Even though your baby is just beginning to grow and develop communication, sometimes you can't help wondering what is going to happen when your baby goes to school.
Where will my child go to school? Will my child be able to keep up with other children? How can I get my child ready now for learning to read, write and do arithmetic?
Some early school skills are easy to teach. Your child may be saying or signing the alphabet, counting, even recognizing some words in print by age 3 or 4. However, letters and numbers are just beginning building blocks. All of your focus on
developing language skills and concepts is vitally important preparation for reading and school.
In order to really prepare your child for school, you want to continue to provide:
Language is your first priority. Through language experiences, your child will learn important concepts that lay a foundation for school learning.
Any daily activity can be a teaching moment and a
language experience. During these experiences, you can strategically introduce
descriptive concept words.
It is helpful to use
words about thoughts and feelings. "You are
don't know which shirt you want to wear; You are
worried about the dog – it's okay, he is gentle."
You can also use words to mark the passing of time. "Wait, now it's time to…,
Later we can…,
After your nap."
It is also helpful to "connect the dots" for your child. Use language that connects what happened with the cause. For example, "Oh it broke
because I dropped it; I
found my keys – that makes me happy!"
In any situation, think, "What does she/he seem to be noticing? How can I label the concept?"
Here are two examples of simple experience stories you can create by drawing or putting photos in a little story book.
"I get to wear a costume!"
"I will get my bag."
Knock on the doors!
I will say "trick or treat!"
"Thank you for the candy!"
This Thanksgiving example is a way to review new food words and prepare your little one for what will happen on this special family day. You might add photos of family members who will visit.
"It is Thanksgiving. We will have a special dinner. Uncle Ken will come!"
"We fixed a turkey. It smells so good!
"You love mashed potatoes! Yum!"
Experience is the basis for later school learning.
Awareness of interaction with print in the environment is vital. Your child will benefit from seeing you read. Not only books, but directions, signs, logos, recipes, labels, newspapers, magazines, closed captions (you can introduce this early in preschool), tablets, cell phones, and other text from the internet.
Communicate what you are doing overtly.