Providers Helping Children Prepare for School
There is no one quality or skill that children need to do well in school, but a combination of things contributes to their success. These include good health and physical well-being, social and emotional maturity, language skills, an ability to solve problems and think creatively, and general knowledge about the world. As a provider you can make sure that the children in your care receive the support and opportunities necessary to develop in each of these areas.
The following two charts contain : a list of qualities and behaviors typical of children in each age group ("What to Expect"); a list of things that help children grow and learn ("What They Need"); and a list of things that providers can use to reinforce children's learning ("Suggested Activities"). Each chart is age specific and can be used as a guide for program development.
|CHILDREN THREE TO FOUR YEARS
|What To Expect
||What They Need
- Start to play with other children, instead of next to them
- Are more likely to take turns and share
- Are friendly and giving
- Generally become more cooperative and enjoy new experiences
- Begin to understand that other people have feelings and rights
- Like to please and to conform
- Are great talkers, speak in sentences, and continue to add more words to their vocabularies
- Are more graceful physically than 2-year-olds and love to run, skip, jump with both feet, catch a ball, climb downstairs, and dance to music
- Are increasingly self-reliant and probably can dress without helpexcept for buttons and shoelaces
- May develop fears and have imaginary companions
- Like silly humor, riddles, and practical jokes
- Play with other children so they can learn to listen, take turns, and share
- Develop their blooming language abilities through books, games, songs, science, and art activities
- Develop more physical coordination--for example, by hopping on both feet
- Develop more self-help skills--for example, to dress and undress themselves
Children this age require opportunities to:
- draw with crayons
- work puzzles
- build things
- Chores such as:
- pickup toys
- put away books
- set up for snack
Chores can help children learn new words, how to listen and follow directions, how to count and how to sort. Chores can also help children improve their physical coordination and learn responsibility.
Introduce your preschoolers to art.
- Find an art activity that's at the right level for the children, then let them do it. Ask your preschoolers to talk about their pictures. Display their art prominently in the room.
CHILDREN FOUR TO FIVE YEARS
|What To Expect
||What They Need
- Are active and have lots of energy
- May be aggressive in their play
- Can show extremes from being loud and adventurous to acting shy and dependent
- Enjoy more group activities because they have longer attention spans
- Like making faces and being silly
- May form cliques with friends and can be bossy
- May change friendships quickly
- May brag and engage in name-calling during play
- May experiment with swear words and bathroom words
- Can be very imaginative and like to exaggerate
- Have better control in running, jumping, and hopping but tend to be clumsy
- Are great talkers and questioners
- Love to use words in rhymes, nonsense, and jokes.
See how reading and writing are useful (for example, by listening to stories and poems, dictating stories to adults, and by talking with other children and adults)
- Experiment and discover within limits
- Use blunt-tipped scissors, crayons, and put together simple jigsaw puzzles
- Practice outdoor play activities
- Develop their growing interest in academic things, such as science and mathematics, and activities that involve exploring and investigating
- Group items that are similar (for example, by size)
- Stretch their imaginations and curiosity
Teachers and other children will enjoy a youngster's company if they get along well with others.
- To find ways to solve conflicts with others
- To share and to care. Let the children take charge of providing food for a pet.
- Develop good social skills.
Talk a lot about numbers and use number concepts in daily routines with your preschoolers. For example:
Provide opportunities for the children to learn math. For example:
- Time (hours, days, months, years; older, younger; yesterday, today, tomorrow).
- Weight (ounces, pounds, grams; heavier, lighter; how to use scales).
- Where they live (addresses, telephone numbers).
- Blocks can teach children to classify objects by color and shape. Blocks can also help youngsters learn about depth, width, height, and length.
- Games that have scoring, such as throwing balls into a basket, require children to count.
- Books often have number themes or ideas.
Most 4-year-olds like to talk and they
enjoy dictating a story to you. Have the
child make a booklet of five or six pages.
On the outside cover, write the child's name.
Explain to them that this is going to be a book
Let the child decide what will go
on each page.
Write it down.
Examples: Other people in my family. My favorite toys.
My favorite books. My friends. My pet. My neighborhood. My home (or my bedroom). My own drawings.
Making this book will help the children develop their
Adapted from Helping Your Child Get Ready for School-What We Can Do To Help Our Children Learn by Nancy Paulu and Wilma P. Greene(1992) U.S. Department of Education. For information on this book contact the U.S. Government Printing Office Order Desk at 202/512-1800. The GPO stock number for this book is 065-000-00522-1.
Also accessible at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/parents.html