- Kanika Arora
PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR PRESCHOOL
Learning begins at home. Introduction of nursery rhymes at home is vital. The singsong nature of nursery rhymes is a fun way to develop language memory skills in a child. A child’s first learning experience can enhance his/her cognitive, physical, emotional and social development.
Margaret Mead a famous American Anthropologist said that “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” Over a decade ago, the concept of passive learning was followed. Grandparents and parents used to narrate stories to children and they were expected to listen. Conversely, nowadays much importance is given to the concept of interactive learning. Children are encouraged to ask questions, read aloud and interact with parents and other family members. This new age learning method gives a light to fire up the lantern of curiosity in children.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) is about honing and moulding the holistic growth of a child. Each child must get a chance to receive a good quality early education. One of the many milestones in a child’s life involves going to a preschool. However, it could be a source of worry for a child and for the parents. If a child is prepared at home then the transition to a preschool would be smooth and successful. Here are a few of the tips that could be helpful.
1) Introduce Routines
Setting up a normal morning routine after the child wakes up is a good way to start. For example- freshen up, brush teeth, have breakfast, get dressed, either go out to a park or to visit a friend in the neighbourhood. Explaining the reasons behind following a routine will help a child know what’s important. With a consistent routine, a child will become familiar and go easy on an actual preschool day. Routines help establish constructive habits. Following daily routines pave the way for a child to develop self- discipline, punctuality and organisational skills.
2) Colouring Habit
Did you know that colours and learning are interconnected? A child recognizes colours and objects associated with them even before he/she starts to scribble. All children get excited when they see colourful objects and surroundings. It is considered good to encourage the habit of colouring from an early age in a child. Parents could start by giving a small drawing of any fruit on paper to colour, further moving to bigger objects with backgrounds. Colouring helps a child master the tripod grasp to hold a pencil or pen for writing ahead in life.
A preschool is a place where a child plays, makes friends and explores. Before entering pre-K we could help a child become confident and self-reliant as much as possible. For example - Asking a child to pack toys after he/she finishes playing at home, letting a child choose clothes to wear, asking a child to walk instead of parents carrying the child, etc. This will build confidence in him/her to try and manage tasks without an elderly eye constantly looking over. The Famous Italian educator Maria Montessori said, “If we really want children to grow into independent and resourceful adults, we should stop pouring their milk as soon as they have learned to pour it themselves and stop fastening their buttons as soon as they can fasten them without help.” Although it is necessary to remain mindful of how much self-reliant, parents want a child to be.
4) Potty Trained or Not?
Usually, parents get anxious about potty training. If a child is potty trained, it is excellent but if he/she is not then it is not much of a problem. It is suggested that a child should be able to inform the staff if he/she wants to use the washroom. Caretakers of every preschool are trained to handle situations related to nature calls. Parents could pack a spare of a child’s clothing in his/her bag in case of an accident if so happens.
5) School Visit
Prior to a preschool session, parents should try to take the child along on a preschool visit. It will give him/her a chance to get familiar with the teachers, fellow classmates and the preschool surroundings. Parents should try to explain, that how fun and exciting a preschool day could be. How he/she will get an opportunity to play, make new friends, listen to stories, colour, etc.
Every child is unique and none of them reacts in a similar way to the introduction of preschool in their lives. Some of them get very excited while others get anxious and clingy. Let your bundle of joy settle in his/her own time frame. The idea is to keep the approach fun, innovative and educational. Lastly, try to keep it as simple as A, B, C.