Preschool readiness is more important than you think it is. For your child’s sake, please don’t take it for granted. First and foremost, a school is an institution for educating children, under a uniformly established routine and a common set of expectations for all children. Simply put , preschool readiness means your 3 year old NEEDS to be ready for preschool. Whether you or they want it or like it or not, they NEED to have a set of well established foundational skills for a comfortable transition into a learning environment. It’s your job as a parent, to set up your child for success in order for him/her to be an integral fit into a preschool setting. These basic skills make it easy not only for your child’s educator but more importantly for your child to expand their already well established abilities. Remember, it’s the parents role to create and build so that the teachers can expand and scaffold that very ongoing process of raising your little humans. Trust me… I am a parent, I am a teacher and I do both.
Honestly, without preschool readiness in your child, you as a parent, are unknowingly causing a huge delay in your child’s learning journey from preschool into kindergarten, which further transfers into first grade, second grade and so on. As a kindergarten teacher, I see children struggling to catch up on their learning milestones all the time. That is NOT the kind of academic and social pressure situation you want a 5 year old to learn and grow under. And as a preschool teacher, I have seen the struggles of children who are coping with the lack of preschool readiness skills. Including my own child.
What struggles one might ask? It’s hard to watch your child constantly struggle to follow simple instructions in daily activities. You don’t want to see your child get easily frustrated when sudden expectations are placed upon them. You are not going to like your child being desperately dependant on an already busy teacher, for his self care needs like dressing, day time toilet training, hand washing, eating, and so on. It hurts to see your child being socially immature and not knowing how to interact with their peers. With limited play skills, they might even find it difficult to play constructively – alone or even with peers. It is heart breaking to see your child struggling to understand or even answer simple questions asked (who, how, what, where) because they find it challenging to form simple sentences. It hits you even worse when your child responds to simple questions unclearly because somewhere you didn’t give him/her enough opportunities to develop that skill back home. With limited vocabulary, they become difficult to understand and work with. Further, it gets more challenging when they have a hard time understanding the consequences of their behaviours because you let them have their way each time back home. They don’t know how to hold or work with books or do any table activities because you didn’t introduce them to those kind of activities back home. Ultimately, they don’t want to engage in new activities or even learn about how to develop new skills because they have pretty much been their own teachers, designing their own lessons back home.
We as teachers, will always sugar coat these concerns when sharing it with parents like you, but to be brutal, that’s not helping your child at all. We sugar coat it because we do WANT to focus on the small successes and the positives in your child. But at the end of the day, even though it might not show on your child’s happy face everyday, your child NEEDS you to make it better for them. Think about it … with the difficulties listed above, how is your 3 year old going to succeed at attaining his/her preschool learning milestones?
Your child NEEDS you, their parent and their very first teacher, to make better (sometimes hard) choices early on itself, in order to avoid this delay in their learning journey later. So please do read between the lines when your child’s educator is sharing about your child’s performance at preschool and always think and ask about how can I make it better for MY child. They deserve a comfortable present and a successful future. And YOU AS THEIR PARENT owe it to them. I know I do!