Special Report on Preschool Families
by Deborah Farmer Kris, Ph.D.
You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “Every child is different”, but is it true?
Children show evidence of many differences by age 1, but the social, emotional, and physical differences are not evident until the age of 3. Your preschoolers are making life and social changes all the time!
We start preschool for four key reasons:
Helping children learn to interact with other children
Developing respect and other people’s feelings
Developing developmentally appropriate behaviors
Approaching and interacting with our environment
Preschool is as much about socialization as reading, math, science, and art. Children can explore the world through interactive activities, open-ended activities, and role-play. They are practicing interpreting our social and emotional messages. They learn the meanings and needs of others as their world expands around them. Preschoolers are also learning about behaviors.
Preschool is really about developing the next generation of American parents. Fathers are the primary care givers for many preschoolers and it is really important for them to learn what it means to be a stepfather. Father’s get involved in their children’s lives and go to preschool as well. It also gives older children a chance to practice their parenting skills. Today’s preschoolers can easily imagine what it would be like to have a family and view their family from the outside, knowing what to expect, and see how it can work, or not work. Parents help us get an appreciation of what the “golden years” are all about!
Preschool helping families is so important because many children come to preschool without the knowledge about the importance of responsible behavior. Preschool teachers raise awareness and provide clear expectations of behavior in their classrooms to prepare children for school. You can help your kids become excellent preschoolers by encouraging them to be kind and be active. Good preschoolers learn to help each other to do things like share, take turns, cooperate, and behave well.
More and more preschool providers are providing “family experiences” to promote values of citizenship, self-esteem, tolerance, and respect. These are some examples of families that my practice works with:
Preschool family members can go to parks to practice park rules together.
Preemies (born on or very close to their due date) are bundled with their siblings, to sit in car seats or to have them physically at their side. To facilitate interaction, preschoolers learn manners through shared stories and role-play. Parents also bring their own cameras so they can document interactions.
We encourage the development of everyday friendships through conversation and games like beanbag, game, and snow ball tossing.
Preschool should provide you with plenty of chances to step up and join. That is why your child goes to preschool! If you are not going, you are missing out! Don’t miss your chance to learn how to be a responsible adult in your child’s life! The preschool you chose offers programs for your family and their habits are likely to bring you and your family together and expand you social circle.