By TMoM Team Member Dennette Bailey
As a preschool teacher, I am blessed to teach and care for (in my opinion) the most fun aged children- the preschoolers. I have found this age group to be some of the most honest and live in the moment, group of people I have ever encountered. They will tell you your hair looks orange all while telling you that you are the best teacher ever.
For me, I find the occupation very rewarding because preschoolers keep me motivated to learn and increase my own education. They make me analyze my actions and teaching methods and give me hope for the future. In all my getting, I am also aspiring to give the children a rewarding preschool experience that goes well beyond their academics. Throughout the years my training has taught me that a preschool education in general affords children significant life advantages.
The preschool experience helps children develop self-confidence. While they love and miss their families, they get the opportunity to develop and express their likes and dislikes outside of the supervision of their parents, caregivers and/or siblings. For example, it is not uncommon for a child to tell me that they don’t eat a particular food at home and thus do not want to try a new food. However, when I suggest that it is ok to try a food that they may not have had at home and offer a fun activity, such as a poll to see who liked the food item and who didn’t -the children get the opportunity to decide their like or dislike by trying the food. Parents are usually very appreciative to learn their child has approved an addition to their menu! This is a simple food example, but the idea here is that the child gets some time to independently develop their own likes and dislikes as well as explore different methods to practice something new.
The preschool experience also helps to build the child’s self-esteem. In the preschool classroom behaviors will be modeled for them in a consistent routine each day, and then they will eventually be able to complete these various behaviors and activities themselves. The classroom environment lends itself to presenting children with the opportunity to do more for themselves with an expectation that they can succeed, and their victories build their self-esteem. Preschool days are all about having the time to practice those routines because there is nowhere else to be, besides school. Practicing zipping, tying, washing, saying thank you, or please, are extremely valuable lessons. When children achieve these goals, they really appreciate the report back to their families. This acknowledgement of their accomplishments to people they care about also helps to build their self-esteem.
The preschool experience helps your child be mindful of their surroundings and develop their communications skills in a positive way. Simple routines that occur in preschool, such as lining up to use the bathroom or go outside, raising their hand and waiting for the teacher to call upon them, or putting away their chairs and nap sacks, all help the child understand the skill of patience. Developing patience and self-control for themselves and the people around them, all while learning to be mindful of the person standing in front or behind them, is an important undertaking for a preschooler. Because these interactions are with people who do not live in their homes, the children must use more than their familiarity to communicate. They learn to read the facial expressions and body language of others. They learn the art of negotiation in sharing toys or getting ahead in the line and these are all skills they take and expand upon as they age.
Preschool helps children develop resilience. During the day your child may have a problem as simple as figuring out how to make a toy work. They learn how to solve problems and accept the normalcy of mistakes. When things don’t go their way – and there are bound to be instances in which things don’t go their way – they learn how to keep a positive attitude and compromise.
Preschool is a valuable experience that can complement other lessons you teach your child and parents can provide their child with these image building experiences in either formal preschools or by creating similar conditions during the day at home.
If you are looking for the perfect preschool for your child TMOM has a directory of preschool programs in the Triad that may be able to help you. You can also connect with other moms who are creating special preschool experiences at home for their children in the TMOM Facebook group.