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This year, my baby will be fleeing the nest. My oldest will be heading off to kindergarten (after two years of preschool) and my youngest will be heading to his very first year of preschool. He’s excited, I’m wistful. Nothing quite prepares you for when they leave the nest, but regardless of my heart, I still have to make sure they are ready to go! I’ve put together some of my favorite tips thanks to Disney Junior for preparing little ones to head off to preschool. #Ready4Preschool #CollectiveBias
Before you get started, head to the store and collect all the school supplies you will need for a home “school.” I headed out to Walmart and picked up some great interactive tools from Disney Junior including mini-lessons from some of our favorite characters like Sofia the First and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I brought the boys along to let them pick out their favorites.
You can see Jack (my preschooler) is partial to Mickey Mouse.
Once we found everything we needed from the school supplies and coloring area, we headed home to spend the afternoon learning out in the sunshine!
Welcome to Disney Preschool!
In preparation for school, I like to take a few afternoons or mornings throughout the summer and recreate what school might be like. The school the boys go to actually occurs on a Farm so they get plenty of outdoor time in addition to learning. Simulating that based off what I learned from Charlie’s first two years is where some of these tips come from. The most important thing to remember is FLEXIBILITY! They are not in school yet and no need for a rigid schedule if the day happens to call for a little pool time.
Tip 1. Allow them to choose your learning materials and school supplies characters and colors. My three-year-old (as most are) is stubborn and opinionated. Giving them the ability to have some control over the situation helps them to feel in charge and also makes school exciting because they recognize and identify something they love. In this case, Jack chose Disney Junior Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and was much more excited to learn about time, matching, and tracing letters than if I would have chosen it for him.
Tip 2. Let the older siblings be the teachers. With as much as they fight, they also adore one another and Jack wants nothing more than to be like big brother. He also doesn’t always view him as a traditional authority figure, so he’s ready to jump in and follow along with Charlie as he leads the way. They also learn the value of working together. Jack has learned so much just from watching Charlie – definitely helping him get ready for the fall!
Tip 3. Get them moving! My three-year-old sometimes has ants in his pants and likes to wiggle all over the place. By getting movement involved in learning, it helps to get out some of that energy, they have fun running all over and they come back ready to take on the next task. In this case, we matched the picture of a frog with the word frog. Once he did that, I encouraged him to hop around the yard showing me how a frog jumps. He then makes the connection about the animal as well!
Tip 4. Allow for silly time. In addition to movement, my crazy critters love to act silly. Knowing that our “school” time might be interrupted, I let them feel they have the freedom to be who they are. Sometimes, an afternoon of learning might include silly faces, scary monsters or even surprise characters. As much as they are heading off to school, they are still kids and kids love to have FUN!
Tip 5. Encourage Creativity! By the end of our time, Jack wanted to turn the dry erase markers into a sword and a wand. He used his imagination (kids are great at that!) and connected the markers to create something longer. He flitted around the yard pretending to be a magician and fighting bad guys with his new creation. Stretching those imaginations at home will help them to do so at school as well.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for preparing little ones for school? How do you make education fun?
For even more great ideas and resources from Disney Junior, find them online: