Published On: Wed, Jan 28th, 2015

What Your Child’s Preschool Teacher Wants You To Know

Danielle Mantakoul

What Your Child's Preschool TeacherAs children start their new preschool or childcare centre experience, mums everywhere are starting to exhale from the new unfamiliar experience. Danielle Mantakoul, Early Childhood teacher and lecturer has some advice on what your child’s preschool teacher wants you to know to help with a smooth transition.

More than likely your child has attended orientation. Even if they were extremely happy to leave your side during this time, this of course is not an indicator of how they will react on you leaving in their early days. Some children are most happy the first day or two then start to become upset of a morning. Teachers are happy for you to try to engage your child in an activity but will expect that once done you consider leaving to grab the happy goodbye moment. Most 4 year olds have said goodbye to their morning tears if any by term two. For the 3 year olds this of course can take considerably longer. Most children who are teary are going to cry be you stay another 5 minutes or 35 minutes. If you need help out the door, teachers are there to give hugs and engage your child.

  • Giving your child something of yours for their pocket or bag such as a photo or bangle, can be most welcomed in those sad missing mummy moments.
  • Ensure your child’s lunch items are easy for them to open. Children in the preschool years are leading up to school, so working on being able to independently organise their lunch is a great goal and one you can help with by ensuring easy to open packaging, containers and drink bottles.
  • A lunchbox isn’t a lunchbox and there are a million to choose from. To help you make a good decision on how to decide on which one is best, I have written an article on what you need to consider when purchasing. Lunchbox purchase, get it right.
  • While that bit of paper in your child’s bag may look like scrap, they thought it was important enough to put it in there, so please don’t be so quick to throw it out. Have some sort of folder at home to place drawings, paintings, cuttings and any other artwork that may come home from preschool. Showing your child respect for their work in turn teaches them respect for others. PS. We understand you can’t keep everything, but be discrete.
  • If your child is doing news, teachers want to see “interesting” items. Items that will get us learning something such as a photo, postcard, book, or shell. Toys don’t make for great news.
  • Just because they don’t come home with a painting or picture, does not mean they did nothing all day. A common response from children when asked what they did that day is “nothing”. You need to make it a little easier for your child. Centres tend to communicate to parents via a computer or written sheet on what the children did that day. This can help you to prompt your child to talk. “Oh I hear you had a story about a bear today. What happened in the story”?
  • While most parents remember to pack an extra set of clothes, the jumper is easily forgotten. The weather can change quickly, and while centres have spare clothes, kids always prefer to wear their own.
  • Do not send your child in “good” clothes unless you are happy for them to get dirty or even ruined. No teacher wants to keep your child out of the sandpit for a nice dress.
  • Choose a hat that won’t easily fall off. Staff communicate to children how important it is to wear a hat and will ask them to keep it on, so ensure it’s comfortable and secure. No teacher wants to hound kids about putting their hats back on and on and on.
  • Name label… everything.
  • Crocs and other similar style shoes can easily halt children when they run on Softfall, a material used in many centre playgrounds. Also avoid thongs and slip ons, you want secure shoes that are not too tricky to put on or take off, again, it’s about encouraging the independence.
  • Do not lose sleep. If something is bothering you, please voice this to the teacher. While we might be good at reading the minds of children, yours is much more difficult.
  • While teachers can’t talk about other children with you out of privacy, they can talk about your child and are happy to. Did you know that you can ask your teacher for a sit down meeting even if the centre does not offer them? A good centre will be happy to arrange a time.
  • You have every right to call the centre and ask about your child. You can save yourself a lot of pain sitting at home worrying when there is a good chance they have settled and are playing. A good service will be more than happy for you to call… even more than once.

Are you a preschool teacher or experienced preschool mummy? If you have any great tips or tricks on making those early days more settled and enjoyable we’d love to hear from you.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2014

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