Pre-school is an important stage in a child’s early learning experience. To help prepare your child for what’s likely to happen at pre-school, here’s a bit of insight into what typically happens and the types of activities children are likely to undertake.
Children are ready to go to pre-school when they’re aged between three and five years old. There are a wide variety of pre-school options available for parents to choose from, such as nurseries, playgroups, pre-school reception classes, children’s centres and even childminders.
With the government providing 12.5 hours of free pre-school activities for children aged three to four years old (for 38 weeks of the year), it’s mad not to take them up on their free provision.
How Is The Day Organised?
The exact timetable for pre-school will vary on the type of early learning environment your child will be attending. The more traditional pre-school environments, such as those held at schools, will probably start with a more formal opening, such as reading out a register of names, whereas others are more relaxed and informal. However, most sessions do have similarities in the type of activities included during the day, all of which are aimed at furthering a child’s learning and early education skills.
Physical play is commonly featured on the menu of activities at various pre-school sessions. It’s recognised that physical play is an important activity for improving the physical and social skills of young children. They get to work on issues such as co-ordination, balance, taking turns and learning to cooperate and play well with other children and the activities they take part in are fun and enjoyable.
Physical play can be carried out indoors in a hall or classroom, or outdoors on the grass or on a playground. Sometimes equipment is used to enhance the experience, such as a slide, tunnel to crawl through, trampoline to jump on or a climbing frame.
Arts, Crafts And Music
Other organised activities, such as arts and crafts, painting, making collages or sharing stories and songs, are also a typical part of pre-school. Music time is great for encouraging singing, rhythm and listening to stories this gets children interested in books and reading. The overall idea is that children get to try out a variety of different types of play, so they learn new skills, but also get to share and enjoy group activities too.
As well as activities organised for the whole group, many pre-school sessions help develop children’s ability to concentrate and play on their own and with other children. So there are often so-called ‘free play’ activities to enjoy too, where children get to decide for themselves what they’d like to do (within limits!) for a while. This can include activities such as playing house, drawing, reading, playing games, playing with construction toys, playing make believe games, painting or using play dough.
A lot is packed into time at pre-school, but it’s certainly not stressful and in between all the play and learning, there’s time to relax and unwind too. A snack time will be built into the schedule, when children can have a drink and a healthy snack. If sessions are lasting longer than a few hours, it’s also normal for a rest period to be included too.