Monday, September 14, 2009

Tips for a Successful Start to Preschool

As I approach my first day of preschool today, I am excited for the new school year. We have a young class this year, including two children who haven’t turned three yet. Sometimes it’s more difficult for younger kids to make a smooth transition. At our Meet and Greet session last week, my teaching partner and I gave the parents a few tips for success, to help make the year get off to a great start. They include:

1. Please be on time. When children arrive at school, they have jobs to do. They hang up their coats and put their backpacks in their cubbies, and then sit at their spot in our circle. For a few minutes they get to enjoy what we call the “coffee klatch” when they can talk to each other without teacher involvement. They love this time to swap stories about their new clothes or favorite cartoon. It’s adorable to watch. After a few minutes, our lessons begin. If you bring your child in late, not only does he miss out on this great start to the day, but he disrupts the lesson that the other children are learning.
2. Leave your child at the door without coming into the classroom. It is so tempting to want to help your child hang up his things and give him an extra kiss goodbye inside the classroom but that is not a good idea. We urge parents to give a big hug and kiss at the door, and then let their child cross the threshold into the classroom on his own. Not only is it an obvious separation, but some children get upset when they see any parent in the classroom, especially if his mom has already left.
3. Label everything (even things you can’t imagine your child leaving behind!)
4. Read the memo board every day. When you ask your child what she did in school today, odds are she won’t have much to share. We take the time to write a fairly detailed note with details of our day and we hang it in the hall before pick-up time. If you know what your child did in school, you can ask her leading questions. Not only does this help build communication skills, but it shows that you are interested in what she did in school that day.

Have a wonderful year!

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