Your little one has been eyeing the castle door for months, and now that they’ve had that magical third birthday, it’s time to join us at Preschool Time! Recognize that this is a big step for your child; they are not only dealing with separation anxiety, but they are also in a more structured story time where they will begin to learn school readiness skills. Here are a few tips to help them transition smoothly and make the most of the Preschool Time experience:
Prepare your preschooler beforehand.
Take an opportunity to visit the Story Room with your child a time or two before beginning Preschool Time, so that it becomes a familiar place. Talk about what they can expect during story time (you can get a copy of the basic outline at the Children’s desk). If possible, during a Preschool Time show your child the TV monitor outside the Story Room. This will allow them the opportunity to see what goes on and can also reassure them that even though they can’t see you, you can still see them. Please remember to stay in the Children’s Department for the duration of story time in case your child needs you.
Make it a point to arrive approximately 10 minutes early each week. This will give you time to pick up your child’s nametag at the Children’s desk, make a bathroom stop, get a drink, and hear the storyteller announcements. Please be aware that once the Story Room door has closed, children will no longer be admitted to Preschool Time. I promise we’re not picking on you! We simply want to provide a safe and distraction-free story time for all of the children in the room. Latecomers are always welcome to attend Toddler Time in the Story Circle.
Listen to your child.
Some preschoolers are ready to join Preschool Time right after they turn three—others may need a little more time to adjust. Even if your child is a Preschool Time regular, they may occasionally just have a hard day. We all know how that goes, right? Give encouragement and be supportive of your little one trying new things. That may be all it takes. However, forcing a sobbing child into the Story Room does not a happy story time experience make. In addition, if your preschooler is complaining of a tummy ache, is running a fever, or has a significant runny nose or cough, let them stay home and get well! We’ll still be here next week, and we are happy to provide handouts from a missed week when you come back.
Keep the conversation going.
Right before your child leaves the Story Room through the secret tunnel, our storytellers will give a brief review of what they did in Preschool Time. Just like in Toddler Time, preschoolers will also receive handouts: a die cut “letter of the week” (lower case to help them begin to recognize the two forms of each letter) and a coloring sheet that includes letter writing practice, an early literacy tip, book suggestions . They will also receive a hand stamp. As with your toddlers, ask your preschooler about story time and revisit the things they learned later in the day or week to solidify their learning. Share their experience by allowing them tell you about the books they read, the songs they sang, and about the silly puppet show!
Our goal is for story time to be a FUN, safe, literacy-rich environment for your children. We love watching them grow in so many different ways. Thank you for sharing them with us!
(If you missed part one in this series with tips about Toddler Time, find it here)
Curious about our story time schedule? Find dates and times here!