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Archive for August, 2011

How Do I Prepare My Child For School?

How Do I Prepare My Child For School?

Writing - Teacher & BoyDoes my child know their numbers and/or letters?   Can my child write their name?  Can my child tie his/her own shoes?  Are they capable of taking turns and sharing?  These are all popular questions that cross parents’ minds when deciding how to prepare their child for school or what they should already know.  The most important thing to know is that children will succeed and have a positive learning experience as long as their parents are positive and supportive along the way.

Children do not have to know their numbers and letters going into preschool.  However, reviewing them or pointing them out on a daily basis on signs, pictures, and books would only benefit your child and give them an edge against the other children in the class.  If it is a good preschool, you can feel confident that they will be reviewing the letters and numbers daily.  Reviewing the concepts and practicing them at home will only help your child to learn it quicker.  In order to accomplish this, you can always count on flash cards, the preschool work books, or fun games.  Remember, if they see you having fun while learning they will have fun learning and grow a strong passion for succeeding.

Tying shoes can still be a hard movement for older children to accomplish.  The first thing I suggest to do is buy a good pair of sneakers with shoelaces.  Yes, it seems funny I have to say that but in today’s world simple is better and most children’s shoes have Velcro.  Next, I would have them watch you, come up with a cute song or story while tying and leave it up to them.  They will grasp the concept once they can get the finger movement down.  Again, practice and repetition with a lot of positive praise will go a long way. 

In order for them to understand social interactions like taking turns, sharing, and empathy towards other children you need to have them be around other children.  Make it a point to have play dates and have them interact with other children at parks and/or playgrounds prior to starting school.  This will help them learn these concepts and build a positive self-esteem about themselves.  They will then be capable of making friends and building relationships with other children. 

Again, all these concepts will be carried out and practiced at school but introducing them prior to school will help them be more comfortable with themselves and their abilities in a new environment.  Families who involve their children in activities that allow the children to talk, explore, experiment and wonder, show that learning is both enjoyable and important.  Lastly, make the first day of school like the Olympics.  Talk it up!  Be excited and positive.  If they see you happy and proud, it will help take away some of their nerves so they can be just as excited.  Take lots of pictures and cherish these moments. For these moments will quickly fly by, but will leave a lasting impression and a life long love of learning!  

Written by: Kim Hensinger

Choosing the Right Preschool for Your Child

Reading - Teacher & Girl BChoosing the Right Preschool for Your Child

Choosing the right preschool is just as important, if not more important, as choosing their dentist or pediatrician.  Preschool is the first step towards your child’s academic journey.  Aside from learning their letters and numbers, they will learn important basics to help them in school like how to be independent, how to share and how to follow directions.  Remember, you are your child’s biggest advocate.  Choose a preschool that is comfortable for you and your child and that parallel’s your home values.

            When do I start?  The thumb rule that most parents follow is to start looking the September before you want to start your child.  This lets you have plenty of time to tour the schools, visit and/or observe the classrooms and weigh all your options.  Look at the environment, is it welcoming? Is it happy? Is it colorful and positive? Think about your child’s personality and whether he/she will do well in the schools’ setting.

            What do they teach?  Remember each school sets their own tone and own method.  Is there a theory they follow? Do the children choose activities freely? Is there a lot of social interaction?  Are there a lot of toys and/or manipulatives and how often are they cleaned?  These are all questions that help you figure out if your child will be getting the education that will help him or her succeed in the future.

            Get to know the teachers.  Do they have degrees?  Do they receive a certain amount of training though out the year?  Are they inviting, warm and friendly? Are they CPR and first aid certified?  The teacher is the one that will be with your child on a daily basis.  Follow your first instinct and your child’s first instinct.  This is the first time in many instances that your child will be separated from you for any extended period of time.  Nice teachers matter, especially for very young children.  Watch how they interact with the other children and how the children respond to them.  The classroom can also be a good example of what to expect.  Look for a well stocked book case, the alphabet on the wall, tracing paper, clocks, puzzles, blocks and lots of dramatic play items.  These items are good indicators that your child will be using his/her imagination, as well as learning the knowledge they need to in order to achieve their individual mile stones.

            Scientists say that from birth through age 5, children are constantly developing their language, thinking, physical, emotional and social skills they will need for the rest of their lives.  Choose a preschool that you think will help your child succeed these skills but will also provide them with the passion for learning about themselves and the world around them.

Article by: Amanda Rock

Adapted by: Kim Hensinger