I wanted to share some experience I had preparing my boys for preschool, in the hopes it might help you and your child get off to a good start this year!
1. Talk about school often.
When Jack was diagnosed with PDD-NOS it was written up in his IEP that he’d attend preschool (he was 3), have speech therapy, and ride the bus to and from school. We talked to him about things he’d learn in school, the yellow school bus, the bus driver, meeting his teachers and making friends. We thought this would put his mind at ease about going to school.
2. Create a social story about school.
Ben started school when he was three, just like Jack did. The difference was that Ben was nonverbal and because of this, it was a bit of a mystery as to what he understood and what he didn’t. His speech therapist sent us a social story about school. I had emailed her photos of our house, of Ben and my husband and I to put in the story. She sent us a laminated book on a ring. The story showed Ben his school day through coming home from school. There was a page of the house, the bus, Ben, the classroom, the playroom at school, and then house again…explaining that he’s go to school on the bus, have school time with friends and come home again to mommy. I’m happy to report that at 3, he has no problems getting on the bus and going to school (for the first week anyway).
3. Read about School
Reading books has always been a favorite thing to among my children. I remember reading Curious George books to Jack and Ben when they were little, along with Dr. Seuss. I remember that we had a book called Curious George’s First Day of School. I think it was helpful to the boys to see that even their favorite story book characters go to school!
4. Meet the Teachers/Therapists
Meeting the teachers/therapists is what really tied the whole “school” thing together for Jack. After his first meet/greet with his teachers/therapists he looked forward to school days, and asked about his teachers when he wasn’t in school. I think meeting with teachers/therapists before school helps children to understand that they’re not going to school to spend time with a random stranger. They begin to understand that there is a classroom, desks, books, calendars, a sort of sense of purpose in school, and that the teacher is their guide to education.
5. Start a Schedule
Both of my boys have always thrived on a schedule. It seems to be more true during the school year. They know their day to day routine and it seems to help them focus when they know what to expect. I’ve also noticed that if things are routine at home, things so smoother when the ease into their school routine.
Happy School Year 2016!
I hope everyone has a splendid year!