Published Date: 11/14/19
As a child development specialist, I have spent nearly twenty years in the classrooms, working with students and parents, and managing schools. As a mom of two littles, I have been on the other side as well. Here are three ways you can partner with your preschool teacher to foster your child’s development.
1. Independence: As a parent, you get used to helping your child do things; feeding them, getting them dressed, wiping them, etc. But many children by the age of two can perform many self-care tasks quite effectively if given the chance and opportunity to practice. When your child comes into school and expects the preschool teacher to do every step because they think they can’t, or they don’t want to because they are used to having someone do it for them, it does not help create good habits and capable independent children. At home, encourage your child to do as many self-care tasks as they can independently. If they think they can’t, ask them to try first. If you think they can’t, have them try first. You’ll see what they are truly capable of, which will be helpful when encouraging other activities. For example, when it is time to eat breakfast, have them get their napkin and utensil. When they are done, have them take their dishes to the sink. When it comes time to get dressed, have them attempt to sit on the ground and put one leg through each hole. The day is filled with ample opportunity to gain self-help skills which will boost confidence and help focus on building strong, independent, and capable children.
2. Interpersonal Skills: Learning to navigate the social world is such a crucial skill that has a huge impact on the lifelong success of your child. Socialization skills are multifaceted, learning how to communicate needs and desires to peers, sharing and taking turns, and complex social engagements of play. If your child misses out on learning how to handle socialization at home, then it makes it that much more difficult when they enter a school environment. Lessons about sharing and taking turns should be reinforced outside of the classroom. Children also need to learn how to communicate needs to others aside from their immediate family, and they need to be given opportunities to play with peers outside of the home and in different settings.
3. Academics: It isn’t everything. Yes, it is exciting your child can recite the entire alphabet forwards and backward, but this is not going to make them kindergarten ready? Young children learn through play. They learn by exploring their environment, by asking questions, by trial and error. It is far more important to set up a proper foundation for your child to learn and the desire to continue to wonder, question, and explore than it is to drill letters of the week. Learning happens when children are truly interested in something, so that is the focus of a preschool teacher; to provide provocations to spark curiosity. At home, read to your children every day. It’s the single biggest factor in academic success.
Partnering with your preschool teacher on these things ensures that you’re in sync on your child’s development. Regular reports from preschool and chats at drop off and pick up will keep you up-to-date on progress. Keep learning play-based and fun, foster independence and interpersonal skills, and spend plenty of time together as a family.
About the Author
For the past 20 years Brittany has worked in the early child development field serving many roles such as teaching, directing, and child development specialist. She launched her website Mama Bear Britt last year to build a community for all parents to gather, learn, and share. You can follow along in the parenting journey by visiting www.mamabearbritt.com.
Paper Pinecone is a thought leader in Early Childhood Education and the best place for families and childcare providers to connect.