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Baby Steps towards Pre School

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Preschool (Kindergarten) is beneficial at the appropriate age. It’s a space for the child to peep into the outside world and start observing nature and peers. It is a great place for kids to learn valuable life lessons such as how to share, take turns, be with others, etc. It also prepares them with pre-academic skills and beyond. But going to preschool does come with some emotions, for both the parent and the child. For a child, entering a new preschool environment filled with unfamiliar teachers and kids can cause both anxiety and excitement. Parents might have mixed emotions about whether their child is ready for preschool. Getting comfortable with your decision and the preschool setting can help the parents and the children feel ready.

One can start by spending time talking with the child about preschool before it starts. In the months and weeks before school, gradually introduce the child to activities that often take place in a classroom. Survey of the place for the appropriate kindergarten that is in sync with the parent’s idea of a preschool. The parents must know what do they want for their children. Once the school is decided, the parent should visit the preschool classroom with the child a few times before school starts. This can ease concerns about this unfamiliar territory. Visiting is also a chance to meet the child's teacher and ask questions about routines and common activities. One can introduce some of those routines and activities at home so they become familiar.

While the parents are in the classroom, they should let the child explore and observe the class and choose whether to interact with other kids. This helps familiarize kids with the classroom and lets them explore the new toys they'll play with when school starts. The parents should also ask how the teacher handles the first tear-filled days. How will the first week be structured to make the transition smooth for the child?

While acknowledging this important step the child is taking and providing support, too much emphasis on the change could make any anxiety worse. Young kids can pick up on their parents' nonverbal cues. When parents feel guilty or worried about leaving their child at school, the kids will probably sense that. The more calm and assured you are about your choice to send your child to preschool, the more confident your child will be.

On the first day, the parents should calmly reintroduce the teacher to the child, then step back to allow the teacher to begin forming a relationship with the child. The parent’s endorsement of the teacher will show the child that he or she will be happy and safe in the teacher's care.

If the child clings to the parent or refuses to participate in the class, the parents should not get upset — this may only upset the child more. Always say a loving goodbye to the child, but once it's done, the parents should leave promptly. They should not sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying goodbye can make kids feel abandoned. A long farewell, on the other hand, might only reinforce a child's sense that a preschool is a bad place.

A consistent and predictable farewell routine can make leaving easier. Some parents wave from outside the classroom window or make a funny goodbye face, while others have a special handshake before parting. Transitional objects — a family picture, a special doll, or a favorite blanket — can also help comfort a child. Also, keep in mind that most kids do well after their parents leave.

Whether the child is eager or reluctant to go to preschool, the parents make sure that a school staff member is ready to help with the transfer when they arrive. Some kids may jump right in with their classmates, while others might want a private cuddle from a caregiver before joining the group.

Many preschools begin with a daily ritual, such as circle time (when teachers and children talk about what they did the day before and the activities that are ahead for the day), a song or group prayers, etc. Preschoolers tend to respond to this kind of predictability, and following a rhythm will help ease the move from home to school.

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