Every parent wants her child's first exposure to school be a positive experience. Preschools that offer special days and learning opportunities will no doubt accomplish this goal. For a preschool to stand out in the community, it needs to offer special events and activities to attract families and promote parental involvement in a child's education.
As holidays approach, preschoolers love to celebrate with special days during which they can create crafts, make special food and play holiday-themed games. Have a Halloween parade, a Thanksgiving feast and an Independence Day play or craft. Celebrate Valentine's by making some treats and cards, and host an Easter egg hunt. Don't limit the celebration to only one day, because events that lead up to the holidays will build anticipation for the big day.
Children may do better in elementary school when parents are involved in early childhood education, according to the Harvard Family Research Project report "Getting Parents 'Ready' for Kindergarten." Get moms, dads, siblings and extended families involved in preschool by hosting special events. Parents can get to know other families at a family game night. In the fall, host an autumn celebration where family members jump in the fallen leaves, carve jack-o'-lanterns and participate in a scavenger hunt. Invite the males involved in the children’s lives to a pajama story time around Father's Day or mom and grandma day during a Mother's Day tea. Have a special day for grandparents to come and experience a day at your child’s preschool.
Performances take a lot of time to plan, but it is important to provide preschoolers with the opportunity to show off what they have learned. Arranging two performances a year is a good goal -- one in December or January and one before the school year ends. Include seasonal songs, rhymes and finger plays. The end-of-the-year performance can showcase what the children have learned throughout the year and include a small graduation ceremony for children who are moving on to elementary school.
To keep children motivated and interested in attending preschool, plan special days throughout the year they will enjoy. Have a pajama day where everyone dresses in their pj's and the class can snuggle in for story hour. Have a movie day when the regular routine becomes monotonous. In the winter, host a beach day when children will arrive at preschool and then change into shorts, T-shirts and sunglasses and play at a sand table. When the weather warms, host a splash day and allow children to run in the sprinkler, throw water balloons, run water relays and play at a water table. The Web site Early Childhood News states that these water activities are not only entertaining, but educational, as well.
Preschool Field Trips
For a preschool that provides transportation, many inexpensive locations exist that 3- and 4-year-olds will enjoy. Children will enjoy seeing the animals at a local farm or zoo, touring a local fire station or going to a hands-on museum. A community playground may be close enough to walk to during the good weather months. Have a picnic or stop at an ice-cream stand to reward children who have worked hard all year long.
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