Dr. Joselyn Eusebio, a developmental pediatrician at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, describes a school ready child with the following characteristics or skills: he is able to recognize letters, number, and colors, and knowing self-help skills such as eating, dressing up, or going to the potty with minimal supervision.
Socio-emotional development is crucial too, adds Rachel Ricafrente-Abella, preschool teacher at Rafoux Playschool in Pasig City. For example, do you think your child will be able to get along with the other kids?
Here are activities you can do before the first day of classes:
1. Keep practicing counting aloud Your child probably already knows basic math concepts like counting and shapes. But practice it more as the first day of school nears. Get her counting aloud on her own or with you up to at least 20.
Cooking together is a great activity for this, Bonnie Getkin, an assistant preschool director, tells Parents. Your child gets to count and measure ingredients as well as practice following directions.
2. Let your child spend time with other kids Social skills “build the foundation for children to develop friendships and engage in successful, positive interactions with others,” says local child psychologist Dr. Sabrina Tan. A child who knows how to socialize well and has proper etiquette will know how to “share his toys and play fairly with others,” she explains.
Dr. Laura Markham, a psychologist and parenting expert, believes that social ability is “one of the most important skill sets your child will ever develop. It is infinitely more important to her future happiness than helping her develop her intellect.”
3. Practice self-sufficiency tasks It includes eating and using utensils correctly, wiping his nose, washing his hands, and going to the potty. Moreover, your child should also know his full name, mom and dad's full names, and home address. Grown-ups like the preschool teacher will still be around to lend a helping hand but learning how to do certain things by himself fosters your child’s independence and self-confidence.
3. Read stories “Children who attain early literacy are prepared to succeed in school and later in life,” says Ruth Martin-De Guzman, executive director of Adarna Group Foundation (AGFI), which aims to promote reading among Pinoy children. For books that will especially help prep your child for school, Alexine Parreño, who runs the online store Pumplepie Books & Happiness, gave her top recommendations:
Dee the Bee series Covering topics like being helpful, polite, active, and happy, “It's everything you want to teach your kids,” says Alexine. “The words rhyme and the illustrations will have kids hooked!” (Get a bundle of 7 books for Php700 here.)
Ang Halimaw Ng Mga Kulay storybook + coloring book “Preschoolers struggle with identifying their emotions and this is the perfect bundle for them. The coloring book is awesome because it comes with instructions. Each emotion is a color, like blue is sad and red is angry.” (Get the two books for Php548 here.)
Ang Mabait Na Kalabaw + Ang Maliit Na Kalabaw Ang Maliit Na Kalabaw is the prequel to Ang Mabait Na Kalabaw, a hit among kids and bestseller, says Alexine. The former only has Filipino text, which is part of its appeal for kids who speak primarily in English. “Your child will have classmates who speak only Filipino and most preschools already introduce Filipino as a subject, too.” (Get Mabait for Php99 here and Maliit for Php199 here.)
5. Get her ready to write Your little one will soon be putting pencil and crayon to paper in school. Exercise her hand and fingers to prep her for writing now. There are activities that do not involve any actual writing but will help develop the muscles and coordination that your toddler will need to learn the skill.
A few that need little prep work on mom's part are playing with clay, painting with cotton buds, playing with clothespins, and scrunching up paper. (Find more ideas here.)
6. Pick out school supplies together and visit the preschool Make the transition from being home every day to spending half a day at school as smooth as possible. Start by gradually introducing what being a little learner is like.
Buy his school supplies together, says Sophia Viola, a preschool teacher at Blended Learning Center in Manila. “And while you're shopping, describe how he’s going to use it in school or what they're for. Tell stories about what’s going to happen at school.” Then, “On a day other than the parent's orientation day, bring your child to the school to meet the teachers and look at the classroom and the playground — like a field trip.”