Preschool Director's Message to Parents: Focus on Social and Emotional Development
Preschools are more than just childcare. Children grow and develop most during the first five to six years of life. In addition to learning the academic basics (colors, shapes, and letters), they also learn important social and emotional skills that set them up for success once they get to elementary school and beyond. KidStrong CEO and Founder, Matt Sharp, and Head of Coaching and Founder, Megin Sharp, sit down with preschool director Patti Eubank to discuss child development and how to set your kids up for success during the preschool years.
When choosing a preschool, look for a space that is warm and inviting but also developmentally appropriate. Because these are vital years for social and emotional development, programs that boast and talk about only academics should be avoided.
When children attend preschool for the first time, they will face many new situations that will help set them up for success in the future. While it may seem hard at the moment, and we, as parents and caregivers, want to always save them, Patti Eubank suggests, “letting them fail.” Going to school gives children (and their parents) an opportunity to deal with separation anxiety, to learn how to interact with other adults and to learn how to thrive in a structured environment. The best thing that parents can do is to trust the teachers and directors to use their experience and help their children cope with difficult situations. Parents can also help their children cope by being consistent - for example, keeping drop off short and sweet. Children thrive on structure, and with the consistency they will learn how to cope with those difficult and uncomfortable situations.
Lastly, and most importantly, children can work on and develop important social and emotional skills. They can work on solving problems, like sharing and working in groups. They can also work on managing emotions. Emotions like anxiety and frustration are normal, but learning how to manage and work through these emotions is an important life skill. Academic skills can and will come, but children who are good teammates, good problem solvers, and are confident in social situations will be more successful in our vastly changing world.