Preschool programs are designed to prepare children for the skills they will need when they begin kindergarten. When enrolling your child in preschool, you should take a close look at the curriculum to ensure the program will meet his or her needs. Keep the following guidelines in mind, as these five concepts are an integral part of a solid preschool program:
1. Reading, Language and Phonics
A child who has a leg up on basic reading skills is more likely to succeed when he or she begins school. A preschool curriculum should include reading, language and phonics. This should include more than learning the alphabet and recognizing one's ABC's.
- Reading Skills: This is an important part of any preschool reading program. As the teacher reads aloud to the preschool class, he or she may point to the words to demonstrate how the spoken words are connected to those in the book. Your child will also learn to connect pictures with words in the story.
- Language/Vocabulary Skills: Developing language skills often begins in preschool. Some preschool classrooms incorporate what may be referred to as a "word wall". This is a designated wall or whiteboard where new words are added everyday. Next to each word there may be an illustration depicting the meaning. This helps children grasp language skills more easily and broaden their vocabulary.
- Phonics Skills: Phonics games and activities help preschoolers with the pronunciation of letters and words. Classrooms often incorporate the use of audio and video during these activities. Children may listen to a recording over stereo headphones, or watch a video demonstrating how to pronounce certain words.
2. Numbers and Counting
Learning the concept of numbers by adding and subtracting is another important aspect of a good preschool program. Classrooms do this with the use of flashcards or by incorporating fun games, such as number bingo.
Number matching games are another fun activity that helps kids count. In this game, numbers are written on Popsicle sticks. Another set of sticks will contain various shapes and colors in the corresponding amount. For example, the child will match the stick numbered "3" to the stick with the same number of colored designs, such as three stars or three circles.
3. Creative Arts
Drawing and painting activities will help preschool-aged children develop their creativity and self-expression. Creative arts also helps build self-esteem as he or she creates a new "masterpiece" to display in the classroom or bring home to Mom. These activities may also help your child focus and develop a greater attention span. Art projects may involve paint, crayons, paste, clay, as well as the use of boxes, buttons and beads.
4. Dramatic Role-Playing
Dramatic play or role-playing activities should be encouraged and part of a well-balanced preschool curriculum. Role-playing activities may help the young with problem solving, as he or she sees the situation from another person's view and a different perspective. It also helps children understand the role of adults. Games may allow children to play "dress up" in the role of a particular occupation, such as doctor or fireman.
The use of hand puppets may demonstrate a scene, such a child preparing for a hospital stay or going away on a trip. This play acting may help a child feel more at ease about an upcoming event affecting him or her. Being involved in the process of creating a classroom play also helps children with decision making.
5. Socialization Skills
This is one aspect of a preschool program that should be well emphasized. This learning should include tools for providing socialization development. The right tools may help a child develop strong ties with other children and with adults. These tools may include a reward system, such as a badge or crown for good behavior, and for sharing and playing cooperatively.
Socialization learning will teach children how to communicate with others and talk in turn. It's also intended to bring a shy child out of their shell. In addition, developing social skills will help children resolve conflict, at home or in the classroom. This may be taught through discussion in class or through the above mentioned play acting.
If you'd like to learn more about your preschooler's classroom curriculum, schedule a visit with the teacher. You might even drop in on a classroom session or go to websites run by the school to further learn more about the curriculum for the school.