The first day of school is always filled with emotion and stress.
Stress is not limited to you as the parent, but can also affect your child. Pre-kindergarten is the first big step that you and your child will make into their school career. Don’t be afraid to cry, it’s normal. I would suggest holding it in until you are not around your child, because they will see this and think that there is something wrong with going to “big kid” school. You want your child to be as comfortable as possible. Remember to remain calm and relaxed.
How do you prepare your child for such a big step?
Talk to your child about what big kid school offers, how much fun it will be, how many of their old friends will be there and that they will get to meet new friends. If at all possible take them to their new school a week or two in advance and let them get a feel for it.
Allow them to ask questions, no matter how repetitive they might seem. If you have an older child that is in school already, then you might take your younger child with you to pick up their older sibling. Take your little one to the school functions like the play at Christmas, football games, and such to give them an idea of things they will get to do.
Chances are, if your child has an older sibling, then they already know what school is and they want to be just like them.
What about the emotions of a 3 year old who has a year to go?
Three year olds are curious, they want to know everything and often try to act like thay already do. Of course, we all know that they have no idea.
You child’s teacher will spend the next year instilling in them the things they will need to know when they do go into pre-k. Yes, it’s true that your child may have to stay in the three year old room for 2 years because of when their birthday is, but that means little other than it allows them to remember what they have learned the first year better.
I once lived with a few friends and they had 2 kids. One was a year old and the other was heading off to pre-k. I could not believe that he did not know his numbers, ABC’s, colors, or anything. True enough, I should have expected it because the child was not in daycare and mama didn’t teach him anything as the computer was all that mattered to her. When I told her she needed to teach him these things she boldly looked at me and said ” I don’t have to teach him anything, that’s what the teachers get paid for.”, unbelievable.
I cannot stress enough how untrue this is. As a parent, you have a responsibility to teach your child things they need to know. If you are the type of parent that does not want to put your child in daycare, at least consider putting them in when they are three. Another thing that helps us as teachers is to continue going over the things they need to know at home. Just because class has ended for the day does not mean that their learning has stopped.
In helping your child learn these things you are helping them to not be as anxious about going to big kid school. Use terms that reference the big school, ” When you go to big kid school you have to know your ABC’s.”, something like that.
They will often feel scared that you are leaving them. Assure them that you are not leaving them and will be picking them up as soon as you can. Remember this is their last year as a daycare child.
Have fun with them, take lots of pictures, but always help them continue to learn their basics because not only does it help the teacher, but it will also make your life easier.
At the end of the year when your child goes off to big kid school, make sure to thank their teachers that have helped them along the way so they can succeed in big kid school.
What will your 3 year old learn?
The basics of course!
* Staying in the lines
* Painting creative pictures
* Group play
* Circle time
And so much more!!