Think about the developmental and social skills that you child has mastered and whether they are a good match with preschool. For example, how well does your child listen to and obey instructions? how frequently does your child play with other kids? is your child able to draw with a crayon or pencil? is your child toilet trained? how well does your child usually behave when being watched by others? can your child stay active for four hours without napping?
Separation anxiety comes from insecure attachment of the child. Practice short separation with your child at home in stages: leaving the room for 5 mins with, leaving the room for 15 mins, leaving the room for 30 mins, leave the house for 5 mins, leaving the house for 15 mins, leaving the house for 30 mins, etc.
Teach self soothing skills to the child for managing their distress: deep breathing, carrying a good luck charm or toy, sing a “Courage” song/jingle, learn to tell time, etc.
Bring the child to visit the preschool a few times and talk positively about how he/she is going to enjoy it and the activities that he/she can do. Introduce the child to the teachers and classroom.
2) When selecting a childcare centre, I want to be sure that the environment is suitable for my child and that the staff are nurturing and attentive. How do I go about assessing this? What should I look out for? e.g.: friendly, open teachers or caregivers, stimulating classrooms, etc. What would be an emotionally healthy environment?
Go for the visit to the school to have an understanding of the school environment. Ask questions like
- What’s the daily routine? You want your child to have a sense of predictability each day -- circle time, snack, reading, play, etc
- What’s the teaching approach? Go for multisensorial and varied programme to help your child’s development
- Who are the teachers and caregivers? Meet and speak to some of them to know what their personality is like
- How will the school let me know about my child's progress? Parents should be kept informed with newsletters, e-mails, and regular parent-teacher meeting
- What do you do when children are fighting or misbehaving? It's crucial that you agree with the school's discipline policy
- What is other parents’ experience in the school? You might want to talk to other parents.
3) How can being in preschool with other kids help my child socially and emotionally? (in terms of encouraging him to interact and socialize, overcome shyness, etc).
At preschool, children learn how to socialize -- get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time, how to compromise, be respectful of others, and problem-solve. It provides a place where your child can gain a sense of self, explore, play with his/her peers, and build confidence. They discover that they are capable and can do things for themselves -- from small tasks like pouring their own juice, going to bathroom, and helping set snack tables to tackling bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time and who to befriend with.