Ready.Set.READ! Blog

How Parents Can Prepare Preschool Aged Children for School

Posted by Diane Fiorentino, the Community Impact Program Manager

The late Barbara Bush said it beautifully regarding the impact parents have in the early years of their children’s lives: “The home is the child’s first school, the parent is the child’s first teacher, and reading is the child’s first subject.”

It’s important for parents to prepare their children for the next steps of their education. One of the greatest things a parent can do is focus on their child’s cognitive level (their learning and literacy skills), their social and emotional level and their physical level.

  1. To sharpen a child’s language and literacy skills:
  2. Read to them every day. It is extremely important for parents to read, read, and read to their children!
  3. Practice interactive readings. Interactive readings are done with enthusiasm, pointing to words and identifying the pictures of the story.
  4. Question your children while reading the book and listen to their responses. Talk about the sequence of the story and ask your children to retell the story.

To sharpen your child’s cognitive skills:

  1. Provide a print-rich environment by labeling items throughout your home.
  2. Point out signs, logos, and other signage your children can relate to.
  3. Provide your children with the opportunity to practice writing/tracing their name.
  4. Focus on basic math concepts by counting out loud, recognizing/pointing out numbers, sorting and classifying objects by size, shapes, quantity etc., and focusing on shapes and patterns.

To develop a preschooler’s physical level, also known as their large and fine motor skills:

  1. Focus on how they write and color. Pay attention to how your child grips the pencil/crayon.
  2. Allow your children to practice using glue, cutting with scissors, painting, and playing with Playdough. Also build Fine Motor Skills by building string beads, using tongs and tweezers.
  3. Help develop hand-eye coordination. Allow them to throw a ball, run, jump, and ride a bike.
  4. Give your children the opportunity to manage their bathroom needs and to dress themselves.

To prepare your preschooler on a social and emotional level:

  1. Play. Playing allows children to learn about the world around them. This can be achieved through free or structured learning play. Structured play includes learning opportunities where the parents point out various opportunities and by asking the child questions.
  2. Help your child interact and socialize with other children, enrolling them in various classes such as karate, dance, sports, and mommy and me, and establishing a routine and structure through a daily/weekly schedule.
  3. Provide a listening and respect model to allow the child the opportunity to see how to interact with peers and adults. Parents should also set boundaries and allow the child to learn self-regulations through the boundaries. Provide positive praise to the child to encourage positive behavior.

Focusing on these tools will help your child become one step closer to being prepared for elementary school, but it’s important to remember that each child grows at his or her own pace. Never force a child to grow beyond their level.