Helping Your Four Year Old Excel in their Preschool Classroom
By Shayna Schroeder, Director of Curriculum, First School
There are certain things parents of four year olds can do at home and on errands that will help them easily grasp concepts introduced in their preschool classrooms.
When making projects at home, for example, ask how many bows they are adding, or when drawing a person, ask does the person have everything they should? Does the drawing have 2 eyes, nose, mouth, 2 ears, etc. Drawing a complete body with arms, legs, feet, hands and facial features is something they look for in Kindergarten.
When out and about driving, have your preschooler look out the window and look for letters. The letters could be on signs, storefronts, in the vehicle, etc. Have them tell you the letter. This is a great use of environmental print. When you are grocery shopping, have them listen to your instructions and have them help. “Could you go get a bunch of bananas, please?” Then work on adding more directions. You are working on following 2 to 3 step directions.
In my four year old preschool classroom, a typical curriculum might follow working on recognizing the first letter of classmates’ first names. Working on recognizing the letter mixed in with other letters, letter sounds, writing the letter and being able to find the
letter around the classroom are very age appropriate lessons. An example of this is when we read a book we talk about the letters in the title. We point out the different letters in the month and the days of the week. When we write words on the chalkboard we talk about the sound and the letter. We also work on lots of shapes including basic shapes and even pentagons and octagons. We have worked on numbers 1-10. By the end of the year I want the students to understand 1 – 20 concretely and to be able to count on from 20.
When at home and also when driving around, it should be easy to have your preschooler point out numbers and shapes and letters. This is a very fun and easy way to help them grasp these concepts and will set them up to be engaged, creative, life-long learners.
I don’t know what it is about the holidays but I get all giddy about traditions. My family has many traditions but one specifically that I love. It’s a tradition passed down from my in-laws. When my husband was born they bought him an ornament and then every year after that he would get an ornament to represent something from the year. We have little booties, a car, a briefcase, a Santa lifting weights and many more random things on our tree. When my son was born on December 1st , 14 years ago I knew we would start this tradition. Every year on Christmas Eve my kids get an ornament representing something special about their year and a pair of Christmas jammies. I have many, many pictures of my little loves with their ornaments and their Christmas jammies in front of my tree. We have world globes, Mickey and Minnie, musical instruments, a little potty, shoes, black belts and many more. I love my tree of randomness and it’s so fun to get them out each year and remember why we bought it.
What are some of your favorite family traditions?
This One is for the Mamas!
I watched a video this morning about a young man, 7th grade, who had been going through some deep struggles. He suffered the loss of someone very special to him when he was in 3rd grade; he was teased when he was in 4th grade for not being like the other boys who played sports, and a few other things. This all resulted in a downward spiral of emotion and physiological trouble. He made a pretty severe threat at his school which resulted in an arrest during his 5th grade year and time in Juvenile Detention. This all sounds very rough not only for the child but from a parent’s perspective as well. I don’t want you to focus on all the bad though…this young man said one thing that really stuck out to me. He said, “During this time, my mom would write me notes. When I was really down I would read one.”
Did you catch that? His MOM. She was his biggest cheerleader.
Mamas… I know there are days that are hard. Kids throwing a temper tantrum in a store, or upset because you didn’t make macaroni and cheese again for dinner, or fighting you on going to bed. Whatever the struggle or hardship that you are facing today or this week remember, you are your child’s biggest cheerleader. They need you rooting them on in the midst of their melt-down. They need you cheering for them when you really just want to pull your hair out.
The work you put into your children and family each day is important work and they know it. Even if they don’t yet, they will.