Published On: Tue, Jul 21st, 2015

Why You Need to Stop Talking About School to Your Preschooler By Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

stop talking to the kids about schoolI was recently asked of a parent if it was normal for kids to worry so much about going to big school. Sure, kids worry about lots of things, but we do however play a big role here with how much our kids are worrying.

Straight away I was sure I knew why her child was worrying so much. Someone was talking to her little girl TOO much about school and needed to stop talking. On questioning this mum I discovered that it was her daughter’s older cousin who was sharing the colourful experiences, good and bad that school had to offer. For her daughter, this was not answering questions about school, but simply posing more and more questions, each more detailed than the last.

We all know there is such a thing as providing kids with too much information with many of us easily falling into the trap of giving unnecessary detail. For young children, this can easily lead to feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed as they try to make sense of too much too soon. The subject of starting school is a classic example here. A dear friend recently told me that her preschooler was recently told there would be no more Thursday Mummy and Me days when he started school next year. To him, this was devastating news. His reaction had all the traits of being told something he simply was not ready to hear, or even yet needed to.

Of course we need to talk about school with our kids, but the best time to start doing this is just before school orientation starts where they will be visiting their school. At this time we should start the trickling of information about school with a focus on answering questions rather than a lumping of information. Books are a great resource here, as kids get to see the experiences of other children at school through stories, where the emphasis is taken off them as up and coming schoolies and placed on the child in the story.

Many early childhood environments are making the same mistake with talk of school starting as soon as kids enter the preschool classroom.  A preschool room should be about preschool, not school, and while the term does mean school preparation, it is not solely about being school ready. We don’t talk about grade 4 solely being to prepare our kids for grade 5. We talk about grade 4 as grade 4. Perhaps we should be adopting a little of this for our preschool classrooms.  Preschool should not be about school, it should be about preschool.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2015
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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  1. Sparky says:

    I was speaking to my preschoolers teacher today asking her if my son had done any painting, because I’d really like him to choose to pick up a pencil or paintbrush instead of playing cars. I just want him to be more ready for school. She told me that yes he did today, but when she asks him if he would like to paint and he says no, she never forces him but lets him choose his activity. So right.

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