Adjusting to school takes time! Here are a few things you can do to help the process.
Today, preschool is much more than just naptime, snacks, and recess—although we all do enjoy each of those things! Our Early Childhood department at Calvary Christian Academy seeks to provide young children with a solid spiritual, academic, and social foundation that will help them make the transition into elementary school. Parents can help their child get the best experience by working with them throughout the year on some of these basic social and academic skills:
Give your children the opportunity to “be okay” when you’re away. Children often experience separation anxiety during their first months of school. You can alleviate or even avoid the trauma by getting them used to you leaving and returning. Dropping your child off at children’s church while you attend service is a great way to help them work through separation anxiety. Getting out for a date night also helps them (and you too)! These situations allow your child to see that your marriage and church attendance are a priority, as well as helping them learn to adjust to new situations when others are in charge.
Practice taking turns talking. At dinner, practice taking turns talking. One idea for teaching your child this social skill is to decorate a “talking stick.” The person with the talking stick has the turn to talk while everyone else listens. This is a good lesson for everyone—grown-ups included. Children at the age of three and four are often taught to say, “Excuse me,” but they still interrupt. So take it to the next level and have them wait until others are finished speaking by using the talking stick.
Have fun while introducing letters and numbers in your daily routines. Generally speaking, by the end of Pre-K, children are expected to recognize all 26 letters, know the letter sounds and to be able to recognize numbers up to 20. To be able to recognize letters and numbers is helpful in preschool; however, it is normal for students to reverse written letters or numbers even into first grade. Don’t stress if your child hasn’t mastered these skills yet. Do make it fun by pointing out numbers or letters on signs while you’re driving, or playing a fun word game at home. They will learn at their own pace.
Help develop in your children a love for books. Take time to read to your children daily, letting them see that you read for enjoyment. Visit bookstores and local libraries to surround your children with literature. No longer is preschool just about playing well with others and napping—some children can sound out simple words and recognize sight words by the end of their Pre-K4 year. Read with your children often and make books available around the house.
Teach your child to play well with others. From play dates at the park to family gatherings, your child is bound to be offended by another child at some point, so it's important to teach him to handle conflict in healthy ways. Children benefit from practice when it comes to forgiveness—it’s amazing how often a problem between two students can be solved when one of them speaks in love and chooses to forgive first!
Every child learns at their own pace. So don’t be discouraged if your little one hasn’t quite got the hang of the skills mentioned just yet. Preschool is a great place to learn important social skills that children will use throughout their lives, and partnering with our parents to help our students grow and develop to their full spiritual, academic, and social potential is our great joy and our calling here at CCA.
Jan Lashbrook is the Early Childhood Director at Calvary Christian Academy. She and her husband are “empty-nesters,” having raised three children who are all grown and married. Their youngest attended CCA for 12 years, graduating in 2016.