Preschool Prep Group
Preparing Kids for Preschool
In our Melrose office we offer a 1 and 1/2 hour group experience for children ages 2 1/2 to 3 years old that focuses on preparing children for the transition from toddler group to preschool. Many of the children who have grown up in our infant and toddler group programs move into our Preschool Prep Group once they turn 2 or 2 1/2 years old when parents begin to plan for and anticipate the start of preschool. We recommend 6 months of this group before the big transition.
Our Preschool Prep Group focuses on the skills that will be helpful to each child (and parent) in transitioning to any preschool program. Children who have grown up in our infant and toddler groups already have had some experience with gentle separation from parents as they have crawled and then “toddled” away from parents through the open door between our Group Room and our Play Room. In our Play Room infants and toddlers are provided gentle support in separation as well as planned activities that promote developmental progress while parents participate in discussion in the Group Room.
“Bye, Bye Mommy!”
During their stay in our Preschool Prep Group, children have a chance to practice separating from Mom and Dad in a more “grown up” way. As they leave the Group Room and enter the Play Room they wave to Mom or Dad and say “Bye,Bye” knowing that Mom or Dad will be further away than they were in Toddler Group but still in the building where they will be sharing a cup of coffee or having lunch with other parents. For toddlers who have been with us for awhile, this next step in separation happens in an already familiar environment which lowers anxiety and results in a positive separation experience. This positive separation experience in our Preschool Prep Group is one more important step towards the bigger separation experience and independence children will experience when they go off to preschool.
Activities that Prepare Children for
the Transition from Toddler Group to Preschool
1) Children practice doing a special job during music time (example: holding the basket and collecting the shakers or bean bags from friends in order to put them away, assisting group leaders in carrying toys or bringing out the parachute, collecting & putting away the scarves, etc.)
2) Children practice lining up with friends for transitions
3) Children practice having a positive separation from Mom or Dad when parents leave ( and so do parents)
4) Children practice speech & language as well as social skills while sharing lunch around the table with friends and group leaders
5) Children practice sitting and listening during “Story Time”
6) Children practice resolving conflicts with friends while group leaders teach children to trade and to take turns while using the big sand timer.
7) With adult assistance children practice using their words with a friend when there is a need instead of hitting, pushing, kicking or biting
8) Children learn to work together with friends during music time & play time. (examples include holding the parachute handles and moving the parachute up and down together to get the paper “popcorn” to “pop” in the parachute during the Popcorn Song, building a parking garage together with blocks and then “parking” the cars, measuring and mixing ingredients to make play doh, etc.)
Children and parents who attend our Preschool Prep Group often develop close friendships that continue long after the group ends.
Marilee Hartling RN, MFT
Ariko Yoshizawa MA