Preschool years are the times for children to learn about the world around them through play. Few parents expect their preschoolers to be preparing for high school. But there are easy ways parents can teach these young children the skills that will help them do well in school through all their school years and into the working world beyond.
We’ve all heard about the importance of reading to preschoolers, and it is true that children who are read to when they are preschoolers tend to perform better in school. But the issue is larger than that. Reading to your child and around your child is good modeling behavior. Preschoolers who have exposure to books and see their parents read are more likely to be motivated to learn to read, which tends to make them better readers. Better readers at a young age are more likely to read and write well when they are in high school. According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), these results are true regardless of children’s other background such as socioeconomic status and parents’ education. Getting off on the right foot is an important step to achieving good reading and writing abilities for children, and that will allow them to do well in school.
Modeling homework can also be done before children even begin kindergarten. Parents can use a desk or table in a quiet room to “work,” whatever that work may be. It might be writing a letter, reading the newspaper, or truly doing paperwork for a job. If preschoolers ask what you are doing or want you to play, tell them they will need to wait until you finish your work. Since preschoolers so desperately want to be grown up, you may want to set up a similar situation for them along with papers or a book for them to “work” on. Then, once the child begins kindergarten, this spot can become a place to do homework. It will already be associated with quiet and concentrated activity without any negative connotations. That means you can’t use the same spot for time out or any other kind of punishment. Being willing and able to do homework is important for children to do well in school.
How parents talk can also affect their preschoolers’ future. Children learn to talk by mimicking what they hear around them. Therefore, if preschoolers hear improper grammar, like “I ain’t got none,” then they will repeat the language. Speaking with proper grammar and syntax helps them do well in school, especially in the upper grades, and makes a better impression on future potential employers. Having an innate sense of what is correct in speech and writing makes communication, not to mention testing in English classes, easier.
The enthusiasm preschoolers have for being adults is manifested toward other aspects of life, as well. One of the most common is the desire to go to school, especially when there is an older brother or sister attending. This excitement should be nourished in a preschooler. Talk about the fun things children get to do in school. Don’t put too much pressure on a preschooler by harping on how important it is to do well in school, but you can make learning sound fun.
Early helpful modeling, correct language use, and encouraged excitement about learning are all elements that can help preschoolers do well in school. Starting good habits and getting good language base at a young age make education and lifelong learning easier.
“How can Parents help their kids be successful at school.” Miss Farah. Missfarahsclass.wordpress.com. “National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth: Early reading ability and later literacy skills.” The Daily. Statcan.gc.ca.