It's happened -- your child is officially a preschooler. It's time to start thinking about what skills he needs as prerequisites to launch his academic career. While he's mastered finger-painting, you worry that there's more to sizing up his readiness for a more structured learning environment. Relax -- chances are he already does many of the things a teacher will look for during a preschool assessment. Teachers use assessments to guide activities in the classroom based on the developmental skills of each child. Go ahead and exhale -- your preschooler will be supported in his development without being ranked or compared to others.
1. Beginning Skills
It may be hard to get excited over the 20th circle your preschooler points out, or to remain impressed while every blue item within her reach is presented to you. Daily tasks can take much longer when your preschooler wishes to count every piece of cereal in her bowl at breakfast or every toy in her toy box. Take heart -- she is practicing her shapes, colors and counting, all basic concepts assessed by preschool teachers.
2. Physical Skills
Preschoolers often seem to have boundless energy. It may feel like every few moments you are shooing him away from climbing on or jumping off of something! It turns out that those daredevil movements are an important part of his development. Teachers assess preschool children for the ability to run, jump, kick and roll. Though it may take a little more time, allowing your preschooler to do many physical things himself supports his positive growth.
3. Social-emotional Development
It is likely that your preschooler has no problem expressing her feelings with a hearty “no!” Perhaps she can even tell you when she is happy, sad, scared, hungry or tired. Her uncanny ability to find every item you try to hide or put out of her reach may be frustrating, but it shows her ability to problem-solve. Believe it or not, these examples of social-emotional development are often included in typical preschool assessments.
4. Later Skills
On the days when you have heard one refrain of his favorite song over and over, it may be difficult to think positively about his singing abilities. Keep in mind that songs and nursery rhymes help your preschooler learn about rhyming and putting events in order. Teachers look for these two skills during assessments. The Itsy-bitsy Spider had to go up the waterspout before he could get washed out. Jack and Jill could not fall down the hill if they didn't first go up!