If you have younger children who are starting pre-k for the first time this fall, here are some tips you can use to help your child get ready. These tips come from Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and guest writer Mary Beth Kelly from Providence Preparatory School.
If you are looking for pre-k for your four-year-old, you can enroll them in MECK Pre-K, a FREE County-funded program taught by licensed teachers in high-quality four- and five-star childcare centers throughout Mecklenburg County. Simply reach out by phone (704-943-9585) or email (info@MeckPreK.org), or visit our website at www.meckprek.org to learn more.
- Encourage Play - Play is often looked upon as the opposite of learning, but according to research, we know that children learn through play. By actively playing, children develop their cognitive skills, gross motor skills, extend their vocabulary, build their social emotional skills and early literacy skills.
- Practice Active Reading - While you are reading a story, ask your child questions to encourage connections. Point to the pictures to show your child that the pictures relate to the words.
- Build Self-Help Skills - Helping your child build their self-help skills is often a struggle for parents because it takes extra time. Allowing the opportunity to practice things like independently using the bathroom, zipping up jackets, and putting on shoes will allow for your son or daughter to master these skills.
- Practice Sharing and Cleaning Up - One of the most common things children struggle with is taking turns and cleaning up after an activity, an important aspect of the social emotional development of a preschooler.
- Get Crafty - One way to help with fine motor skills and muscle development is cutting with scissors and using smaller crayons. These skills will help later when your child needs to hold a pencil properly for writing.
- Encourage Questions - Encouraging your child to ask for help if they need it is a skill that will allow your child to have less anxiety when they enter their pre-k classroom. They will feel confident that they will succeed with the help of their teacher or peers.
- Talk it Through - Taking time to discuss pre-k and allowing the children opportunities at home to build skills will help your child with their transition into pre-k.
If you don’t have a four-year-old, but know someone who does, please tell them about MECK Pre-K. They can find a list of locations, plus eligibility information, at https://meckprek.org.
We wish you all a great back-to-school experience!