06 September 2010
Pre-School On the Run
If you're in a situation where a traditional preschool experience won't work for your family, there are still a million things you can do to help prepare your preschooler for that big first day of Kindergarten. Here are a few:
1) Read to them - a LOT. Point to the words as you go along, they will begin to recognize them.
2) Play the Alphabet Game in the car. This is best played by people not driving the car for safety sake. Help the little one recognize the letters of the alphabet on roadsigns, billboards and buildings from A to Z.
3) Take advantage of the great "learn to write letters and numbers" books out there. If you don't want to spend the money you can make your own using paper specially lined to help kids write upper and lower case letters.
4) Teach them to write their names. This brings them a great amount of joy.
5) Let them help with anything you are doing: counting ingredients for cooking and the number of cups and teaspoons in recipes, counting change in a store to give to a cashier (when not rushed and there isn't a long line of fussy old people behind you -ha-ha), cleaning and folding laundry. Cleaning and folding develop motor skills, the ability to follow directions and work together.
Last but not least, when they go off to college and a life on their own they won't be completely lost. We all had one of two roommates in college who didn't know how to do laundry, turn on a dishwasher (the maid had always done that), clean a bathroom or cook. This training has to happen while they are young if there is any hope of them helping out when they're older.
6) Give them specific art and creativity assignments. Kids love to color, give them assignments that require them to recognize colors, shapes, letters and numbers. You can tailor this especially to areas you know they need growth in. Ask them to build shapes and structures with blocks. Let them cut and tear paper and make collages of favorite things. Get an inexpensive digital camera they can use with you and allow them to do projects with the photos.
7) Play to their talents. If they love dinosaurs, lizards, spiders horses, princesses, cats or dogs, use them as your method to get children interested and involved in learning to count, draw, read and study. Give them opportunities to explore things that interest them most and help them develop these interest throughout their growing up years.
8) Take field trips. There are SO many great places to take small children where they can learn about animals, science, nature and history. Take advantage of all of them. Plan them into your schedule.
9) Think of all the places you go each day as a learning opportunity. Teach them what happens at the bank, grocery store, doctor's office, auto repair clinic, fabric store, bakery, post office and restaurant. Tell them where you are going before hand and explain what happens there.
Give them one or two small assignments to do while you are there, like help pick out a book of new stamps, hand the checks to the teller, choose the apples or pick one new fruit or vegetable to try.Getting them involved will also likely mean they'll be less trouble while you are there.
10) Let them play. Kids need time outside, time to learn and play in a kid environment with other children, learning to share, create meaning and work together. They also learn to be brave, following other children in activities that they fear, and they develop a lot of motor skills. Plan play dates, go to parks where there are lots of children. Make sure they get lots of fresh air and have time to run freely outside.
Just a few ideas to create your own home preschool. It might help to do some study and make a list of basic kindergarten skills sets then tailor your curriculum to your child's own special needs. You're the parent and you know your child best. You can be the perfect preschool for them if that is what works best for your family.