to worry about for your child's sake. If you're concerned about your own transition, ask about volunteering at the school. There are many times when an extra pair of hands are greatly appreciated, and your visits as a volunteer will put your mind at ease about the program or setting..
Start by talking about school as a magic place of discovery. go and pick out her backpack and visit the daycare at least once or twice a week. (She could bring the teacher a flower each time.)

Get her "box" ready = put in her nap blanket, extra undies, bandades, family pictures and a baggie of "mommie kisses" (little pieces of paper with hearts and her name that you write to her.)

Good luck!
Start taking her to a park with lots of kids. Encourage her to get to know and play with other kids.

Its going to be tough for a bit but after a week or 2 she will act like it was never a big deal. Don't make a huge issue of it and you both will be fine. Good luck!
Your daughter will have a much better time in preschool if she gets to know some of her schoolmates ahead of time. Try getting to know other kids that will enroll in her class and have them get to know each other. Once they get used to each other's company, they'll feel like they have a friend to stick with when mommy's not there.

Slowly, get your daughter to be more independent and less clingy to parents. Have her stay over at her new friends' houses for some time without you. Let her realize she can see you afterwards and there is nothing to be worried about. (Tell yourself the same.)
Take her to the preschool now and let her look around? Will they let her? Then you can talk about it.

Also, find some play dates with several kids together at one time--any chance that could happen? Does your church have daycare during services? Sit with her when you drop her off at the gym daycare and play with her and say this is like pre-school? Just get her around some kids now before school starts if you are worried.

There will be an adjustment. That's a given.
Today was my daughters last day of Preschool. It will help if she already knows her alphabet (by memory and can recognize when pointed to various letters), can spell her/his name (out loud and on paper), knows their colors and shapes, patterns, days of the week, months of the year, and can purnounce their words correctly (Water instead of wawa). This should get them ahead of the game.
Sometimes it is the parents who need more preparation than the child. I have seen children happily run into school on the first day and the parents look like they are ready to cry!
You don't want to start making her do 'homework' like ABC and say this is to get you ready for school, it will ruin image of the place. Whenever school is mentioned use positive words, fun, friends, happy..it will be alright on the day, believe me.
Children take their "cues" from their parents on whats coming. If you make sure you are always excited and enthusiastic about school, your child will be more likely to feel that way. If you express apprehension and saddness that you will miss your child , they will focus on the same.
To help prepare her,
See if you can visit the school and meet the teacher a head of time with your child.
When you are saying goodbye the first days ( or anytime) don't linger, say goodbye, look confident that she will be fine and leave.
Some parents say goodbye, then they look for signs of distress in their child, then they stay and try to assure the child and try to say goodbye again. this tells your child that you feel there is a reason she should be nervous and that she can prolong the goodbyes. It makes it harder and harder, and can become a habit for some children.

Preschool should be a fun place. Make sure your school is developmentally appropriate.
Also enjoy your free time!
I am a preschool teacher... The things I recommend are...

social skills, social skills, social skills!!!!

Getting her used to other people. So she doesn't hang on the door and cry when you leave (they only cry for a couple minutes anyway) the rest she will learn by doing and playing.

YES it is OK for children to play!! This is how they learn. There is nothing worse than hearing a parent say. OH they are late because it was only play time anyway.

Sharing is the key to happiness in preschool. If you have a child that is good at sharing she will find other to play side by side with that are also good sharers. They will soon develop positive relationships.

As for skills, I would say at her age just letting her be comfortable with scissors. Making sure she is holding them correctly with her thumb up.

I recently took a course on preschool readiness, my instructor says that even if children know their ABC's and 123s at that age it means nothing to them except pleasing their parents. They don't and wont understand them for another year and a half.
As long as she separates well from you i would not worry about getting her ready for pre school...see if you can set up some play groups with her new friends...call the center and ask if they could give your name and number to other parents.I use to do this when I was a pre school teacher.

The main reason for pre school is to help kids learn to socialize with others.sounds like she is already ready.
Describing how much fun she will have is a great beginning and how about visiting a local library that has a GREAT children's section. Try reading books that she can touch and learn with also. Let her learn an art project with you or take her on a nature walk. All of these will be great beginnings for her...as for you, it will be TOUGH. I remember I cried as I sent my son to school for the first time. It does get easier with time. Try and find something that interests you so you won't be waiting for time to pass while she is gone. You may find that you can even enjoy your time together more once she is home from school. GOOD LUCK!

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