Dr. Janine Spencer
Children learn more in their first three years than they’ll ever learn again. But it's between three and five that they learn the skills necessary for starting school. As a child's attention span develops she is able to remember more complex information. Her language skills also become increasingly more sophisticated and social. As a result of imaginary games and social interaction, her social skills have developed to such stage that she realizes other people may think and feel differently. Consequently, friendships with other children become more meaningful.
Storytelling is enormously important to preschoolers. They have vivid imaginations and will often act out stories they’ve heard or seen. However, learning to read is incredibly difficult and takes many years to master. Introducing letter names and sounds will give your child a head start when she eventually learns to read. We know that children who listen to stories and are introduced to the alphabet as preschoolers do better with reading and writing when they go to school.
Preschoolers are curious about everything and are always looking for ways to explore and find out more about the world. They want to know how things work, why certain things happen and what different things are. Learning is fun at this age. Reading to children, engaging them in conversation and spending quality time with them helps them embrace learning as a way of life.
- Provide jigsaw puzzles and games to help your child develop her problem solving skills.
- Keep crayons and paper within your child’s reach. Drawing and coloring helps children develop the fine hand control needed for writing.
- When you’re on the move and can’t read a story, why not make one up? Children will love the spontaneous creativity and might even try making up some of their own.
- Write your child’s name on a piece of paper and laminate it so that she can practice tracing over it time and again.
- Sing songs and recite poems—they helps children learn the rhythm and pace of language.
- Help your child’s emotional development by asking open-ended questions about how other people feel.
Dr. Janine Spencer is a developmental psychologist and director of the Centre for Research in Infant Behaviour (CRIB) in the UK.
© 2001-2012 LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.