How you and your child can prepare for preschool
If your child is about to enter preschool, then you are probably wondering over how to prepare them for it. In order to shed some light on this matter, we spoke to two highly regarded individuals in the preschool scene during the Montessori Asia Conference held yesterday at Raffles City Convention City.
One of them is Ms. Charmaine Soh, President of the Association of Chinese Montessori International who organised the conference. The other one is Dr. T. Chandroo, Chairman and CEO of Modern Montessori International (MMI) Group which has almost a hundred centres spread out across 15 countries. They provide some valuable parenting advice which you will probably find useful.
How to prepare for preschool
Something which both Dr Chandroo and Ms Soh agreed on is that preschool does require some preparation beforehand. Ms Soh advises parents to do their homework 6 months before their child is due to enter preschool. Part of that preparation could include allowing preschool teachers to conduct home visits which are becoming quite common. This will allow the teacher to gain a better understanding of the child so as to help facilitate their transition into preschool life.
Parents should also do their research on the various preschools and decide whether that particular preschool is suited for their child. This is important as the preschool is the first step in the child’s education journey and should not be taken lightly.
Dr Chandroo advises against choosing a preschool just because it is ‘branded’. He says, “One thing I think is very important is finding out the school’s philosophy on educating toddlers. It’s important that the preschool has a plan in mind for how to teach and impart values to its students and the degree of care for its students.” Dr Chandroo elaborates further that MMI allows parents to bring their children for a tour around MMI centres to allow both parents and child to gain an insight into how the centre operates.
When asked on how to deal with preschool resistant children, Dr Chandroo emphasises that it is important to find the cause of the child’s resistance to the preschool. He theorised that “It could be due to fear. Children develop fear due to insufficient preparation on parents’ part to prepare the child when sending them to preschools.”
Ms Soh adds on that perhaps the resistance is a result of the pressure exerted by the parents to send them to a particular preschool coupled with the school’s ability to allow the child to transit smoothly and adapt to the new environment. When a child is resistant to preschool, blame should not be accorded to the child. The responsibility lies on the parents and the school so Ms Soh advises parents to talk to the school if their child really detests preschool. But parents should bear in mind that resisting preschool by throwing a tantrum during the early stages is perfectly normal.
Dr. T. Chandroo, Chairman and CEO of Modern Montessori International (MMI) Group
Ms. Charmaine Soh, President of the Association of Chinese Montessori International