Preschool: What to Expect

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preschooler, what to expect preschool

Photo by 5forjulie

As we count down the days to back to school, the Daily Buzz talks with moms and public school teachers about what you and your child can expect in the coming year.

Today, preschool teachers mommy8106 and aidensmomma508, and post-preschool moms 5forjulie and hill2 answer common questions about what to expect in preschool:



mommy8106: In preschool, we like for children to learn to recognize their first and last name in print, recognition of up to eight letters of the alphabet or more, recognition of numbers 1-10, how to count from 1-10, and easy patterning skills (ABAB).

aidensmomma508: At this age children learn through play. They will be working on Social Skills, Math, Cognitive Development, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Language, Art, Dramatic Play, etc. Before heading to kindergarten, they should know their ABC's,  counting numbers, colors, and shapes. The most important part of preschool is getting used to the routine of going to school and being around their peers.

5forjulie: My daughter learned her letters, alphabet, numbers, writing, and how to cut with scissors, and they also participated in singing songs, story time, and craft time. They had Parent/Teacher meetings to discuss your child's progress, and you can voice your concerns or things that you notice at any time.

hill2: My son learned to write his letters, recognize their sounds, and to write and recognize his full name. He learned to read very basic sight words and very basic phonics books. He learned to count to 20 and the letter words for numbers up to ten and primary colors. He learned about opposites, comparing objects, patterns, and cause and effect through stories and science-type projects.

School supplies

mommy8106: It depends on the center and its funding, but a preschool's basic needs are construction paper, scissors, glue, markers, crayons, paper towels, and Kleenex.

aidensmomma508: I would start your preschooler off with a bag or backpack, a lunch box (if they have lunch there), and extra clothes in case they get dirty or are still potty training.

5forjulie: Teachers might ask for donations to help with supplies like snacks or paper bags...just ask the teacher what they need.

hill2: We only provided a backpack for my son. School supplies were included in his tuition. We provided for one snack day a month, which cost about $20, and on party days, we always volunteered one item.

Social scene

mommy8106: In preschool, it is very very important to build friendships, learn to share, and work as a team. We focus much more on those things than on academics. Children need to learn how to interact and get along with others so that they are ready for more intense classroom settings later in life.

aidensmomma508: Friends are very important at this age, but more likely they will play with all their classmates at different times throughout the year. Preschoolers learn sharing and teamwork by doing different group activities together.

5forjulie: For my daughter, preschool included making friends, going to birthday parties and play dates, and having crushes on boys. Some kids are shy and take a while to warm up, and others just go play.

hill2: My son made many friends and loved this aspect of going to preschool. Expect many party invitations, which can get costly for gifts. I allow my son to go to as many parties as possible, but I like to make sure he really plays with that specific kid before going to the party.

Behavioral issues

mommy8106: Most children at this age have difficulty sharing at first. That can lead to hitting, using mean words, and a lack of impulse control. In the preschool classroom, we teach children how to work together, share, use nice words, and express their anger in appropriate ways. We teach this through role modeling and problem-solving lessons, as we interact with children during their play.

5forjulie: Preschool kids seem to have trouble with sharing, competing with classmates, not using kind words, and testing what they can or can't do. It's good to check on your child at school to see how they interact with other children.

hill2: I honestly had few behavior issues with my son. Since my son is not an only child, he was used to sharing before his preschool days. You can expect them to bring other kids' bad habits home, and we did have issues with two boys who, when together, were kind of mean to my son.


mommy8106: If it's just using mean words or not sharing, then there will be conferencing and redirection. If a child hurts another by hitting, biting, or other means, then there will be a time out of one minute per year of age, followed by conferencing with the child. 

aidensmomma508: Usually children at this age are disciplined by redirection and if that doesn't work, then they can sit with a toy alone.


mommy8106: There are many ways parents can get involved in the preschool classroom. There are small group activities planned by the teacher, in which a parent can come in and lead a small group in working together. Parents can attend and help with field trips or family nights and help the teacher by cutting things out, running papers off, or spending time with the children by reading to them or facilitating another fun activity.

aidensmomma508: Parents can come in and read a story, help clean the classroom, decorate a bulletin board, or make something for different classroom areas. Sometimes having a new person in the classroom is entertainment enough to help teachers.

5forjulie: Teachers like seeing involved parents. Parents can help out in the classroom during play time or snack time. Just ASK the teacher what you can do to help. Also, it's good to POP in and watch your child on any given day to check the school.

hill2: Since I have two smaller kids, it was harder for me to volunteer, so I mainly tried to volunteer for special events. Most preschool are very open to parent volunteering, and they will love you!

Biggest challenge for your child

5forjulie: The biggest challenge for my daughter was getting used to the classroom environment. It takes a good month for kids to get used to the routine and teacher. After that time, she blossomed and was like a sponge for learning. She loves school now.

hill2: My son struggled with letters, so that was his academic challenge. Then we had issues with the two boys, so that was hard. However, situations like that teach kids more about dealing with others, and now he speaks up more.

Biggest concern from parents

aidensmomma508: Some parents are concerned about leaving their children the first day. I suggest you visit for a while with your preschooler so they know it's a fun place to be.

mommy8106: Many parents fear their child will not be ready for the transition to kindergarten. They feel like they have not learned enough academically to be ready. I always tell them that preschool is really more geared to learning social skills and introducing basic academics that will be enhanced and further taught in kindergarten.

Stay tuned for lots more "What to Expect" features in the Daily Buzz. Over the next several weeks, we'll be covering all grades through the first year of college.

Thanks so much to the preschool teachers and moms who helped us present this valuable information. Schools and activities vary depending on the district and where you live, of course.

What was the preschool experience like for you and your toddler?

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