Preschool is an early childhood program in which children combine learning with play.

Ask anything about preschool

7 tips to choose a preschool for your child

First, narrow down your options by looking at location, hours, and price.  Every family is different, so these considerations will vary based on your needs.  Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few preschools, schedule a tour.  The first tour is best done without the child so you can focus on observing and asking questions.  While you’re touring the preschool, keep these seven factors in mind.  They will be instrumental in choosing a preschool that’s the best fit for your child. 1. STAFF Of the items on this list, preschool staff is definitely the most important!  Keep an eye out for: * How teachers interact with students Teachers should get down to the students’ eye-level when talking.  It’s also important to see real conversations taking place between the staff and the children.  This shows a real interest in what the children have to say, as well as a real interest in the kids themselves. Staff who obviously care about the children.   This can be seen in so many ways when you’re touring a preschool.  You should see smiles and hear laughter in the classrooms.  The staff members should be really listening to the students.  There should be lots of interactions between teachers and students, as well as between students and their peers.  Hugs, high fives, and encouraging words are great indicators too. * Staff who like what they are doing!  This is much harder to ascertain just from observing.  Talk to the teachers, if at all possible, and a love for teaching will usually shine through!  Ask the preschool director about the school’s turnover rate.  If many of the teachers have been there for years, that’s a good sign. * Staff who have received adequate training The preschool director should be able to provide information about CPR training for teachers, as well as what professional development the staff receives. 2. SAFETY * A plan in place   Ask the preschool director about the school’s emergency plans, as well as the teacher-student ratios.  Take a look at the playground while you’re touring, too. 3. ENVIRONMENT * Classrooms with child-sized furniture The child need to be comfortable while their little brains are growing. * Space to move around the classroom The rooms don’t need to be huge, but they should be adequately sized for the amount of kids there. * Print-Rich Classrooms   Look for words labelling parts of the classroom and lots of books.  Watch for teachers writing down children’s stories and look for kid-made books.  These are just a few ways to spot a print-rich environment. * Student work around the classroom Students’ art, writing, building creations, and pictures should be evident around the classroom.  It should feel like a space that belongs to them. 4. COMMUNICATION Communication between the school and the parents Ask the director about a school handbook, as well as their communication habits.  A handbook fills parents in on what to expect from the school.  Monthly newsletters, calendars, and emails may be some ways the school communicates with parents. * Individual communication regarding your child Find out how individual teachers communicate with parents.  It could be via daily notes, weekly emails, or communication apps.  Remember there’s no one “right” way, but it’s important to keep the classroom connected to the home. 5. BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT * Clear expectations and follow through   Be sure to ask the director what behavioural guidelines are in place in the preschool classroom.  There should be age-appropriate expectations, along with clear rules and consequences.  Additionally, ask about how the staff teaches children to solve problems with their peers. 6. CLASS SCHEDULE * Lots of time “just playing"   Children learn through play, so this is incredibly important!  How much time is built in for the children to do just that?  Often, this is referred to as “centre time” or “choice time”.  It’s the part of the day when children explore tons of concepts in small groups — maybe they’re building in the block centre, telling a story about wild animals in the arctic, or exploring their names. * Varied group sizes The children should have some time together as a class, often called “circle time” or “calendar time”.  There should be time for teachers to share books with the children, as well as time for the children to play in small groups.  Children should also have some small group or one-on-one time with the teacher. * Time to play outside   The children need to be playing, running, climbing, riding bikes, etc. outside each and every day! 7. CURRICULUM * A teaching plan   Please keep in mind — a preschool curriculum does NOT need to be purchased from a store. However, the director and teachers should know the goals for each age group in the preschool.  These goals should be appropriate for the kids’ ages. Hands-on activities.  Again, children learn through play.  Their little bodies need to be fully immersed in the learning.  Children should be holding books, touching blocks, moving math manipulatives, listening to music, dancing, etc.  They definitely don’t need to be sitting down and filling in worksheets day after day. Content Source

Tips to manage the initial days of your child's preschool

Starting preschool is an important milestone for your child. Your child needs a lot of preparation to stay away from you and his/her home for a specified time. Here are some tips and strategies to help you and your child in the early days and weeks of starting preschool. 1. Start gradually   Many preschools invite parents to stay for a while during the day in the early days. Speak with the preschool teacher and work out a plan that works for you, your child and the preschool. It’s a good idea to tell your child how long you’re staying, so she doesn’t get a surprise when you leave. 2. Establish some routines  Routines can help your child feel safe and secure, particularly when new things are happening. You could set up a routine for preschool mornings – for example, get up, have breakfast, clean teeth, get dressed, put on sunscreen, pack lunchbox and go. You could even make a chart with pictures showing the different steps in your routine. 3. Develop a routine for saying goodbye Say goodbye to your child so that he knows you’re going, and tell him that you’ll pick him up at the end of the day. You could choose a special place to say goodbye, or an activity to do before you go. For example, ‘If you wave to me from that window, I’ll be able to see you’, or ‘Which book will we read before I go?’ Say goodbye once and leave. Lots of goodbyes can be stressful for both you and your child. 4. Communicate with the preschool teachers  Children get confidence from seeing warm, positive and friendly interactions between important people in their lives, like their parents and teachers. Good communication with your child’s teacher also helps you share relevant information and helps the teacher know how best to respond to your child. For example, you might let the teacher know about things like grandparents visiting from overseas, your child’s favourite songs or books, or simple words in the language your family speaks at home. 5. Celebrate your child’s achievements  Joining a new group, meeting new people, navigating a new environment and learning new ways of doing things are big achievements for your child. You can build your child’s confidence and sense of competence when you celebrate these. For example, you could use descriptive praise when your child meets new people or tries something new. Or you could encourage your child to call a grandparent, aunt or family friend to share her achievements. 6. Have back-up collection plans  Many preschool sessions finish at a specific time. If you tell your child you’ll be there at a specific time, it’s important that you’re there. It’s a good idea to have a back-up plan, so that if you’re delayed or there’s a problem, someone you and your child know and trust can be there to pick him up. If the person who normally picks up your child from preschool can’t make it, make sure the preschool teachers knows who’s coming instead. The teachers will let your child know and ensure your child’s safety. Content Source

Is Your Child Really Ready for Preschool?

Every child develops at his own pace, so preschool readiness and social readiness can blossom at different rates. Some children are more than ready at 18 months, while other children need to be 3 or 4 years old before they pick up a mini-backpack or lunch box. As you ponder whether to start preschool, take the following into consideration:  Can your child work on his own for a brief period?  He should be able to focus and complete a puzzle, a drawing, or a block construction by himself without direct supervision or support from an adult.  Can he do basic self-care?  Most centers want kids toilet-trained or at least showing strong signs of readiness. (If a child is on the verge, the example of the other kids often works as a motivator.)  Can he participate in group activities?  While this is a skill he'll be developing in preschool, he has to be ready to start. He should be able to sit in circle time listening to the teacher and the other kids, and to follow stories and activities presented in a group.  Can she separate from you for a few hours at a time?  If your child accepts babysitters or goes readily to day care, there's a good chance she will be ready to separate for a preschool experience, although all children will need some support and time to adjust.  Can she manage a preschool schedule?  Preschools are busy places, usually with activities, a snack, outdoor play in the morning, and a quiet time or nap in the afternoon. If you have a child who is still a morning napper or has trouble with several activities in the morning, she may not be ready for preschool.    Content and Feature Image Source

Facts About Young Children / Pinterest

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Preschool Checklist / Pinterest

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4 Things your Child Should Know before Preschool / Rainbow Chimes

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School Readiness and Early Education

Kindergarten marks the start of a child’s formal education. A child’s first school experience can significantly influence the way they learn and how they relate to others for the rest of their life. Success or failure during this important phase can significantly affect their self-esteem, motivation and well-being. 8 universities jointly analyzed studies involving more than 35,000 preschoolers and found that children who scored higher in school readiness were more likely to have higher academic performance later. These children are also less likely to become teen parents, engage in crime, or become unemployed as adults. Although these studies do not prove cause-and-effect, they do show high correlations. It would be wise to recognize the factors contributing to a child’s school readiness and make sure that when your child begins kindergarten, he or she is ready to learn and to participate in classroom activities.    All Early Experiences Matter For better or worse, all of a child’s early experiences, whether at home, in preschool, or in other child care settings, are educational. The settings in which young children grow and develop, and the interactions and experiences they encounter in these highly formative years, set the stage for later learning. When early experiences are positive, consistent, developmentally sound, and emotionally supportive, they have positive effects on children’s development and on their readiness to learn. What Contributes To School Readiness To help your child become school ready and perform well academically upon entering kindergarten, you can start with strengthening these skills — general knowledge of the world, fine motor, math, reading/vocabulary and attention. There are several other elements that can help your child become school ready and thrive in kindergarten and later in life — language, social-emotional competence, creativity and gross motor development.    How to Attain School Readiness The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest parents do the “5 Rs” of early education to support healthy brain development and to proactively build the critical social-emotional-language skills. The 5 Rs are: 1. Read (reading skills) together everyday. 2. Rhyme (reading skills), play (all skills) and cuddle everyday. 3. Routines (attention) developed for meals, sleep, activities, etc. 4. Reward with praise to build self-esteem and encourage positive behavior. 5. Relationship nurtured as a strong foundation for your child’s development. Parents can incorporate these practices into their daily lives. They can also come up with activities that strengthen each skill that contribute to school readiness and later success.   Content Source: Feature Image Source: 

8 Steps to Prepare Your Child for Primary School

Primary 1 is one of many steps which your child will take towards true independence. It is however, the step which to most children will seem to be the biggest one. In Primary 1, most children will learn how to count and use money, be responsible for homework and other activities, interact with a wider and bigger peer group, negotiate timetables, independent transport and manage multiple needs and tasks at the same time.   Whilst most pre-schools will have a primary school preparation programme, there are many things which you can do with your child to help make adjusting to primary school easier.  1. Talk about what to expect Buy some books about what to expect at primary school. Spend some time together talking about what a day in primary school will be like. Encourage your child to share any concerns that they might have and address them together. 2. Attend the school orientation together Most schools will hold an orientation session before the classes begin. Bring your child. The school tour is a great time to figure out what the class room will look like, the canteen, washrooms and bus pickup and drop off points. Prompt your child for any new questions which they might have after visiting the school. If your child will be attending your alma mater, then sharing some stories about your time at the school will help to make the experience more interesting and relatable.  3. Buy school supplies Go shopping with your child and make sure that you get everything they need before the first day of school. Buy a good school bag, shoes, uniforms, books and stationery too.  4. Recess tips and tricks Recess is probably going to be the most confusing time for your child. The rush of students to the canteen, the choices they will need to make and the need to manage money all within the 30 to 45 minute time allowed for recess are usually quite stressful initially. Talk to your child about how to manage payments, deal with queues and make decisions about what to have for recess. To make it easier, you might want to pack a small sandwich or snack for your child for the first 2 weeks of school so that they will still have something to eat if they find it too difficult to manage at recess time.  5. Talk about making new friends Going to a new school often means saying goodbye to old friends and making new ones. Talk to your child about what they can do to make new friends. Re-assure them that they will still be able to see their pre-school friends. Set up some playdates with their pre-school classmates within the first 2 months of primary school so that your child can continue to maintain these friendships.  6. Do a transport dry run Whether you will be walking to school together, taking public transport, or using the school bus, it is always a good idea to do a dry run together. Practice waking up in the morning and going to school. Then do it all in reverse for the ride back home.  7. Establish a routine Set up the routine which you will be keeping to during the school week. Get your child used to going to bed early and waking up earlier. Talk about when they should be doing their homework and if there will be any restrictions on TV time in the evenings. Try to start following this routine about 1 month before school begins.  8. Teach your child about safety Go through all the different situations which your child might encounter at school which are a threat to safety. Discuss what to do in the event that an adult or another child makes them feel uncomfortable, talk about fire safety procedures, the dangers of leaving the school grounds unattended and road safety issues as well.  Content Source