Preschool is an exciting milestone in your child’s life, as it is their first real opportunity to learn, play, and grow alongside others their age in a new environment without being supervised by their parents. It is a space for them to develop motor skills, practice cooperation with others, and learn the basics of numbers, letters, shapes, and colors. Preschool is an integral part of a child’s development that is truly irreplaceable, so sign your toddler up for our preschool learning program at Child’s World Academy in Monroe or Peekskill!
Even if your toddler has attended a day care center or neighborhood playgroup in the past, they might need a little help adjusting to this new learning environment before they are dropped off on their first day of preschool. Some children, especially first-borns, have a difficult time being separated from their parents in an unfamiliar setting, which is why we do everything we can to make our child development center as fun and welcoming as possible. That being said, here are a few tips to help you prepare your toddler for their first day of preschool.
One of the easiest ways to get your toddler excited about preschool is playing school with them in the months leading up to their first day — and making it fun with lots of kid-friendly activities. These could include games like Go Fish and dominoes, as well as educational letter tracing workbooks, puzzles, and arts and crafts like finger painting. Tracing, cutting, and glueing are also great fine motor skills to practice as you play school with your child, as it teaches them coordination, patience, and how to create something new and unique with their own two hands.
Our preschool and pre-K programs incorporate lots of fun games and hands-on activities involving shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and symbols to help children attach meaning to different objects. Engaging your toddler in these preschool activities at home is a great way to get them used to learning new things on a regular basis so they aren’t overwhelmed in the preschool classroom setting. Then, when it comes time to sign them up for preschool, they’ll be excited knowing that they’ll be doing the same kinds of crafts, games, and activities with other kids their age.
As previously mentioned, playgroups are a great way to get your toddler accustomed to playing with others their age. Playgroups allow toddlers to practice sharing toys, waiting their turn, and cooperating with others in a polite and respectful way, which will serve them well when they enter a room full of other preschoolers on their first day. This is a great way for toddlers to start developing their social skills while still under parental supervision so they can learn how to win and lose respectfully, share things with others, and make new friends.
Playgroups are especially beneficial for toddlers if they can start to form friendships with other kids that attend their preschool, daycare, or other early childhood education program. Neighborhood playgroups and church playgroups are great examples of this, as they allow toddlers (and their parents) to get to know one another before taking the next step in their education. After all, your toddler will be much less likely to experience separation anxiety on their first day of preschool if they have a friend there to distract them and play games together.
This brings us to the dreaded separation anxiety many toddlers experience on their first day of preschool, which can result in tantrums. While this is understandable, given that preschool is one of the first times your child is left without their parents, separation anxiety can be prevented if you get your child accustomed to being under others’ care for short periods of time. Just don’t leave them with others for too long (at least, not at first) — the goal is to show them that when they are under someone else’s care, you will return shortly.
Grandparents, babysitters, neighbors with kids, and daycare providers are great resources to use as you wean your child off of being by your side at all times. If you are going to a work party or simply need to run to the grocery store, for example, try leaving your toddler with a relative or family friend so they can practice being separated from you. That way, when you enroll them in one of our preschool learning programs, they will be reassured that you will return for them at the end of the session and can focus on what really matters: playing, learning, and socializing!
Enroll Your Toddler In Our Preschool Learning Program
Now that you have a better idea of how to prepare your toddler for preschool, it’s time to think about signing your child up for one of our preschool learning programs! Our preschool curriculum is recognized as one of the best in the area, as it was developed via the Connecticut Preschool Framework and New York State Early Learning Guidelines, and our staff is dedicated to making your child’s preschool experience fun, engaging, and educational. Our preschool learning activities target personal development (physical and cognitive), socialization, and creative expression.
Click to schedule a customized tour of our preschool and daycare center, and stay tuned for part two of this blog series for more tips about how to get your toddler ready for their first day of preschool!