It’s a lot for kids to take in when they start preschool or kindergarten for the first time, meeting new faces and being with a larger group of other kids their age. But they’re also developing rapidly during their time there.
Did you know, between the ages of 3 and 8 years, children’s brain tissue uses twice as much energy as adult brain tissue? So what’s all that energy being used on? Here are 5 social skills that your kids are starting to develop through their first few weeks at preschool.
1. Team skills
By playing with a group of other kids their own age, our little ones are developing their teamwork skills: learning to take turns and be mindful of other people’s feelings (and belongings). These team skills can be pretty rewarding for kids, making them feel like they’re part of a real community.
2. Expressing emotions
While kids start to play with others, they’ll probably be engaging in ‘pretend play’ (you know, when they run around roaring and then tell you you’re dead, so fall over...) which is very important to many aspects of their development. One aspect is learning how to express their emotions. By playing the scared mouse or the angry mom, your kids are gaining a better understanding of how they express their emotions and the emotions of other people around them.
3. How to follow directions and rules
Following rules set out by mom or dad is quite different to following rules set by a preschool teacher for everyone to follow. But it’s not just rules they’re learning to follow; teachers and their peers will be showing them how to do things and giving them instructions. Learning to recognise these and respond to them makes for a big step in their social development.
4. Decision making
During their hours at preschool, your child is interacting with their peers and the preschool staff without you around. This independence is helping them to make their own decisions and solve problems by themselves: an important part of their own social and cognitive development.
5. Learning about themselves
Exposure to the world outside your home and family unit will help your child to learn and understand more about themselves. Plus, they’ll be meeting lots of people from different families and backgrounds. This helps kids get to know themselves better, their feelings better and understand how everyone is different.