This is far from expert advice, but nomadsoul asked me to share my tips and well, here is what we did to prepare for preschool. Hope you find it helpful.
1. Classes: We have been taking a variety of classes since C was several months old: music, swim, ballet, cooking, soccer to name a few. Last winter, we started taking weekend “prep pre-preschool” classes at Bubbles Academy. The beginners class was a few hours, but parents were required to attend. She loved going and hardly knew we were there, so for the second semester, we opted to move her to the next level (sans parents) and she had no separation issues whatsoever. It was a great opportunity to expose her to instruction, socialization and a structured morning- a perfect introduction to preschool.
Frankly, I think the many classes we’ve taken were instrumental in her socialization and development and helped ease this transition.
2. Learning & Activity Books + Educational Apps: I picked up a few preschool skills books for C to practice with (lots at Costco). We set aside 20 mins or so each morning to do some tracing, letters, numbers etc.
The Brain Quest Books and Flash Cards are great, and we are HUGE Usborne fans.
Educational Apps: Alpha Tots, Tally Tots, Monkey Lunch Box and Endless Alphabet are a few of our favourites.
3. Read & Discuss: We would talk about preschool and all the new friends, teachers and things she might do. But, reading about it was definitely helpful.
4. Spend A Day In Their Shoes: Our preschool had us attend a day of orientation prior to her first day. It was nice since I could observe the class and activities and gradually ease her into it.
5. Gear: Most preschools will provide you with a check-list, but here’s what I found helpful:
Backpack: These backpacks are the perfect size & the personalization is brilliant (one less thing to label). The mini-backpack works great for us -it was a perfectly timed, thoughtful birthday gift, thanks and kudos to the lovely.
What to pack? A Box of Wipes, Kleenex Pack, Sunscreen/Bug Spray, a hat, and a Ziploc bag with a change of clothes + underwear (in case of an accident).
Mabel’s Labels: I asked and resoundingly heard that these are the best, so I ordered this combo pack.
Clothes: I want C to look cute, but let’s face it most of the stuff she wears to school is going to get ruined. Enter, H&M (now online, hurray and 20% off kids until August 25 code: 0736!), tonnes of adorable and affordable stuff, that I don’t mind her ruining.