Getting Ready for Preschool

Being prepared for preschool is very simple and goes a long way towards ensuring a little peace of mind for you and for your child. Read on to learn some techniques used by successful children and parents.

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Preschool is a very big step for a small child. It's a new world full of strange adults and lots of other kids. It might seem like fun to a grown-up - all those new friends to play with, lots of toys, snacks, and best of all, nap time. But to a child it's mysterious step into the unknown and it's about as large a step as he's ever taken. It's very important for his mom and dad to be supportive when the first day of school approaches. Being prepared is quite simple and can help ensure peace of mind for you and for your child.

Do Your Homework

Put some work into finding the right school - this should yield a lot of information that will help you feel ready when the school year begins. Find out all you can about the school before day one. Get a comprehensive description of the preschool program. Is it more than just a play day? What is the school's educational philosophy? What kind of qualifications do they require from their teachers? Learn about the yearly calendar and the daily schedule. Keep track of these things so you can help your child be ready each day and look forward to upcoming events and activities. If you're interested, ask about how you can become involved in your child's education and participate more fully in the life of the school.

Familiarize Yourself

If you don't take you child to school each day, you'll want to find out about transportation procedures, carpools and bussing. It's very important to learn about any food services the school provides and be sure the school nurse is informed if your child suffers any food allergies. Find out the names of the principal and your child's teacher. Tell them to your child and try to help him remember. As much as possible, find out in advance what forms you will need to fill out. If you can, fill them out ahead of time so you won't be distracted by grown-up things when you should be attentive to your child's needs on his big first day. Knowing what immunizations your child will need is vital. The school won't let him in without them. Get those taken care of in a timely fashion.

What's Expected?

Some schools will send you all of the necessary information, or conduct orientation meetings for the parents and children. You might want to contact the school principal and set up an appointment. No matter what, find out in advance what the school expects from the new students. Knowing in advance will help you prepare your child in a fun, stress-free way. Or you may decide that the school's expectations aren't right for your child. In that case, you can meet with the principal to discuss alternatives, or, if you know far enough in advance, you can make another choice of school for your child.

Visit the School Ahead of Time

Your child needs to understand what this place is. It's important that the upcoming school year not seem scary or too mysterious. Take your child up and down the hallways, into the classrooms and school yard. If you can arrange to visit on a day when school is in session you'll be able to show your child what sorts of activities and friendships he has to look forward to. Talk with your child about school. During your visit, try to make a lot of positive comments. Introduce your child to the teachers and other children if possible.

The first day of school is a big deal for little people. Don't put too much weight on it, but don't take it too lightly, either. A little preparation goes a long way toward letting your child know that school can be a good thing. This will serve him well as he builds his educational foundation.

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