Do You Know This About Preschool Readiness?

There’s nothing like the thought of sending your little one off to their first school experience. A little bit of excitement mixed with equal parts nerves, they-grow-up-so-fast sadness, and are they ready worries is just about the most universal feeling for moms of preschool aged kids.

What I’ve found to be the most helpful in turning all of the above into a positive mom recipe, is the perfect trifecta of research, good information, and preparation.

That’s why I sat down with Jill Murphy, an assistant preschool teacher and also a mother of two, to put together a be-all, end-all guide to preschool readiness.

What I learned from talking to Jill, though, both surprised and warmed my heart. I think you’ll feel the same!

Based on her eight years of classroom teaching, Jill shared the five biggest things for children to have a bit of experience with before preschool begins.

Take a look at Jill’s pointers below and then pin this article to tuck it away for ideas of what to do with your pre-preschooler in the next few months.

 

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5 Things Every Child Should Have Experience With Before Preschool

Image via Unsplash

Separation

For some children, preschool may be their first experience away from their parents. Because of that, Jill explains, it’s good to let your child know that they will be okay and have fun at school. A short goodbye at the door helps with the transition for a good day. When goodbyes are dragged out it tends to hinder the separation process for a successful day. Talk to your children about all of this in advance and even practice the goodbye — and the separation — before the first day of school..

Glue, scissors, and markers.

Jill says, “It amazes me how many kids come to preschool that have never used scissors, glue, or even have gotten messy! I was a mom of young kids once, too, and I hated the idea of a mess.” I think we can all relate to this sentiment! But Jill explains how important it is for kids to understand that it’s okay to get messy in a controlled area and that this is so very much easier on your child if they’ve had experience doing this at home with you. So Jill’s bottom line is, “Let them use scissors and glue. It is okay! ”

Independence.

As moms we can all relate to the tug and pull of letting your kids do things for themselves and trying to smooth the way — and the day! — for them by helping them out. Jill says, “When my girls were little, I tended to do everything for them because it was easier, faster, and caused fewer meltdowns. But after teaching these young children, I notice that some kids have never tried to peel their own banana, open their own cheese stick, or even try and zip their own coat. Yes, some of these things have to do with fine motor skills, but it also gives them a sense of independence because they can do it themselves. The look of pride on their face is priceless!” And that right there makes the extra ten– or 20! — minutes you might need to add onto your activities in order to give your kids these experiences, 100% worth it so that they can have a ‘lil of that sweet taste of independence!

Playing nice.

This one is so key! Why? Both because it’s a lifelong life skill AND because, bottom line, it’s just plain hard to do sometimes. Jill explains, “Of course all kids fight over toys, don't like cleaning up, or even feel overwhelmed playing WITH other kids. But actually, sharing a favorite toy with another human being is a really hard concept to grasp.” And this is why you want to set your child up for preschool success by letting them practice this skill at home before they walk through those preschool doors.

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The fact that no two kids are alike!

And this one right here might be my favorite pointer in Jill’s list. Jill explains, “While Jimmy might know all his ABCs coming in, Suzy may not, and that’s okay! Jimmy may not be able to sit still during circle time and Suzy can — every child is different.” Can you imagine if we ALL interacted with each other as if we understood this to be true? Our world would be a much kinder place!

Jill says, “A good preschool recognizes this and does their best to accommodate kids with the tools they have.” I love this point so much! But there’s more.

There’s something we can do at home to teach this life skill. Jill says, “Let your kids know that Jimmy might act up because he struggles with moving onto a new task or that Suzy has older siblings who have exposed her to reading and letters.”

You are your child’s first and most important teacher. And if this ‘lil gem becomes a part of their preschool readiness, they’ll be a step ahead. In fact, we all will.

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I love Jill’s list of experiences that promote preschool readiness and I hope that you do, too! Jill’s final piece of advice is this, “Preschool should be about learning through play. Social interactions and play are more important than the academic piece. We want them excited about learning and there are so many things you can teach all through play!”

What do you think?

Do You Know This About Preschool Readiness?

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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