Preschool Readiness

ZERO TO THREE has some great suggestions about getting ready for preschool. Here are some highlights, follow the link for more details.

As you prepare for your child to being preschool, try to keep your efforts low-key. If you make too big a deal out of this milestone, your child may end up being more worried than excited. Here are some ways to focus on the fun.

  • Use pretend play to explore the idea of preschool: take turns being the parent, child and teacher. Act out common daily routines, such as saying good-bye to mommy and/or daddy, taking off your coat, singing songs, reading stories, having Circle Time, playing outside, and taking naps.
  • Read books about preschool: Choose several to share with your child over the summer before school starts. Talk about the story and how the characters are feeling. Ask how your child is feeling. Here is a list of nine “starting preschool” books to get the conversation started.
  • Make a game out of practicing self-help skills: For example, you might want to have a “race” with your child to see how quickly she can put on her shoes. When you play school together, you can give your child the chance to practice taking off her coat, zipping her backpack closed, and sitting “criss-cross applesauce.”
  • Play at your new preschool: Visit your child’s preschool together. These visits increase your child’s comfort with and confidence in this new setting.

During the two weeks before preschool starts:

  • Purchase a backpack together with your child. If possible, let your child choose it himself.
  • Label all items—backpack, jacket, shoes, blanket, teddy bear, etc.—with your child’s name and teacher’s name in permanent ink.
  • Contact the preschool’s health professional if your child has medication that he or she takes on a daily basis. 
  • Figure out how your child will get to school and how she will come home. Talk to your child about the morning and afternoon routine so that she understands that she will be safe, okay, and cared for. 
  • Start using your child’s “school bedtime.” Help your child get into a preschool schedule by keeping to his or her school bedtime, beginning about two weeks before school starts.

For more ideas, visit ZERO TO THREE.

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Help Me Grow Alabama

Help Me Grow Alabama is an affiliate of the Help Me Grow National Network and a program of the Alabama Partnership for Children.


Help Me Grow Alabama is funded by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education through the Preschool Development Grant and the Alabama Department of Human Resources.


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