We chatted with Mary Johnson- Executive Director of All Things Bright and Beautiful preschool in Kenilworth, IL to get some expert advice on how to cope if your preschool closes.
Guess what? Your child would rather be at school!
First and foremost, acknowledge that your child is sad not to go to school. “Kids really enjoy seeing their friends and playing at school,” says Mary, so be sure to explain to them what is happening. Mary suggests language like, “It’s OK to be sad and frustrated. But it’s like a red stop light – while it’s red we have to stay home and wait, but once it turns green we can go back to school!”
Keep a routine….and start singing!
Let the kids sleep in (if they will), but make sure to “keep their school day routine intact” says Mary. This means have breakfast, get dressed and go into the playroom or other area of the house to start “school at home”.
“Begin the day like we begin it at school, with ‘circle time’ on the rug,” suggests Mary. Our All Around Learning Circle Time Activity Set is the perfect addition to this activity! Use music and physicality to get your kids engaged and paying attention. Mary says: “Music is key, don’t worry about melody or if you can sing, just be animated and engaged!”
Make up your own lyrics to classic songs like Wheels on the Bus and Row, Row Your Boat:
Everyone knows these songs, but Mary suggests adding a twist to keep kids learning, like “Where should we go on our bus? The zoo? The animal farm? What animals are we going to see?” Encourage kids to name the animals they are going to see and act them out by making sounds or imitating how the animal moves. Once you are done singing, get out the paper plates and crayons and have the kids make colorful masks of the animals they were just pretending to be. They can continue to add new animals each day they are at home (crocodiles! giraffes! cows!) This activity pairs perfect with our Jumbo Jungle Animals, Jumbo Farm Animals, and our Jumbo Ocean Animals! Once you run out of animals, kids can row their boat to the beach, the park, their best friend’s house, etc.
Have a parade!
Get out the Tupperware and the wooden spoons and start singing and marching around the house. Ask your kids music–related questions like “Can you think of an instrument that has strings?” “What does a trombone look like?” or “What instrument do you want to learn to play?”
Extend the preschool curriculum to home
At Mary’s preschool, the junior kindergarten class learns a letter of the week and currently they are on the letter S. “It’s important to keep the learning going at home” says Mary. She suggests that you have a scavenger hunt around the house looking for things that start with the letter of the week. Additionally, Mary has shared with us some traceable letter worksheets teachers use at her preschool that you can download here.
According to Mary, the most important thing you can do is “minimize the screens. It’s so easy to keep preschoolers engaged just by asking simple easy learning questions like- can you find an object that is red? Can you describe the weather today? Or ask them to draw a picture that shows their favorite activity.” The Trace & Learn Writing Activity Set is a great tool to help your child with writing letters, shapes, lines and more!
Thanks Mary- we appreciate your advice!