My daughter is now three years old, that means she’s officially a preschooler. I will be homeschooling her until she turns five. We spend a large amount of time exploring and doing an active play. Learning through play is also a vital part of her developmental stage along with the use of our Montessori method at home.
Over the years of observing and teaching preschoolers, I created a list of important skills and lessons a preschooler needed to learn. In a Montessori method, a toddler basically do activities that helps with the refinement of muscles that prepares them to apply in practicing basic life skills or we also call this in a Montessori method the practical life skill. Here’s the list I created to share to all the parents to give you an idea what I do first to prepare kids before kindergarten. I created this list according to what I observed and tested as the most important skills a preschooler must learn. Of course, we follow the child according to their level of development and additionally they learn from their own pace. Not all two or three year olds are the same in their ability to learn. A two year old can read some words while the average will start at three years or four years. This is the same as learning the skills. I listed the skills in an order so it’s easier for the parents to teach their kids according to steps. Remember, a simple small steps you accomplish can nourish young mind’s curiosity.
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Five Important Skills To Teach Preschooler
1. Basic Life Skills or Practical Life Skills- The Practical Life in a child’s learning is very important. This is to develop in the very young child a strong and realistic sense of independence and self-reliance. This skill made me realize that a strong foundation should be mold first in a child’s life in order for them to learn the basic life skills. This skill also teaches the child to be successful in their later life.
Examples of basic life skills:
a. Putting on socks
b. Putting on shoes
d. Drinking in a cup
e. Pouring milk in a glass
f. Washing hands
g. Brushing teeth
h. Putting on underwear and pants
g. Lacing a shoe
Preparing breakfast; Mixing eggs using a whisker
And the list adds up as the child learns a new skill. It is important for the parents to model first each new skills to your child. Young kids as early as one year old are capable to learn basic life skills. Take advantage of this.
2. Fine Motor Skill- The term fine motor means “small muscles”. Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in the fingers, hand and arm to manipulate, control and use tools and materials. Hand-eye coordination, where a person uses their vision to control the movements and actions of their small muscles, is also an important component of fine motor skill development. Fine motor form the basis for many of the skills that children will develop and enhance as they move through childhood. For infants and young children, their fine motor skills facilitate their interactions with their world, and therefore their learning. As they develop, a child’s fine motor skills are essential precursors to the development of early literacy, and self-help skills such as independent dressing and toileting. As children move through their preschool and into their school years, their fine motor skills assist them to continue to develop as well as to participate in a range of more complex activities. Each child will develop their fine motor skills at their own pace, and they will demonstrate different strengths and abilities, depending on their interests.
Molding kinetic sand using plastic knife.
3. Gross Motor Skills and Crossing the Midline- Gross motor skills that children should be supported to develop include those that involve movement of the arms, legs, hands, feet, head, neck and torso. The skills children need for optimum gross motor development include rolling, reaching, sitting, crawling, walking, climbing, balancing, running, jumping, catching, throwing and striking. These fundamental gross motor skills will assist children’s lifelong ability to participate in physical activity including sport and other recreational pursuits. My daughter loves to play outdoor almost everyday. She loves to run around the backyard, hop like a bunny and jump like a frog. We don’t have a huge play structure so I created a diy balance beam for her that are made of garden bricks and a long piece of wood. This type of play promotes balance and coordination and hours of active play outside.
I use a Diy balance beam here that touches the ground. The edge are rounded so it gives a little bit of challenge for her.
4. Nature Explorations and Educational Tours- Experiences are always the best teacher right? Planning for an activity such as nature walk, a visit at the kids museum, visit to the zoo, reading books in the local library, gardening, volunteer jobs along with your kids, opens an opportunity for a child to learn through experiences. They gain better understanding with the living things around them and the active involvement in the community provides personal achievement and pride.
5. Music & Movement– “Research studies shows that a preschooler who took music lessons performed better on spatial and temporal reasoning task.” The same effects on infants when they engage in music. According to studies, when children learn to play an instrument, they gain the ability to hear and process sounds that they wouldn’t hear without training. Every active child loves to play musical instruments followed by dancing. You can see a baby who hears the beat of a drum suddenly throws her arms and try to jive with the music.
I hope this steps helps you get more insights as you walk through on your child’s developmental stages. Follow my blog for more tips and guides about parenting, homeschooling and Montessori method of learning and so much more!