Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Preparing for Preschool



Is My Child Ready For Preschool Mudpies and Makeup

My littlest is gearing up for Preschool.


I can hardly believe it!  Time flies by when you’re the crazy mom to 4.  It probably even flies by when you’re NOT crazy, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.  Winking smile


She is the youngest yet in our family to start her formal learning, though formal is used very loosely around here.  I firmly believe in child led learning, and while she is showing many signs she is ready, if we give it a try and it ends up being a complete disaster, we will set it aside and try again later.


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Not that anything with this little Diva could ever be a disaster…..

Even though this will be the fourth time I’ve taught preschool, I don’t claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to assessing a child's academic preparedness for it.  I’ve been using this checklist for several years now, and It’s worked so far for us.  The boys were both 4 years old when they started preschool, and Elaina was a little bit older than that.  Our homeschool preschool is probably a far cry from the fancy language immersion preschools I’ve been hearing about, but those don’t really meet our family goals anyway.  At this stage in the game, I really just hope I can teach them their ABC’s and get them to stop eating their boogers. 


Maybe my goals are just a tad too low, but I digress….


Here’s the checklist I use while assessing if my child is ready for preschool:


Is My Child Ready For Preschool
(Click image for printable version)

Writing
While handwriting and penmanship will come later on, these basic pre-writing skills are an important foundation.

Preschool Writing Skills

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Our kids have ample access to pencils, crayons, markers, and paper.  Most of our kids have learned how to hold a pencil just by observing others write. 

Great activities to try are coloring books, tracing activities, and any fine motor activities that help develop your child's pincher grasp (beading, lacing, stringing, using tongs or an eyedropper, sewing.)



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Math, Logic, & Problem Solving
This is not an exclusive list of math skills your child may have, but definitely a great starting point:

Preschool Math Skills

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Reasoning/Concept Development

Preschool Reasoning and Concept Development

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We use lots of puzzles, matching games/activities. 


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Reading Readiness & Language Development

Preschool Reading Skills

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If I could tell you one thing you can do to help your child the most it is: read, read, and read some more!  It’s been part of our everyday routine since my oldest was born.  Make frequent trips to the library and make reading a fun family activity.



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Preschool Language Skills


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Our youngest is a little behind on her speech and we are actively working to help her.  She actually enjoys using flashcards and playing “word” games.



Science
Our earliest years of homeschool modeled the Charlotte Mason Method, and nature walks and journals were a big part of our schooldays. Things will be the same for Olivia, as we expose her naturally to the "living ways of nature".


Preschool Science Skills


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Making observations and asking your preschooler questions about their environment and surroundings is an easy and natural way to incorporate science into your every day life.  “Watch how this works” or “What will happen when…” get your child thinking and processing differently.

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Creative Arts  & Music

Our kids are heavily exposed to music and art.  Nothing too fancy here though.  Just as often as they listen to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, they're listening to 80's pop, classic Jazz (like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong), and traditional Mariachi music.  Our motto is a variety of music for a diversity of moods.


Preschool Art and Music Skills


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Painting, drawing, cutting, pasting, sculpting, building, singing, dancing, listening to music, playing musical instruments.  Anything to get the creative juices flowing!

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Imaginative Play


Kids are even learning while they are playing!  Encouraging them to play alone and with their peers helps them develop a rich imagination.


Preschool Imaginative Play


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Dress-up, role play, dolls/figures, any kind of pretend play they can conjure up!  (Plus they look so cute in those costumes.)


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Gross Motor Skills


Kids in this age group are naturally pretty active. Providing them with focused physical activity can help build muscular strength, flexibility, balance, and confidence too.  Trips to the park, family walks/bike rides, organized (or not) outdoor games and sports, are all great ways to build your child's gross motor skills.

Preschool Motor Skills

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Run, jump, skip, climb, kick, throw, catch, ride, peddle, roll, swim, bat, carry, pull, push, drag, slide, and balance.  Keep them moving and do it with them.  Smile

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Independence, Life Skills, & Self Care


This is another part of the Charlotte Mason Method that we still focus heavily on.


Preschool Life Skills

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Preschoolers have a natural curiosity and a built in “I can do it” mentality.  It doesn’t last long, so take advantage and allow them as many opportunities to learn and do for themselves and around the house as possible.  Teach them to make their bed, feed a pet, sweep with a little broom, and tidy their toys.  Allow them a turn with the mixer or spoon, pushing the grocery cart, watering the flowers, and buttering the toast.

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As exhausting and draining as this phase can be, it is one of my favorite times of teaching!  I find it absolutely amazing how ready and eager they are to learn, and at the speed in which they do it.



We will start Olivia's preschool with a simple version of Letter of the Week, just like I did with all the others.  I plan on starting in late August/September. Stay tuned for all the fun!


LetterOfTheWeek Box


Posh Princess Preschool

3 comments:

Rita Adams said...

They are so cute! Kids are always excited to go to school and to have lots of school supplies. Reaching on the preschool level is the most exciting part. This is when the time they want to learn on a lot of stuffs. I so enjoyed the time when my daughter was on this stage. I'm sure you are too. -www.toolcenter.com

Racheous said...

Some great advice here :) Thank you!

Heather said...

Hi Sarah! I hope Olivia enjoyed her first day of preschool! My name is Heather and I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a quick question I have about your blog! My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail.com :-)