This article is sponsored by Christ the Savior Academy.
Dear Prospective Preschool Parents,
I remember the feelings you are probably having right now. You see, I am not just a preschool teacher, I, too, am a parent. My children were my most precious gifts who I was entrusting to another person for a large chunk of the day. Like you, I wanted to do all the right things to make sure my children would absolutely thrive in preschool and beyond.
As a preschool teacher for the last seventeen years, I have seen a lot of changes. When I first started teaching, parents would often apologize that their children didn’t already know their alphabet or numbers or couldn’t write their name. My message to them was always this: That is MY job. That’s why your child is going to preschool. By the time your child finishes preschool, she will recognize her upper and lower case letters by sight, randomly, and be able to write the letters. She will know her numbers to ten, randomly. She will also know her colors and shapes. The most important thing to remember is that education is a journey, and your child will get there. As his preschool teacher, I will make SURE of that.
Can I be frank?
In the last five years, I have noticed children come to me already knowing large portions of their alphabet and many impressive things academically, yet, their life skills are lacking. Children have become these amazing little academic machines, and yet many are completely dependent on adults to do even the most basic tasks. Perhaps we have begun as parents to focus on academics so much that we have forgotten to teach our children how to become self-sufficient – how to flush the toilet, wipe themselves and wash their hands. I get it. When I was a parent of small children, it was so much easier to do those things for my children than to teach them how to do it themselves.
Help your child get a jump-start on preschool by teaching them independence. An independent child is ready and eager to learn. Here’s a list of 10 skills to conquer before entering preschool.
- Make sure they know how to properly wash their hands. (This has gotten better since COVID.) Remember, water, soap and rub until they sing the alphabet song twice.
- Make sure they know how to flush the toilet. Children don’t flush anymore! Teach your child not to be afraid of the noise – practice even on loud toilets.
- Make sure they can wipe themselves. Children have told me that their parents don’t let them wipe themselves. It’s true: children may not be as thorough as you would be. Offer to inspect after they wipe themselves.
- Teach them to tie their shoes. This is a tough skill to learn, and they may not master it by the time they enter preschool. That’s okay, but the next time they ask you to tie their shoe – narrate how you tie a shoe as you do it. Children learn by mimicking you!
- Practice eating lunch in 20 minutes. Children are often surprised when they enter school that they have to stay focused on eating (and not just talking to friends) at lunchtime.
- Practice opening lunch containers, packages and inputting straws into juice boxes.
- Teach them to buckle and unbuckle their belts.
- Teach them how to put on their coats and zip them.
- Teach them how to pull their pants up and down and button them.
- Teach them to drink out of a cup. Students are so used to drinking out of sippy cups or water bottles, they don’t know how to drink from a regular cup anymore.
Children are remarkably capable! They can learn all of these skills. Rest assured, I promise you this: Your child will be loved wholeheartedly by me, kept safe and exit my class loving school. I know that I cannot take your place – nor would I ever try – but I want you to know that when your child steps into my preschool class, you and I will be on the same team, striving to help your child grow and thrive – mind, body and soul.
Mrs. Laura Bair is the preschool teacher at Christ the Savior Academy, and has more than 20 years of teaching experience, 17 years in the junior kindergarten classroom. “I’m pretty sure I have the best job in the whole world,” Mrs. Bair says. By the time her students graduate from preschool, her goal is that they have a life-long love of learning. Ms. Bair’s own children are 30, 28 and 24. She has one grandson who is 4.
Christ the Savior Academy, located near 13th and Rock Road in Wichita, is a classical, Christian School, with classes from Junior Kindergarten (age 4) to 7th grade. The curriculum combines the wisdom of the Church and the best of secular culture to teach students to read well, write well and think well. It is a time-tested model used throughout Ancient Greek, Roman and Medieval times. Oxford, Eton and Cambridge have used the classical method to produce leaders for centuries.