Preschool is a major phase in your Child’s development and being psychologically ready to begin can greatly help your child's likelihood of gaining success throughout the rest of their lives.
There are many articles on the web covering every single aspect of preparing your child for preschool that cover such things as what they should wear, what food to bring and what time to drop off and pickup your child. For the purposes of this article however, we are more interested on preparing the child's psychology and intellect to make for a more pleasant and successful transition.
For the time-poor, I found that Dr. Jennifer Kaywork provided probably the best run down, simply and succinctly put, on what you can do to help your child succeed. She says that when asked about preparing children for preschool, she always advises them to remember three key things:
You should always talk to your child, have a conversation about anything that you can think of. Ask them questions, wait for them to answer, point out things that you see in your daily life and ask them what they think. This builds a vocabulary, it teaches them to have a conversation and to listen and wait their turn.
Always read to your children. You should give children opportunities to explore books, to read books with you, to listen to you read and to just sit and have time to flip through them and learn what a book looks like. Before children go to bed is a nice time to read them a story and then to have them help you to read a book by looking at the pictures, listening to your words and repeating it back. Giving children shared book experiences at home sets them up for preschool where the children are read to on a daily basis. They're read to in large groups, there's typically a centre that they can read books on their own and then they can sit with a teacher to have a one-on-one book experience.
So with the reading and the talking the last thing you should always let children do is play. And you want to give children lots of opportunities to play with other children in any type of social setting before they go to preschool. You can take them to the park, you can take them to play areas, you can have play dates at home. This gives them a chance to play with materials with somebody else, to interact with them, to have conversations with them, to watch another child play and see if maybe that's something they can do as well.
These beginning social experiences will set them up nicely for when they walk into a preschool classroom and are given the opportunity to talk to fifteen of their peers and choose who they want to play with and where they want to play.
So the key is to really give them life experiences, to give them lots of books, talk to them a lot, let them play, and when they walk into a preschool class they'll be ready to go.
Dr. Jennifer Kaywork is a highly accomplished researcher, educator and mother. She earned a BSEd in Elementary and Early Childhood Education/Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia, an MS in Family and Child Development from Virginia Tech, and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Rutgers University in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education and the coordinator of the Early Childhood certification program at Dominican College. Throughout her 16 years she has worked with children of all ages, with her primary focus being children aged 6 months through five years.