While placing your child in preschool is a great way to help build their social skills, even in a highly social environment, these skills need to be approached purposefully with kids. As much as we treasure our little ones, we all know leaving them to their own devices (i.e. chocolate covered fingers and red faced tantrums) is not the way to go! When you choose the right preschool, it fosters social growth and development in some really important ways. Here are five ways preschool can improve your child’s social skills.
Constructive communication is one of the most crucial skills for kids to master. In fact, it can be one of the toughest! Effective teachers prompt kids to use their words and to ask for help constructively. By attentively recognizing a child’s needs, teachers can help kids come up with the right words to say and productively express themselves. Another great communication tool our teachers use, is expressing compassion to others – prompting students to help each other, ask if a friend needs a teacher, or even little things like getting a friend a band aid are fantastic ways for kids to communicate.
There’s a lot more going on in a three legged race than simple team work. For example, kids learn the value of cheering on their friends, even if it means not winning. Teachers can encourage clapping and applauding for a friend’s success. Even better than prompting encouragement, kids can learn how to lose graciously. The skill of losing well is rare and that’s why it’s so important to have teachers who know how to instill it. Also, through a shared experience of either winning or losing, kids can create lasting bonds with one another.
Kids are pretty good at knowing when they feel sad, but what about noticing a friend who’s a little blue? Through focused games, kids can learn to spot emotions on their friends’ faces. One child can try showing a mad face and their friend can try and guess what they’re feeling. Learning to recognize others’ emotions in this way, through body language and facial expressions, will put your child miles ahead in social skills. Kids can even learn to express themselves creatively through fun games and free play!
Talking About Your Day
At the end of a long day, it can be hard for kids to articulate everything they experienced. End of the day discussions in class helps kids learn how to talk about their days. This skill is especially important to parents who want to hear about their child’s experience at school. Our teachers like to go around in a circle and ask kids their favorite part of the day and what they learned – prompting when necessary. Afterwards, kids are able to go home and easily share all the fun stuff in their day!
Learning to follow instructions can be fun! Whether it’s a craft, game, or assignment kids get to practice their listening skills in class. Simple step by step instructions can develop a child’s ability to put their listening skills to practical use and follow directions. Games like Follow the Leader and Mother May I, allow kids to put on their listening ears in a digestible way. When kids are given the chance to be the leader, it also gets them comfortable expressing their ideas to a group. A healthy combination of listening and leadership skills promotes discipline as well as confidence.
All in all, preschool is a great way to instill crucial social skills in your child. But remember, the right program is key! You want to make sure to choose a program that approaches social skills deliberately and leaves nothing to chance. As always, fun activities should be at the core of your child’s learning experience. Contact us if you’d like to learn more or have any questions about our preschool program.