Words of Advice from a Preschool Director

Today is a guest blog from my Aunt, she has worked with preschoolers her whole life (my grandmother owned a preschool which she eventually took over and is currently the Director for an awesome preschool in Wichita, KS). She always has the best advice so I wanted to share her with you! I am working on a back-to-school Q&A with her as well! Thanks Aunt C! 

Early childhood education is more important today than ever before. The days of preschool being about playing with your friends, graham crackers and milk, listening to a story and rest time on your rug have rapidly evolved into  a time of developing skills such as writing, math, pre-reading, language, and self-help.  There is so much to teach these little ones to prepare them for their future academics, but also for their social and emotional futures as well.
In order to make a child’s preschool experience the best, it is important for the parents and preschool staff to have great communication. Get to know your child’s teacher. Attend orientation sessions and Parent / Teacher conferences. If you have any questions or problems, go to them, not your neighbor.
The most important advice I can give is to enjoy your child’s preschool years.  Share their excitement of learning with them. Listen to them sing that song they just learned for the fourteenth time.  Talk with them about seeing a caterpillar turning into a cocoon. The most informative time with you preschooler is on the way to school and when you pick them up.  They have so many things to share with you and need your undivided attention.  So put down that phone, turn off your Blackberry, don’t start the DVD player and have a great conversation about their world away from you and what they are excited about!
The Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions:  (Oh there are so many more!!!!!)
  1. My child is three years old and will start preschool in the fall.  What do I need to do to prepare my child for school? It is so important that your child has the developmental skills need to start their education. Make sure your child has had opportunities to be away from you and developed an independence of their own. They must be potty trained and be able to handle their own personal needs. Read to them. Develop listening skills by giving one simple instruction to follow without repeating it. Make sure they know their full name and parents’ name.
  2. I know my child will cry when I leave.  Can I stay with him in class for the first week? No. Your child may kick and scream when you try to leave, but please do not linger.  Let the teacher handle the situation. Your child needs to have the assurance that you will come back so establish that before you get to school. Tell them goodbye and that you will be back when they are finished with school. 99.9% of the time the crying is over and they are busy with an activity before you have left the parking lot.
  3. My child’s preschool has so many rules and policies. What if I do not want to follow them?  As with every organization rules and policies are developed to protect you and your child while they are at school.  There are reasons for each policy and procedure and when they are not followed it can breach the safety and learning environment for everyone involved.  If you are not comfortable with the rules, speak with the Director or Teacher to understand why they are in place.  If you still have a problem, it is better to find another school with different policies that you can follow.
  4. If my child is sick, how do I know when to keep them home and when they can go back? Check your child every day before they come to school.  Are they complaining about not feeling well or did not eat their normal breakfast? Did they not sleep well or are acting fussy about normal activities?  Then they might be coming down with something.  If they are running a fever (of any kind), vomiting, coughing, runny noses (especially the green, yucky stuff), have a rash, sore throat, or watery eyes, they need to stay at home. You need to check on your school’s policy for returning to class. Most policies state that they must be free of symptoms for 24 hours before returning.
  5. What is the best thing I can do to help my child and their teacher during the school year. READ ALL COMMUNICATIONS THAT COME HOME!  The teacher will send you information by notes and /or newsletters.  Please take the time to read them.  Check your child’s school bag every day to see if there are notes or messages for you.  One of the saddest thing for a teacher is to see a child disappointed because the parents did not read the note that went home and the child came without or unprepared for that day’s activities. Ex: The teacher sent out three notes about pajama day and what the child was to bring.  Unfortunately, Mom did not read the notes carefully and the child wore his pajamas on the wrong day and was very upset.

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