“…studies also find that preschool education produces persistent gains on achievement test scores, along with fewer occurrences of grade retention and placement in special education programs (Barnett & Camilli, 2002). Other long-term benefits from preschool education include increased high school graduation rates and decreased crime and delinquency rates.”

– The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Higher test scores, fewer instances of being held back, a better chance of graduating, and lower crime rates. These are not solely chance occurrences — these are just some of the trends that happen when a child is in preschool. The research has continued to show that preschool is not simply the buckling of the seatbelt for education — it’s the beginning of the drive itself.

Preschool is so vital to a child’s academic success, as well as success overall. While there are no guarantees in how a person’s life may twist and turn, there is significant evidence to show how preschool plays an instrumental role in each of our lives.

As we discussed in our previous post, many people feel as though preschool is the place of child care where kids practice being in school and mostly just play with finger paints and Legos. Playing is an important part of a child’s life and learning experience, but preschool is so much more than that. And because preschool is so important, it makes sense that we’d want to prepare our children as much as we can for that first day — as well as all the days to come. Take a look at a few other ways that you can help get your child prepped, ready, and confident for the day they first walk through those doors.

Bring in some literature.

A trip to the library is always the best (and a great way to expand your child’s love of literature!). Going with the intention of finding a book to model the first-day-of-school-jitters and experience as a whole is a great way to build understanding and dialogue with your child. They’ll get a chance to reflect on some of their own thoughts (both exciting and scary) regarding going to school, and you’ll be able to have some excellent discussions about what preschool will be like. Speaking of this discussion, you should definitely…

Validate their feelings.

The last thing you want is your child to open up to you about how they’re feeling, and then brush them aside. Even saying something like “Don’t be scared!” can unintentionally invalidate how they’re feeling, and not do as much to comfort them.

Empathize with your soon-to-be-preschooler — they have no idea what this change is going to be like, and for them, it can be very scary. Relate to your child by saying things like “I know what you mean,” and telling them about a time you were scared. Even if they’re over-the-moon excited for this event, you can still relate to them and encourage their feelings to help them feel prepared for their first day.

Go to the preschool

Sometimes the best way to assuage any anxieties that present themselves is to simply face the fear. Take your child to the preschool (as long as it’s OK with the school) before you drop them off, and give them a chance to look around and explore. Chances are, they’ll fall in love with the look of the playground and want to go back as soon as possible.

Considering enrolling your child in our preschool program? Call us or fill out our contact form to set up a time to tour our facilities! We welcome families to visit our preschool, because we know how important this can be for your child to start building interest and a connection.

Have them at the same preschool as child care.

If it’s a possibility, this can make a huge difference in your child’s transition into preschool. They won’t be starting somewhere completely new, they’ll be familiar with the building, and they’ll likely take pride in feeling like a “big kid.” This might not eliminate all of the worries of starting something new, but it could really help when your child, their friends, and their teacher all have some level of familiarity between them. At Leap 2 Learn Educational Childcare, this is absolutely a possibility — we offer daycare and child care programs for infants, all the way up to preschoolers, as well as after-school programs for elementary school-aged children. Theoretically, your child could be with Leap 2 Learn for their entire early childhood educational experience, and this consistency could make a significant difference in their overall growth.

We are accepting new families for preschool and child care in the Rapid City area, and we would love to hear from you. Our teachers are committed to making sure this crucial period of development for your child is an incredible one, and we always aim to create an environment where they will thrive. Contact us today to learn more about our child care and preschool programs!