Entering Pre-K is a momentous milestone, and educators believe parents can do a great deal to help prepare children for the challenges ahead.
Parental involvement "definitely makes a difference for a successful experience in school," said Barbara Smith, Pre-K teacher at Dearing Elementary School.
Preparation can help children smoothly transition into Pre-K, and parents can work on several areas, added Margret Echols who also teaches Pre-K at DES.
Parents are the first teachers, and the Dearing educators listed some things they can work on before their child starts Pre-K.
- try to make children as independent as possible
- help them develop a good self image
- encourage them to exercise control of their feelings (such as their temper, and separation anxiety)
- engage in conversations
- establish routines
- read and share stories together
- promote good manners
- help them learn to use the bathroom and manage clothes with little aid
- guide them in the use of eating utensils
- speak clearly -- use eye contact -- communicate in sentences
- help them to begin using words to solve problems
- teach them the basics of personal information such as first and last name and age.
- encourage them to develop skills with cognitive information -- shapes, colors, counting, writing (holding a pencil or crayons), letter recognition
"We as teachers can always tell when parents have spent quality time working on many of these things," Mrs. Smith said.
"Hopefully this involvement will continue throughout their school experience," Ms. Echols said.