Parents whose children are in their toddler years have a lot of concerns about preschool readiness. Is there a minimum age that children can start preschool? What skills should they have before they can enroll? What preschool should I choose? These are just some of the many confusing questions parents have to deal with. It is understandable that parents want the best for their kids.
Although it is common to believe that preschool readiness is determined by a child’s academic ability, teachers with years of experience working with children this age would disagree. Preschool teachers are more concerned with a child’s personality and temperament than their academic ability. Temperament and personality are a description of certain characteristics of a child’s personality, such as their emotional, mental and physical traits.
To determine if your child is ready for the big step of entering preschool, observe them closely. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Independence or self sufficiency
Preschoolers are not expected to be able to do everything on their own. Your child should be able to perform basic tasks without supervision. This is one of many signs that they are ready to start preschool. Preschoolers should be capable of basic tasks such as opening their lunch boxes and containers, putting on a jacket, washing their hands, wiping their nose, and using the toilet independently, particularly if they are required to go to preschool. A part of their self care skills is also being able to say and know their first and last names, as well their age.
2. Social skills
Preschool is a completely new environment. It is important that your child is ready for socialization. It is important to determine if your child is able to be apart from you for just a few hours. If a child isn’t used to being away from their guardian or parent, it can be stressful. Therefore, enrolling them in preschool if they aren’t ready to be independent in their learning and development will not be a good idea. You should also observe their interactions with other children their age. Are they comfortable meeting new people and having fun with them? Do they have the ability to express their feelings and voice what they need? What is their attitude towards learning new things? These are important skills that your child should have and be willing to learn. Preschoolers will often be socializing with other preschoolers. Respect and kindness are important. They need to learn how to wait, share and participate in activities with others without becoming overwhelmed. They should learn to greet others and use the magic words “excuse me”, “please”, “thank you” etc.
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3. Verbal communication
Learning is difficult if your listening and communication skills are poor. It can be difficult to enroll your child in preschool if they lack these skills. Preschoolers should be able use language to communicate with others. Preschoolers should be able speak clearly and with easily understood words. They should also be able hold still for at least five minutes when they are participating in adult-directed activities. They should also be able to tell simple stories and understand them.
4. Writing, reading, and gross motor skills
Preschool activities engage children’s gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The ability to perform actions such as running, jumping, and kicking in place is essential for a child. This age is when a child must be able to read and write. A child should be able hold and control a pencil with his or her fingers. It is necessary to be able to recognize letters and colours. To help a child develop eye and hand coordination, puzzles and building blocks are good options. Their ability to hold a book and flip through the pages correctly, as well as their ability to connect the sounds of letters to specific letters, can indicate how ready they are to read.
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Preschool activities often include packing away of things. It is best to teach this at home so that your child can be organized before they start preschool. They will be familiar with this skill by the time they start school. It is a way to instill good manners in children. This shows that children are respectful of others’ spaces. They will learn responsibility for their belongings. To help children become more organized, colourful plastic bins can be a great tool. Use the bins to organize their toys after playtime at home. Demonstrate to them how to put things in bags and how to open and close a bag’s zip. Children can have fun organizing and cleaning up by singing along. When your child is able to complete this task on their own, be sure to praise them.
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If your child cannot do these things perfectly and quickly, don’t get discouraged. These things shouldn’t be “mastered” by your preschooler, but they should be practiced and present at the time they enroll. As they learn and improve their skills in preschool, these practices will be reinforced.