Adapted from Alexandra Louis
During the preschool and kindergarten years, cognitive development is accelerated through play. Play encourages all the important areas of development. It includes social, emotional, physical, communication/language and cognitive development. This refers to learning to question, problem-solve, learn about spatial relationships. In addition, they acquire knowledge
through imitation, memory, number sense, classification, and symbolic play
When a child asks ‘why?’ in order to determine causes. A child asks questions to solve problems and clarify their understanding.
Exploring the spatial and physical aspects of their environment. For example, a child places a toy into a container, dumps it out and then fills up the container again with the toy.
When children experiment, investigate, and work together with other children to problem solve. For example, when children ask questions to understand what will happen next.
When children imitate the behaviors of those around them (e.g. other children, educators and parents). For example, when a child sticks out their tongue, imitating another child who has done the same.
Beginning to differentiate between objects and people, and learn their daily routines. For example, when a child puts away their toy bin back in the same place it was on the shelf before.
A child’s understanding of number concepts (e.g. more and less) and number relationships. They begin to understand quantities, recognize relationships and understand the order of numbers. For example, singing along to ‘Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed’.
A child’s ability to categorize, sort, group, and connect objects. For example, sorting different colored pom-poms into the same colored boxes.
During play, children use objects, ideas, and actions to stand for other things. For example, holding a toy phone up to their ear or rocking a baby back and forth.
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A version of this article is in Today’s Parent, April 2016
Setting up household chores for your family is an important part of teaching children how to care for the space they live in. However, preschool children seem to not hear when it’s “clean up time” and yet your 8 year old daughter is a great little assistant at home. It might be surprising and frustrating but lets face it kids (and adults for that matter) have their personal strengths and weakness.
The key to decreased a parents frustration is knowing reasonable preschool responsibilities and being sure to channel the perceived weakness. Channeling a weakness will become a strength; it doesn’t happen over night – but with persistence you will see this success within your preschool children.
Parenting expert Andrea Nair from London, Ontario reaction to the actions of your preschool child is “This is the age they realize they have choices,” she says. “Before, we sang ‘Let’s tidy up,’ and they did what they were told. Now, they have independent thoughts—and they are being asked to do something that isn’t enjoyable. It’s a tough sell.”
Richard Rende, co-author of Raising Can-Do Kids, says when kids hear parents say that chores are lousy jobs to dread; this dread will naturally trickles down to the children. Rende says, “Kids don’t inherently ‘know’ chores are ‘crummy.’ Kids actually like doing the chores…because kids are hands-on learners. They are natural helpers at an early age.”
Most experts say chore charts don’t work because preschool children might complete the task to get a sticker, but if they are always looking for a reward, problems set in. Instead of the sticker chart; parents need to show their preschool children how GREAT the accomplishment is for a job well done or for a clean space.
Substitute the sticker system with statements like, when-then or after-then phrases. For example; a parent should say to the preschool child, “When your Lego is put away, then we can have a snack.” Or, “After you clean up your room, then we can go to the park.” To motivate your preschool children; along with these statement put on music, and play a “clean up game” like, “throw all the toys in that bucket before the song ends!’”
Setting the table, putting away their toys and their dirty clothes into a hamper, water plants, shovel snow and do basic cleaning. Preschool children will be more successful by creating what is
called an “away spot” throughout your home for all reasonable household chores for your preschool children. Examples of “away spots” are having clothing racks and hooks low enough so that your preschool children can hang up their own clothes. Put a tiny broom and dustbin under the sink, they will love to help sweep up spilled cereal! Some shelves on your bookcases should be arranged low; be sure to place bins and baskets inside the shelves; the more colorful the better! Setting up “away spots” for your preschool child will set her up for success and you might find yourself tossing the sticker chart into the garbage; or your preschool children will!
An important point to helping your preschool children help with the chores around the house is by accepting the way they did their job. Be sure not to redo their clean up the way you want it to be. Parents should try very hard to not do or redo the household chores of preschool children. If this is done, the preschooler might begin to feel that they are incapable and/or they simply won’t do the chore knowing that his parent will do it.
It’s always easier to do it yourself as opposed to teaching your preschool children to do reasonable chores. But remember that your preschooler WANTS to help and more; you are setting your preschool children up for success in all ways as they grow to adulthood.
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Children are our mirrors - they demonstrate the behaviors they see, which is why its up to us to demonstrate gratefulness.
TIPS TO MAKE THE FIRST DAYS OF PRESCHOOL AND THE DAYS AND WEEKS AHEAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE AND FOR YOU
Get everyone up at a reasonable hour so that you won’t have to hurry your child through breakfast or risk being late. After all, no one likes to race through the school morning routine – especially on the first days.
This way, your little one can slowly settle in before the real action starts. He’ll also get more face time with the teacher – which will be tougher to do once all the other kids are there.
If the preschool allows it, let your child bring along her favorite stuffed animal (or blanket, or whatever object does the trick) so the new setting doesn’t feel so scary. Before long, your child will feel comfortable, allowing her teacher to put the comfort object to the side.
Anxiety may be eating you up inside, but don’t let your child see it because nerves are highly contagious. When your child sees that you’re upbeat and you look confident – the transition from home to preschool will be smooth and he will feel upbeat and excited too.
Many preschools let (or even encourage) parents to stay in the classroom for all or part of the first few days. If this is allowed, try to stay a bit – keeping a distance away from your child allowing her to explore her new surroundings. Your goal is to let the teacher take over so you can get on with your day.
When it’s time for you to make an exit, hold back your tears a little longer (smile!) give your new preschooler a hug, and let him know when you’ll be back (“I’ll pick you up after lunch” or whenever you plan on picking her up). Then leave and don’t linger because he can’t get on with his day until you do. Finally, no matter how tempting, never sneak out when your preschooler is looking the other way as it will make him feel insecure and less trusting.
Just remember, it’s common for kids to have a difficult time separating, however, chances are she’ll be fine five minutes after you walk out the door. If it’s taking a while for your little one to adjust, don’t panic – our preschool teachers and their assistants have seen it all and they know just what to do, so ask his teacher for help. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at pickup seeing your child very happy and busy!
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