Your preschooler is at a point in life where they are absorbing incredible amounts of information. In fact, during the first five years of their lives, children learn more and their brains develop faster than at any other point in their lives. Pre-school is an important part of developing your child’s brain and skills.
If you can work on the same skills your child is learning in school, you will help them better absorb what they’re learning in class. This gives them a head start in class and will aid them in the future, as well.
As a parent, how can you help reinforce the learning they’re doing at pre-school?
Have a Nightly Discussion
Talking with your children about your day should be a natural part of family life. You can do this at the supper table or before bed. Share a little about your day and have your children tell you about theirs. As they explain what they learned, they’re reinforcing the knowledge they picked up earlier. This also allows you to understand what they’re working on at school.
A fun way to do this for each person to go around the circle and say one thing they learned. You can have them go into detail, if you like, so everyone can learn from the experience. Don’t forget to share what you’ve learned, too.
Lead by Example
When children see you doing things, they’ll believe it’s normal. So, if you spend time reading and writing, or drawing, they’ll want to participate. Let them help you out or work on their own projects and you’ll encourage them to continue building those skills. Often, your child will repeat things they’ve learned from school, such as numbers or shapes, and this is a good time to talk about those concepts that they’ve learned.
You can also set up projects to work on together, such as painting or cooking. When you get creative together, kids will automatically learn to express themselves, something that is good practice for life and school.
Communication is a very important skill and it will always be in high demand. You can use it as you discuss a project you’re about to work on. For example, if you’re making cookies, you should talk about the process and ask questions to see how well your child can explain what they’re doing. Gently repeat what they say, but in the correct way, if they mix things up.
Let Them Help You Stay Healthy
Most schools and nurseries teach health education and you have a great opportunity to make it stick. Ask your child to help you choose snacks for their tea time, or get them to recommend the healthiest drink, etc. You can take them to the grocers and choose healthy food, as well.
Reading and following recipes, as well as measuring ingredients to make the food will also improve their maths and reading skills.
Read Stories Nightly
Bedtime stories can be a wonderful tradition, but it’s more than just calming your child before bed. It’s also a good introduction to books. There’s no particular agenda, just the pure enjoyment of reading. As your child gets older, they’ll be interested in reading on their own, but for now, your words will help them learn that books are fun.
Build a Puzzle
When you build a puzzle, your brain is fully engaged. For a small child, it is the perfect opportunity to practice and develop problem solving skills. You can double up on things by sitting and talking about the puzzle, counting the pieces, and talking about colours and the various things you can see in the puzzle image.
Challenge your little one with progressively harder puzzles. They’ll gain self confidence because they know they can build a puzzle on their own and yet, they’ll also enjoy working on harder projects.
Music is fun, but it has another purpose when you’re at home. Your child can learn lyrics and they’ll pick up grammar, rhythm and rhyming. Music also helps unlock the mathematical side of the brain.
Making up your own songs about the day you’ve had can also engage the imagination and creative part of the brain. Children love to do this and will often create their own music and songs. You just need to encourage it.
Hand-eye coordination is one of the important skills your child will learn in preschool. This helps with nearly everything they do, from reading to writing and everything in between. There are many fun ways to work on this learning skill. For example, you could:
- Roll a ball back and forth.
- Throw a ball through a hoop.
- Practice drawing circles to make faces.
- Toss bean bags into a bowl or pail.
- Writing letters and numbers with their fingers in a pan of rice.
- Lining small blocks up in a row.
All of these methods will build on the child’s hand-eye coordination which will help them write better later in life.
Get some pretty papers and cut them into strips for your child. They can then use child-safe scissors to cut the pieces of paper into small squares. This is a skill that will be used quite often in school. To make it more interesting, use printed paper, coloured paper, and foil paper.
To add to the practice, get out some sheets of paper and have your child paste their little squares of paper onto the big sheet to form a picture. You can make some very lovely mosaics with this technique. If you want something more interesting, cut up magazines instead of regular paper. Draw a simple shape and then use the squares to create the colour in the shape.
Pre-school isn’t all physical. Your child will also learn the foundations of maths and reading and writing. You can help with this by making a point of counting everything. When you climb stairs with your child, count them. As you do up buttons, count them. This can be a fun way to practice, but if that’s already too simple for your child, just have them count by twos or by threes.
You can also use baking ingredients for simple maths. “If I put 10 almonds in this recipe, how many will be left in the cup?” or “You and your brother can each have two sweets, how many sweets do we need in total?” You’ll soon find this becomes second nature and it’s easier to come up with questions for everywhere you go.
Listening skills are important and it’s a good way to help children practice what they need to do in the classroom. This doesn’t have to be boring. You can make it into a game. Try taking it in turns to give each other instructions. These can be silly or fun, or it can be more practical.
Games like Simon Says or Mother, May I? will give kids a fun way to practice their listening skills. This will translate into listening properly to the teacher at school.
Playing pretend games is a good way for children to process things that happen to them. You can play school, with your child being the teacher, or you could act out what to do if someone is mean to you. Teach your child appropriate methods of dealing with their feelings, whether they’re sad, happy, or hurt. This can be invaluable in the future.
One good game is to play pretend school. You can be the student and your child can teach you. This is a wonderful way to have them go back over the lessons learned and they can show you how well they’ve learned it. Teaching is a good way for anyone to reinforce their skills and to show you what they’ve learned.
Common Skills for Preschoolers to Learn
Wondering what types of lessons your child is having at school? Here are some of the more common skills they’ll learn:
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
- Early maths concepts
- Problem solving
- Pre-writing skills
- Listening skills
- Pre-Reading skills
- Science concepts
Your littles are constantly learning new skills. You have a unique opportunity to help them embrace those skills and concepts and make it easier for them to absorb the knowledge. Look for chances to practice those skills throughout the day.
At Little Acorns Children’s Day Nursery, we offer a learning environment which is tailored to your child’s age group. Join us to see more of what your child will learn.