Parents living in the Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, and Libertyville area have plenty of choices when it comes to their child’s care during the daytime hours. There are babysitters, there are daycare centers, and there are preschools and pre-K programs everywhere. If you have decided to enroll your child in a pre-K program at East Lake Academy, Chicago’s premier Catholic private elementary school, here are some tips for helping him or her prepare for the transition.
“Pretend” Preschool Play
One of the best ways to help your child acclimate to the idea of going to pre-K is to engage in pretend play with them. Pretend you are the teacher and your child is the student, and do your best to make the experience somewhat realistic, but also playful at the same time. This way, when it’s time for your child to go to school on his or her first day, the setting seems at least somewhat familiar. If you can involve other parents, or even if you can invite your little one’s friends to play along, this is even better.
Read about Going to School
Small children love picture and storybooks, so you could use these to your advantage, as well. Go to your local public library and search for books about children and their first day of school. Often, authors do a great job of capturing the unfamiliarity and apprehension, and this will resonate with your child – especially if he or she is exhibiting anxiety about being separated during the day. In the end, the kids in the stories always have a great time, and this can give your child the motivation and desire to go to pre-K.
Because your child will not have an adult to himself or herself at preschool, it is vital that he or she is at least somewhat independent. When your child goes to school, he or she will be expected to sit quietly for short periods of time, to hang up his or her backpack and jacket on a hook, and to keep his or her space tidy. These are things you can practice at home, and you could even make a game out of it. For example, for each thing your child does independently throughout the day, give him or her a sticker on a chart. Once he or she receives a set number of stickers, provide a treat – an extra story at bedtime, 15 extra minutes playing educational video games, or something to this effect.
Visit the Preschool Together
Last, but most certainly not least, you can help your child prepare for pre-K by scheduling visits during the day. Most schools will allow you to bring your child to school before enrollment and spend some time in the classroom with the other children. This may occur during playtime sessions, which eases anxiety for your child and gives you an opportunity to talk to the pre-K teacher, as well.
If your child will be attending pre-K in the Libertyville, Lake Forest, or Lake Bluff community and you are interested in easing the transition for him or her, these tips are sure to do just that. Contact East Lake Academy for more information, to schedule your visit, or to learn more about the admissions process.