As fall is approaching, many parents and children will embark on the new adventure of preschool! This is such an exciting time for many families. Let me also say that it may be bringing out some parent anxiety. This could be the first time your child is away from you for any extended amount of time, and that is a big deal. I want to put your mind at ease by helping you prepare your child for this special time in his/her life! I have created a list of preschool cognitive readiness skills from a preschool teacher’s perspective to help prepare your sweet one for this big event.
Do not think of these skills as a list to be mastered. Instead, they are aspects that you can help your child become familiar with to transition confidently and more easily into preschool. The best way to do this is to naturally add it into your routine. Curiosity is innate to children, so find fun ways to work on these goals together. Some children’s attention spans are much shorter than others, so let your child take the lead in this. If you see that your child can only focus on counting objects for a minute or two, just practice it more frequently! Children learn best when they are having fun so these should all be stress free interactions that give you extra quality time with your little one.
Instill in your child an eagerness to read books and read at least 20 minutes daily to your child.
Help your child learn the letters in his name and other letters he shows interest in.
Have an area with art supplies or pens and pencils and paper where your child can practice pre-writing or writing skills.
Point to words in a book as you read them.
Talk about and identify letters and letter sounds in your child’s favorite books, movies, signs, etc.
Practice counting to 10 and make counting meaningful by counting toys or items that your child is excited about.
Identify shapes of items that your family sees on an everyday basis (i.e. the clock, refrigerator, yield signs, picture frames, TV, etc.).
Identify colors with your child and help her sort according to colors and make simple patterns.
Use words such as more and less, small, medium, and large
Use positional words such as “below”, “next to”, “near”,” behind” etc.
Talk about animals, insects, and plants that you observe while you are outside.
Include your child in cooking activities at home and talk about the process of how foods transform when we cook them.
Encourage exploratory play such as making bubbles, mixing colors, and water play.
Help your child explore play that involves his or her senses through taste tests, smelling herbs and spices, and feeling different textures.
Include your child in processes such as gardening and helping take care of family pets.
Talk about different emotions with your child and gently explain to him the emotions he is experiencing.
Catch your child in positive behavior and praise her for it.
Demonstrate lots of love and patience.
To see how to prepare your child for preschool in other ways, please look here.