First Day at Preschool

Preschool is a great place where your child can interact with children of similar ages and learn valuable skills such as how to follow rules, share and take turns. Starting preschool can also set your child up for future education. By familiarising children with routine, curriculums and independence from parents early on, children will quickly take to their next schools as they get older. 

However, starting preschool does come with mixed emotions for both the child and the parent. For children, a new environment and unfamiliar faces can be the cause of anxiety and excitement. For parents, the emotions can cause you to question whether your child is ready to go to preschool. 

To ensure both your child and yourselves are ready for starting preschool, the team at The London Preschool have put some tips together to help you prepare.

What age do children start preschool?

Children start preschool between the ages of two and three. At this age, children learn by playing, which is why preschool is so influential to children in these early stages. If your child’s only experience of learning is in a purely academic setting, they may find it difficult to find it interesting and end up disengaged at primary school.

Preschool gives children the opportunity to experiment with their favourite ways of learning, which in turn will help them to associate learning with fun.

Visit the preschool with your child

Visiting the preschool with your child before your child starts gives you both the opportunity to see the classroom, meet the teacher and make new friends!

Familiarisation visits are perfect for young children as it allows them to get used to the surroundings with you, before they’re left for several hours at a time. When you visit, let your child explore the toys in the classroom and take the new environment in. Whilst they acquaint themselves with their new classroom, ask their teacher about their usual day-to-day routines and any other questions that might help you to decompress. 

If there are any activities you can adopt at home before they start preschool, you should introduce a couple to your child before starting preschool. Giving your child the opportunity to draw and colour at home will provide them with comfort when they come to do the same activity in a different setting.

Pack a transitional object

Transitional objects are those soft cuddly toys or blankets that offer children comfort and security. When your child is crying, to help soothe them, we often present them with their favourite toy if they don’t have it already to help ease their stress.

By packing their transitional object ready for starting preschool, they can turn to it whenever they face separation anxiety. By having their transitional object there, they can rely on this when you’re not there which will help to build their confidence and independence. Soon enough, this transition object will sit in their bag whilst they play with other children and learn about the world around them.

Preschool preparation

There are lots of things you can do in preparation for your child’s first day at preschool, and whilst it can be exciting implementing routines and introducing new activities, remember to keep it all low-key in an effort to not overwhelm your child. Making too much of a big deal about starting preschool can turn excitement into anxiety. 

Use pretend play to prepare for the first day at preschool. This may involve acting out daily routines like saying goodbye to you, which is where you might want to come up with your own goodbye or secret handshake. Taking off coats and bags, reading stories, colouring in and playing outside.

Ask your child how they feel about starting preschool

Let your child’s worries be heard, no matter how big or small they are, it’s normal for children to feel anxious about starting preschool. Let your child know that it’s OK to feel excited, scared, happy and sad and that adults can experience these feelings too when it comes to doing something new. 

You may wish to share a time when you tried something new and felt a mix of emotions. Share with them what you did to overcome these feelings. 

Now go back to your child’s feelings and think of something that they can do to help them deal with their worries. It might be that they’re worried about missing you whilst at preschool, if this is the case, give them a picture of the family to take with them, so that they can look at it should they feel separation anxiety.

Keep goodbyes short

On your child’s first day of preschool, stay strong and positive. Children pick up on non-verbal communication, so dry those eyes and don’t be tempted to pop back into the classroom after you’ve said your special goodbye. Even if you hear your child cry after you have left, try your best not to turn back, otherwise, your child will start to think that they will only be OK if you are with them. It may seem hard at first but growing independence takes time and it is well worth the patience. Between two and four weeks, your child is likely to be very comfortable and content at preschool, so persist and reap the benefits.

Connect with The London Preschool

At The London Preschool, we understand that the first day is the hardest but we do all we can to make sure that your child’s experience is the best it can be. With a dedicated team of qualified professionals, we can tailor our approach to each individual child to ensure maximum comfort and happiness whilst they develop their skills and knowledge with us. 

From arts and crafts to science and discovery, The London Preschool offers excellent activities that will build on your child’s understanding of the world around them. 

If you’re looking to set your child up for the best start in their education, contact our team today. You can take a virtual tour of The London Preschool as well as visit in person, call to make your appointment – we’re always more than happy to help.

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