Every school has a different curriculum for preschool children but the goal remains the same – to prepare your child for kindergarten.
Studies have shown that brain development in the earliest years is extremely important. Children who attend preschool have a higher success rate, earn higher incomes, are more likely to graduate from college, have a lesser chance of becoming involved in crimes, and in general are happier people.
But a lingering question for parents may still be, “What should my child be learning prior to starting kindergarten?” Below is a list of the basic curriculum that your child is expected to be introduced to prior to kindergarten.
Social Skills – The most important things that children should learn in preschool are social skills such as how to be respectful to others, how to problem solve, how to wait in line, take turns and how to compromise. A child needs to learn how to function in a group setting as well as independently. Beyond this children will begin to learn to lengthen their attention span and how to function in a classroom. For example, sit still for 15 minutes.
Gross Motor Skills – Learning how to jump, roll, balance, throw and catch a ball are important for a child’s physical well-being. This is mostly done through playing outdoors while learning how the body reacts through movement.
Fine Motor Skills – Children learn to use crayons and pencils to draw lines and color within a given space. They may learn to manipulate play-doh in to objects of their imagination. Children may learn to string Cheerios on a string to make a necklace. These fine motor skills will begin to prepare your child for tasks such as writing or tying their shoe laces. Most schools expect your child to at least know how to write their names and tie their own shoe laces prior to kindergarten entrance.
Comprehension – Children learn to understand and follow instructions such as, “Place your shoes on the yellow mat,” or “Push the chair in when you stand up.”
Alphabets – The recognition of the alphabet, upper and lower case, is also expected. Just because a child knows how to sing their ABC’s, does not mean they know the alphabet. Children are taught each letter individually so that they will be able to recognize the alphabet even when it is not in sequence. They should be able to recognize ABC as well as KSX.
Mathematics – Children should learn to recognize numbers from 1-10 but many preschools are starting to trend towards teaching up to the number 20.
Social studies and science – Along the way, children will naturally pick up on the holidays and the weather. Some schools start to teach planets and the solar system as well as many other subjects.
Sometimes parents may think the list of academics may be too overwhelming for a child. It is important for parents to understand that the academics are not drilled or forced on to your child. A quality preschool will teach your child through play and day to day activities. The environment should not be a stressful one.
Interacting with their peers while having fun and in general being a child is very important in these formative years of a child’s life. Hopefully, in the process of creating a stimulating curriculum necessary to learn the academics required prior to entering kindergarten, your preschool will have nurtured your child to develop their sense of curiosity, self-confidence, and an eagerness to learn.