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What Your Child's Preschool Teacher Wants You to Know

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1. Many of us are also parents. We do understand, really. Being a parent is hard, hard work. You have our utmost respect and compassion for the job you're doing.

2. We've known a lot of children over the years. However, we have never met yours before, so we'd really love you to tell us as much about him as possible at the beginning of the school year. It will make things easier for him in the classroom, and save us all time and energy for when we need to problem solve together.

3. Label, label, label. Young children often do not recognise their own clothing, especially when new. And it will really help in Winter after recess, when the cubby area can look like the end of the Filene's Basement Bridal Sale. Silver laundry pens will work on dark clothing and boots. Mitten clips are everyone's friend. Waterproof mittens with velcro are a great invention, and will keep your child's hands warm and dry.

4. Your child needs to choose his own friends. They may not necessarily be your choice of playmates for whatever reason. But if you can respect his relationships and help guide him when issues arise it will help more in his social growth than your micromanaging his friendships. Show him how to be a caring friend, and he will have friends.

5. Keep the beautiful, expensive outfits from Grandma for visits with Grandma. Playclothes that can be exposed to paint, glue, mud, water, and the joy of a messy, exuberent day are what your child needs at school.

6. When separation issues arise, we give hugs to the Moms as well. We know it can be hard, but you're helping your child grow in his capabilities and self confidence. Saying a real, brief goodbye to your child and leaving when you say you are going to sends your child the message that you trust this place and these people, and he should as well. He will usually stop crying within 5 minutes of seeing you go, and a teacher will stay with him and help him become involved in an activity. You should feel free to call the office and the Director will let you know how your child is doing.

7. Children have a lot in common with jelly doughnuts. When there's pressure in some place, you never know where the stuff will come squirting out. Changes in household routine, a bad nights sleep, a new sitter, cranky morning, vacation, an overheard phone call--anything can cause changes in your child's behavior at school or at home. We hope you feel able to share what's going on with your child's life with us so we can help your child.

8. Your child will learn to count from counting blocks in his tower; one-to-one correspondence when setting the table at snack; mature pencil grip from strenghtening hands with playdough, scissors and drawing; letters from seeing his name on his cubby, on charts, magnet letters, and classroom books; cause and effect from the water table; coordination for soccer from the playground, writing from painting and drawing. Before he can recognise and use letters and numbers, he has to see, touch, organise his play, move, gather experiences and have opportunities to see connections and use concepts. Learning happens all throughout the day and is woven into the curriculum, often in ways not easily seen. The way your child learns is through his play, with all his senses.

9. Part of going to preschool is increasing independence and the joy in learning to manage one's own body, friendships, creativity, and learning. We give your child many different opportunities for exploration and also many opportunities to learn by making mistakes. Arguments with peers, spilled water, not getting what you want, fantastical conclusions, and bathroom accidents are all part of life, and by allowing your child to experience them, we're also allowing him to learn in his own manner and timeline.

10. Young children learn self control and self discipline slowly, in mini steps. When their adults give them consistent limits and let them experience logical consequences, they'll learn to control their actions, think about cause and effect, and become the people you want them to be.

11. You're only a child once. Let your child be a child. There's plenty of time to grow up.

Comments (5)

Donna:

A wonderful, beautifully written, thoughful post. It should be sent to every pre-school parent!

I really enjoyed this post! I may need to quote you on many of your points. Because I work in a K-6 school, so many faculty think we just "play" all day. I am constantly trying to educate them on how the children are learing through play. Too bad Kindergarten has moved away from this concept with NCLB. I have seen a real difference.

Kim:

So, I guess when they asked me what Sammi's like and I wrote, "If I told you, you wouldn't let her in the class," I shouldn't have been so glib? :)

Amy:

Well Kim, they certainly learned that her mother has a healthy sense of humor about the whole thing!

This is a brilliant post - I wished that more parents acted upon this information in a productive way!

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