Preschooler Early Learning

Children need lots of experiences before kindergarten if they are to grow and develop into strong students. Be sure to give them plenty of time to play with simple tools like crayons, measuring cups and puzzles in a supervised setting. Encourage them to explore and develop their reading, writing, social and thinking skills.

CRAYONS & MARKERS

Your preschooler needs lots of opportunity to practice drawing and writing. Let him discover strokes on his own. By the end of the preschool years, your child will begin asking you about letters and how to spell a name. The more he sees letters in the environment, the more he will become interested in them.

  • Frame the child's work with a paper "frame" to encourage pride in accomplishment.
  • See if he can imitate a circle, +, triangle, square. Stop if your child has difficulty with a particular shape.
  • Ask your child what color he is using to write or draw.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Preschoolers like to think of new ways to do things, i.e., move to the music, or play an instrument a different way. Make some new instruments together and get the whole family involved in thinking of ideas for using household items to make sound. Music is an excellent way to get your child learning and growing.

  • Encourage your child's creativity by allowing her freedom to use her own ideas to decorate instruments.
  • See if your child can repeat simple rhythm patterns.
  • Encourage your child to make up her own songs and think of new movements. Sing and dance along with her...letting her lead the way.

WATER PLAY

Water can provide hours of fun for children - whether in the bathtub, the kitchen sink, a dishpan or a wading pool. Water also provides lots of opportunity for children to learn new words and concepts. Provide unbreakable items that can be used to pour or measure as well as ones that will sink or float. Plastic cups, funnels, basters, bottles and eye droppers are good choices in addition to bath toys. Be sure to supervise closely!

  • Ask your child to put all the floating items together and all the sinking items together.
  • Let your child practice pouring water from one container into another. Ask which container is full and which one is empty. Which one is heavier?
  • Let your child "paint" with water on a safe surface like a chalkboard or your driveway. Talk about what happens as the water dries up.

STACKING

See how inventive your young engineer can be - let her find household articles that are stackable. Encourage her to think of new and different things, i.e., some boxes on a laundry basket, measuring cups, cans of food, etc.

  • Encourage your older preschooler to help you build a tower and let a younger sibling knock it over. Praise her efforts as a great big sister!
  • Ask questions like "Which one is biggest? Which one is smallest?" Encourage your child to answer with words.
  • Use the words tall, taller, tallest as your child stacks cups or blocks and the words first, middle, last.

TRIP TO THE LIBRARY

It is important that your child experience your enthusiasm for books as he's growing up. Watching you read will encourage him to be interested too. As you continue to read to your child daily, check in to see if he can guess what is going to happen before you turn the page.

  • Help your child find a special place to keep books at home. Even though he's become more able to hold and "read" books, be sure to continue reading to him. Hold him close as you read together.
  • Preschoolers are ready for books with simple text and brightly colored illustrations. The range of themes is wide, but should be concrete and easily relate to your child's life experiences.
  • Encourage your child to follow a two-part command - "Get a book and sit down." This practice will prepare him for Kindergarten by helping him learn expected classroom behavior.