what can I teach for my son to be ready for pre-school?

Nancy - posted on 01/29/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

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I have a small home daycare and the kids age are from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 my son is 2 1/2 and I would like your opinion in what would be good to teach them so they can be ready for pre-scool and how to teach them too so it can be fun for them.

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Jo - posted on 02/02/2010

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These are some of the key factors that you need to focus on to prepare your child for pre-school :

Teach him/her

1. How to hold a pencil
2. Numbers ( Write from 1- 10 & say upto 20 )
3. Alphabets
4. To write his/her name
5. To draw shapes
6. To cut out shapes using a pair of scissors
7. To tie the shoe lace
8. To identify colors & shapes
9. Hop, jump & skip

But above all the children need to be taught the 3 most important skills :

1. Self care
2. Sitting still
3. Sharing

Good luck !

Rebbecca - posted on 01/31/2010

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I have been a preschool age teacher since 2002. The most important set of skills a child can have coming into any kind of social care group are social/emotional skills. When ever I get a new child, and especially one that has NEVER been in day care before, the first things I look at are how well he or she can get along with others. These include sharing, being friendly, a general understanding of fairness and justice, empathy, responsibility to others, and the overall ability to be a good friend. Things such as scissor skills, zipping coats, etc. will come with time, practice, and experience. It has been my experience that a socially successful preschooler is a very happy preschooler. Good luck and thank you for taking care of our future!

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It is very important to read books to them - have them point things out in the illustrations. Display colors and shapes such as circle, triangle, star square - point and say outloud so that the children can say them with you, Write words on things around the house, such as "Window" etc. Say/sing nursery rhymes like The Itsy, Bitsy, Spider (there are so many... Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon, The little dog laughed to see such a sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon. Music, music, music. They will love to watch and participate if you let them feel free to do so.

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I am a preschool teachers aide and our children just need to be potty trained. We work on zipping coats, first letters of their name, cutting with scissors. Most of our children that come learn these skills while they are there. Social skills are the most important things the first year of preschool. We work a lot on manners, but we just have fun!!!!

Marlene - posted on 01/29/2010

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The most important thing to teach him is enthusiasm about learning and attending school... if you are excited he too will be excited!! But on top of that.... manners too will go a long way.( You would be surprised how many preschoolers are not taught them)

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Jamie - posted on 11/29/2012

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I've been using a site called CHALK preschool to help prepare my child for preschool. I might even end up using it for preschool before kindergarten. It's very simple and y daughter loves it.

Lee - posted on 02/07/2010

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After reading all the replies from all the preschool teachers and moms, you must already have all the ideas on how to ready your kids for preschool.Just have fun teaching or playing with them.Don't have too high expectation or pressured them in their learning.They are just small kids.Let them learn with happy faces not crying faces.I have seen what some moms had done to their kids.

Aideen - posted on 02/06/2010

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I actually just enrolled my son (4 in March) in preschool. I am a teacher myself and a life-long learner, so I have always exposed him to reading, music, exploration, manners, etc.
The curriculum at this particular preschool begins with recognizing letters, then they make the sound repeatedly, like "s" is "sss-sss-sss" and then they add another letter (called dipthongs or something like that) like "sa" and then they say, "say" and "sah"...Does that help?
I'm sure there are plenty of websites, too, that you can go to and take a peek at their curriculum! ;)

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Looks like you got lots of great ideas from the other responses. I ran a child care out of my home for about a year with my husband and used most of the suggested tactics with success. One thing the kids loved about the program we had was the many reward systems. We had many sticker charts for participating in reading circle, trying new foods, completing tasks, even hand washing and showing respect. Children love to be rewarded and being the center of attention if even for just a moment while placing their stickers on the chart is exciting and fun. The charts can be on whatever the goal is and the standards for each child's level of development can be different. For instance, crawling babies got a sticker just for being awake and present for reading circle while older children had to sit quietly in the circle and answer fun questions to show they were paying attention. We gave out simple, usually educational prizes or did a fun choice activity for the little star every time a child got ten stickers. It helps with counting/math skills and also helps familiarize them with their names in print while boosting their confidence. You can teach the children to encourage each others' progress and keep it positive this way. We were amazed at how well the pre-school children remembered (and reminded us) about the charts and where they were at on them. They were excited to share their progress with their parents too.

Rosalee - posted on 02/05/2010

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I am a public school Pre-K teacher. I am amazed at the number of children that come through our doors that do not know how to sit down at a table and properly feed themselves. I have had a range of "eating" disorders from not knowing/wanting to use the fork,. not able to sit at the table properly, talking with food in their mouth, stuffing food in their mouth, taking food off others trays etc. Table manners would be a great place to start. Also, I can easily tell the children who have had great experiences in reading with an adult by the way they sit and listen to stories read aloud. Reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child... of any age!

Brandy - posted on 02/05/2010

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I am a Pre-K teacher...introduce him to counting, colors, and shapes. Letter sounds if you think he is ready. You can also work with him on name recognition (the first letter of his name). Most importantly, getting along with others and following directions! Do it in a way that goes along with your daily routine! Play fun sensory activities and make up songs to go along! :)

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I would recommend that the little ones visit the pre-school they are slated to attend after they leave your home daycare...It will help both parents and kids to get a feel of where they will be going off to everyday - so it's not a shock to their system...In terms of "teaching" them so they can be ready is...a crap shoot:-) I find that in most cases it's the "parents" that aren't quite ready for pre-school:-) The kids do just fine...One biggie is making sure they can go to the toilet on their own - from getting on the toilet to pulling up/down their underwear to wiping their private parts to washing their hands!

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Also, coloring, working with playdough, scissors when appropriate, stuff that build hand muscles. Stimulate their brains in many ways, visually, tactile, auditory, through motor experiences (learning by doing)

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Read to them every day. That will help them to develop a love and a thrist for learning. Just teach them to explore and think. Teach them how to share, sit at the table, help, and all social skills. You can expose them to counting, count everything. Show them the letters of the alphabet . But don't stress if they can't recite their ABC's Make learning a part of their every day live. Encourage them to be active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Songs are a great teaching tool. Try Googling Dr. Jean. She is awsome.

Paula - posted on 02/04/2010

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Hello Nancy! Practice having them sit in a circle if only for a few seconds, increase the time until they can sit for a two minute period. Also I am sure that your daycare may not have the amount of staff that a pre-school would and some children become shy around that many adults. Visiting a pre-school prior to enrolling and doing a stay and play may help to calm both your little ones and your own nerves. You can use puppets to help introduce new centers to them (to explore colors and textures, etc.) and you can never go wrong teaching them the alphabet, counting from 1-10 and this one is my favorite the use of manners. Create a Mr.Mannerly puppet and explain when to use please and thank you. Also having the child potty trained is a big plus! Some pre-schools require it.

Alice - posted on 02/03/2010

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I agree with you Kathleen. I think we are pushing our children faster and harder than ever before to learn certain things. I think that playing and having fun should be a natural process and not over done with a list of skills that we feel good about or can brag about to others. Children are natural learners so just provide them with a lot of diverse opportunities to play and join them as much as you can.

Kathleen - posted on 02/03/2010

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Hello Nancy, Being a Preschool Teacher for the past 15 years, I wanted to respond to your question, but after reading Ani's reply I have nothing to say :) Her reply was exactly what I would have said. I was concerned when I read all the posts about the things children should know/be able to do before they come to preschool. Sometimes I feel we forget what "Pre" school is for. Children learn best through play and when we value them, their interests, thoughts and ideas. I guess I just want to say let them be children and have fun.

Nakima - posted on 02/02/2010

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I would suggest lots of practice with pencils and crayons, and LOTS of reading time. Reading to him, reading with him, and having him read to you - even if he's only "reading" the pictures!

Elaine - posted on 02/02/2010

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I think that helping kids to love learning is a wonderful thing! At that age and every age routine and structure is vital! Havinga routine or schedule helps kids as early as preschool age to be more co-operative and assists in event transition. Structure helps kids to feel safe, confident and in control... giving them a good and happy day! ( have been a school teacher for a long time. If you'd like, check out www.EasyDaysies.com)

Ani - posted on 02/01/2010

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I have been a preschool teacher for over 20 years. Children learn through play. Experiences for young children should be age and developmentally appropriate. Children social and emotional being is essential for their success in school. Giving children choices, trusting them that they are capable learners, empowering them to believe in themselves will be much more important than any academics at this time in their live. Value them, validate their interest, scaffold their play, be intentional in your activity choices, provide them with many opportunity to explore, analyze, discover, problem-solve, and make decisions. Participate in their play by asking open ended questions. Simple activities like digging in the sand box, playing with water, building with blocks, pretend play, art, music, book reading...etc. will expand their knowledge about the world around them and offer them many opportunities to learn and master their skills and abilities. Just think about water play, there is so much to it, science (water displacement, waves, sinking/floating...), math (full/empty, estimation, prediction, counting, measuring...), language (introducing new words related to the topic), small and gross motor opportunities, social (communicating with others about concepts and experiences), writing (documenting their findings in their project journals) etc. The list is endless. The opportunities immense. Also consider your outside environment. Outside play is a great opportunity for further learning and exploration. Imagine reading a book under a tree, compared to reading it in the classroom, on the couch. Not hard to select. I feel that I can go on and on. If you need more info please let me know. I would love to chat.

Amy - posted on 02/01/2010

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Hi, they should know their colors, some letters in their name, how to sort objects by one attribute, and identify their name . Try teaching them through play. For example, use playdough and cookie cutters to form the letters in their name, have a color of the week and go on a hunt for that color, paint with that color, draw with that color, etc. As for sorting, you can use counting bears and start with sorting by color. This will also help them learn the names of the colors. Hope this helps...

Alice - posted on 02/01/2010

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I am a preschool teacher and all I can say is talk, talk, talk. The more you increase your child's exposure to words and ideas the more he will be open to learning. Just use everything you do as an opportunity to explain life to these little ones. Too many of us adults talk over our children instead of to them. Also this is the time to start building confidence in your child about leaving them alone or with others. You can even start with leaving them for a few minutes playing in their room while you tell them, 'Mommy is going to the other room for a little while. You can stay there and play and I will be right back.' If the child follows you just go ahead and do what you were going to do without paying attention to him and then after a few minutes resume your conversation but take them back to where the room he was left to spend a little time with you there. Don't make it a battle though or you defeat the confidence building goal.

Felicia - posted on 01/31/2010

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Basic self help skills are important for a good preschool start...potty training, buckles, snaps, cleaning up after one's self-with toys and meals. Talking about the preschool experience with your child also is helpful in lessening anxiety and setting up a good start.

Nancy - posted on 01/31/2010

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You guys are so grate, I'm showing him to reconize the figures like circle, oval, triangel etc, I'm also showing him to reconize the numbers. He knows how to count 1-10 in english and Spanish. To point and name things in the house, He knows how to make circles and lines now he is working on the X. Is hard but we are working in the potty train, putting his shoes and his Jaquet with Zepper... How old would be a good Idea to take him to pre-school?

Brandy - posted on 01/29/2010

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every pre-school has different expectations. If you know where you plan on having you child attend talk to the school to find out what they expect. Basic social skills are important and your already doing that by having him around other children. Being able to sit for a story is helpful. It's nice when the children can recognize thier name. At my pre-school we lable everything with names and have the children find their name card when they come in at the start of the day. One activity that is fun and very very helpful is to play with playdough. It strengthens the muscles used for cutting and writing, There are lots of great recipes for homemade.

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