Whether she is heading to pre school or kindergarten, before your child goes to classroom, there are certain skills a parent or caregiver can help them develop.
Stimulate the kids’ imaginations throughout the day. Research conducted by Dr. Woolley and her team at the Children’s Research Laboratory discovered that it’s okay for kids to use their imaginations in life and in play. The study looked at when kids are able to start separating fantasy from reality. The results showed that by the age of 3 most kids can determine the difference, even though many children continue to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy until they are 8 or 9. The reason they believe, however, is because adults persuade them to continue to believe. By using her imagination in play she is more likely to be able to write creatively in school, and she will be better able to imagine what the Civil War was like. And while humans use their imaginations every day, as they grow older they begin to use it less and less. The less you use it the more you lose it. Helping kids grow their imaginations will lead to smarter and more talented kids.
Go on outings to interesting and educational places. Children are like sponges when they are young, and they are able to absorb tons of information. The more that you can expose him to interesting and educational information the smarter he will become. The smarter he becomes the more prepared he will be for school. Trips to the zoo or to a museum are a great way to help spark his imagination.
Work on noticing letters and words when you go on outings. When you are out and about you are surrounded by words and letters. Notice these things with the kids. Ask questions and congratulate her when she gets the right answers. Make learning a game and an adventure. Create a list of things that you want to find while you are out. For example, try to find a stop sign, a restaurant sign, and a street sign. Work together to find everything on your list.
Play games to teach the kids how to win and lose gracefully. Teach him how to play card games and board games. Don’t let him win every time, and let him see how you win gracefully. When he does win a game, make sure that he also wins gracefully and does not brag about his win or make his siblings feel bad about losing. When you lose make sure that you congratulate the winner and show him how to handle losing with grace
Develop morning routines for getting themselves ready. One big difference that will take place when she goes off to school is that she will need to get up earlier and start to take care of a few things herself. Have her get up and put on the clothes that you have laid out the night before. Encourage her to put her dirty clothes into her hamper and to make her bed. She should be able to get herself to the table for breakfast on time. Make sure that the backpack is already packed and ready from the night before so that there is no drama in the morning about where things are. Finally have her brush her own teeth and hair and then head out the door to the bus or carpool. Keeping a chart in a central location is an effective way to remind her of the things that need to get done before school without having to nag her.
Help the kids learn how to be empathetic. Empathy is an emotion that everyone could use a little more of. Lead by example and help your charges show empathy for others. If a child falls down while you are at the playground, ask him how he thinks that child feels. Remind him of times that he fell down. This is especially important to do if he had anything to do with the other child falling down. If you see a child crying you might ask her what is wrong. When he sees you being kind and empathetic he too will learn how to be empathetic.
Keep a routine with the children so that the school routine will not seem so hard. During the day you have a lot of things to do and places to go no doubt. Try to keep the children on a schedule or in a routine of sorts. For example, go to the library for story time every Tuesday at 2. Kids will learn that they go to the library at the same time every Tuesday and they will look forward to it. Don’t be surprised if they are upset if you miss a day. Children thrive on routine and consistency. Once she starts school her whole day will be scheduled, and having an idea of what keeping a routine feels like will make her better able handle it.