If your little one ran off to join his or her classmates on the first day of preschool and never looked back, lucky you — that was easy!
But just about all kids — and their parents — run into a preschool problem or two at some point. Some problems turn up right from the get-go (those morning meltdowns at preschool drop-off), while others may only set in mid-term.
It’s not a large cause of concern if your child is having some difficulty adjusting to the classroom. You just need to help your child overcome the challenges and prepare him or her for preschool.
According to Lee Sue Lynn, our Academic Director for the Early Years Programme at TLL, the top three challenges children face at the preschool level are:
1. Being focused and disciplined
2. Understanding authority and taking instructions
3. Separation anxiety
Don’t worry, you aren’t tackling these problems alone! Often, your child’s teacher will suggest for you to work together as a team — with him or her taking the lead at school and you heading the home offensive – to help your child overcome these challenges.
For Parents: Helping Your child at home
To help your child learn to focus and build discipline in preparation for the classroom, introduce fixed pockets of time at home for “work”. Set small and achievable goals for those periods and reward positive behaviour.
When it comes to getting your child to understand authority and instructions in the classroom, you can explain the concept of school and classes to him or her using personal anecdotes. Share memories of your school experience so your child will not find the idea of a classroom foreign and acknowledge that it is something that everyone went through.
You can also reinforce good instruction-taking at home through positive reinforcement and praises when your child successfully completes tasks you have assigned him or her with. This could be as simple as getting your child to help make his or her own bed or clearing plates after mealtimes.
When dealing with separation anxiety, you must always remember to be very patient with your child. Contrary to popular belief, one of the best ways to help your child cope with separation is to walk away.
Here’s the trick: Always bid your child goodbye before “forcefully” walking away – don’t let your child feel like he or she is being abandoned. One example of how you can do this would be to say, “Bye, Marcus. Mummy will be back at 5pm to pick you up. Have fun in class!”, and then walk away.
This reassures your child that you will be back after class, and may help your child better deal with the initial anxiety of being alone.
Easing Your Child Into Classroom Settings At TLL
To help your child be more focused and disciplined in the classroom, teachers break lessons up into smaller segments so students are kept engaged. Kindergarten lessons at TLL are infused with games and songs to inject that fun element and keep lessons upbeat!
For your child to learn about authority and taking instructions, our teachers start off by helping your child break down the instructions given. Of course, step-by-step instructions are very important. For example, if a teacher would like to teach your child how to highlight text, the teacher would start off by holding your child's hand and completing the action together, verbally sharing at the same time that that is what it means to “highlight”.
When it comes to separation anxiety, our TLL teachers recognise the need to be very patient and, to some extent, motherly. Teachers are always encouraged to address students while kneeling so as to appear less intimidating. We also understand the importance of knowing how to gently pry your child away from you and work on distracting him or her with a video, game, fun activity, or even a toy.
How Can TLL Help Your Young One?
If you have any enquiries about our programmes, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 6733 8711 and we will be happy to assist you.