Promoting School Readiness at the Early Learning Service
School readiness and getting children prepared for that next step in their life should be a major part of the early learning centre curriculum.
If you’re thinking about options to make the transition from daycare to school smoother, there are multiple activities and programs you can adopt within the daycare environment. Observing children to base activities on their natural interests and inclinations is one of the best approaches, bound to deliver excellent results.
A Structured Curriculum
While the childcare environment provides a lot of flexibility in terms of how you’re going to structure the day, a bit of planning and predictability can go a long way. These will definitely help children transition to the much more rigidly structured school environment.
A good curriculum highlights important disciplines and learning opportunities that focus on math, cognitive abilities, critical thinking and the alphabet. It sets clear expectations in terms of performance and what the goal of each activity is.
What types of physical, social and creative activities will children engage in? Will there be some type of a classroom routine as a part of the learning experience? What will the roles within the classroom environment be? These are questions you may want to answer in order to make the program a bit more school-friendly.
Focus on Language Development, Thinking and Cognitive Skills
Children will feel much more comfortable when they have some knowledge of school disciplines and activities.
Incorporating games and activities that focus on language development, thinking and cognitive skills in the daycare curriculum can result in a much smoother transition to school due to the confidence children acquire while they learn.
Listening, talking and reading games based on favourite fairy tales can build vocabulary, language development and communication skills.
Giving the children problems they can solve as a group or individually helps with logical thinking and the development of cognitive skills.
Help them master the key steps of problem solving:
- Identifying the problem
- Coming up with several solutions
- Understanding the potential outcome when each of the solutions is introduced
- Pinpointing the one solution that’s best matched to the problem
Preschool children learn easily, if you give them everyday situations that they feel familiar with. Role-playing with puppets can be a lot of fun and also educational. You can, for example, have one puppet that doesn’t want to share toys with the others. Let children come up with a solution to the problem that will work well for everyone involved.
Introduce Children to New Experiences
In essence, school is a brand new experience. To help children adopt easily, introduce them to various new experiences at the daycare centre:
- Have a play planned and performed at the daycare centre
- Assign individual projects (for example – creating a poster on a certain topic)
- Practice writing with simple games
- Co-operate with the parents on planning a day trip (to a museum, for example)
- Introduce the raising of hands when kids are to answer questions
- Ask children to help with some of the daycare tasks (pouring beverages, setting a table, clearing things up after an activity is done)
- Introduce experiments that answer common child questions like “what would happen if”
- Teach math skills during play and snack time – ask kids to count the items on the table or group different items together and determine which group is biggest
The possibilities are numerous. What matters the most is creating a smooth, fun experience that introduces some academic elements!
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