Not to get all clich’d, but doesn’t it seem like only yesterday that your child was a baby and dependent on you for everything, but now she’s gaining independence at what feels like warp speed. She’s walking and talking, making friends at the playground and beginning to learn the skills she needs – negotiating, sharing, respecting space – to get along in the world.
Soon, your child will start school and begin to learn even more about her world, other people, and how she fits in. She’ll make new friends and adapt to being part of a group, while understanding more about herself as an individual. She’ll begin to master the fundamental skills and approaches to learning she’ll build on as her school years progress. And you and she will feel confident and proud as she sets out on these early steps in a lifetime of learning.
It’s an exciting time, but as you prepare for preschool (whether your child is making her first foray into the classroom at age 2 or age 4) you and your child may feel a little anxious. Are you ready to spend so much time apart? Have you made the best choice for her? Will her teachers be worthy of the trust you’re placing in them? Will she fit in with her peers? And what can you do to help her approach preschool with confidence?
Take a deep breath, relax and remember: For children and for parents, transitions can be hard. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes there is confusion. Sometimes there is anger. But often there is joy and excitement and anticipation. With love, affection and support – and by listening and guiding – you and your child will get through the transition to preschool together.
But while the transition can be difficult, there are many advantages to attending preschool. Here are the principle benefits:
Benefits of Preschool
- Enhanced social and emotional development: learning to form relationships with peers and teachers, learning to balance the needs of the individual and the needs of the group
- Preparation for kindergarten: learning to follow instructions and to adjust to the structure of a school day and classroom
- Increased independence: learning to make his or her own choices
- Increased sense of competence and self-worth: learning to master tasks like setting the table for snack time, taking care of personal belongings, cleaning up after play, listening to others and speaking in a group
- Developing language and cognitive skills
- Encouraging a sense of wonder about the world
- Boosting pre-math and literacy skills
- Developing motor skills