'If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.' ~ Alfie Kohn
The preschool setting is where children learn about the world and get ready for school, so it's essential to ensure that your preschool environment is safe, clean, and engaging. To help you prepare preschool at home, this article includes tips on how to create an atmosphere that fosters learning, as well as information on how to keep your preschool area organized.
Is it possible to set a preschool at home?
Yes, preschool at home can be set up! A preschool can be anything from a preschool room to an area dedicated to learning, including blocks, sandboxes, and dress-up clothes. Many parents devote their time towards their child's education which has positive outcomes. There are several different ways you can set up your preschool area without using the rigorous methods of traditional schools. Here are five additional tips on how to make this possible.
1. Create a preschool area that looks just like an actual preschool classroom
It's essential to keep in mind what it would be like if you were sending them off every day and make sure they have everything they need at home too! Make their school books using card stock paper, print out multiplication flashcards from online websites (like Kiddle) to use during playtime, create name tags for each child so that everyone feels included - anything goes here! Let your imagination run wild! You're building their confidence while teaching them valuable skills.
2. Create a schedule based on their interests
Children are naturally curious, and they will likely want to learn everything all at once! That said, preschoolers need some structure for them to feel safe. Try creating a schedule based on their interests instead of trying to fit your schedule onto theirs. If they love trains, create a train-shaped calendar with the days of the week written out next to each car (ex: Monday is going through the tunnel), etc. This way, you're showing them what time/day certain things happen without saying, 'you have to do this now!' Instead, let them choose when they'd like to complete an activity - maybe even offering more than one choice if something comes up last minute or gets pushed back. Also, as it is a preschool at home, change the schedules periodically to not evade boredom.
3. Create an engaging curriculum
You'll want to have an engaging preschool curriculum. Many preschool curricula present activities in such a way as to make it seem like the child's job, but at this age, they're still learning how things work and what tasks take longer than others. The preschool classroom should be used for socializing with other children (at least half of the time). At the same time, adult-led activities are completed during quiet time or out on an excursion (hopefully not too far away).
4. Set specific rules and expectations
Another important consideration when thinking about preschool at home is taking some steps toward making it feel more like a school environment where there are rules/expectations - especially if you know your child will struggle with transitioning between places/activities. Developing routines can be a constructive way of setting up preschool at home and making it feel like it is something your child does daily.
Here are some examples:
- After waking, go potty
- Get ready for preschool by getting dressed or putting on an outfit that makes them feel special
- Read books together before preschool starts
5. Have a variety of supplies
Preschoolers need variety! Instead of spending your money on expensive preschool toys that will only be used for a few months before being shoved to the back corner (or worse, forgotten), opt for inexpensive yet engaging options. Boxes are perfect because they can quickly become anything from an ice cream shop or race car garage with just a little effort. Scissors and glitter add even more excitement to these easy projects. Just make sure you're prepared beforehand by collecting all supplies in advance.
6. Paint the walls with colourful colours to engage them.
The preschool years are a time for learning, exploration, and play. When setting up preschool at home, make sure to dedicate some of the space to fun! Bright colours not only add an exciting touch but also serve as a reminder that it's okay to take risks with your preschooler there - they won't get hurt in an accident due to poor judgment.
7. Make snack times special occasions.
If you're feeling adventurous, try something new such as 'soup,' which consists entirely of water in a bowl-shaped soup or pasta noodles topped with cheese sauce instead of melted shredded cheese. Or if you're feeling courageous, try something like 'pudding', which is a combination of milk and rice. Pretend snacks have been around forever, and many cultures worldwide use food as their primary method of teaching children lessons about life (and eating healthy).
If you have preschoolers at home, consider yourself lucky. Preschool is a particular time when children are naturally curious about the world around them and can grasp concepts that will help shape their lives for years to come. If preschool isn't in your budget or if it simply doesn't fit with your plans, then a preschool at home is your game-changer.
There's nothing wrong with setting up a preschool at home, for it creates an environment where they can learn all of the same lessons. We hope that with our tips, you'll make the best preschool at home and dedicate your time to your child's education.