Fostering Your Child’s Independence at School

Our school year has begun, and you and your child should be settling into a routine. Preschool is a wonderful opportunity to support your child’s independence in a safe and welcoming environment.

Even the youngest child can take ownership of her school experience. At two years of age, children are curious about everything around them. Your child is excited to use their new-found gross motor skills, which you have most likely witnessed as they tried climbing a bookcase. Encourage your child to walk up and down the stairs upon arrival. You may feel they are taking too long or they are slowing down others, but that’s okay. Giving them the time needed on the stairs can really help build confidence and provides an opportunity to show off their new skills to the world. Your child is also more interested in dressing and undressing themselves. While they will still need help putting a coat on and starting the zipper, they should be able to zip and unzip a jacket with assistance for you.

At three, your child is able to carry their own backpack, as well as hang it and their jacket on a hook at school. This routine not only helps them settle into the day, but it is another opportunity for them to demonstrate to you or your child’s caregiver what they are capable of doing for themselves. Better yet, it will encourage them to want to do the same at home. If you don’t have a low place for your child to hang their own coat or backpack, simply attach a 3M hook to the wall at their level.

A four-year-old is ready to dress for school. At two, they still needed a great deal of assistance, but now they can do it on their own. For many parents, this is a tough one. We often ask ourselves, “Do I let my child out of the house wearing striped pants with a polka-dot shirt on backwards?” and the answer should always be yes! Praise them for dressing independently. You may want to mention the backwards shirt, but if they want to wear it backwards, that’s okay. Some children enjoy the way clothes and shoes feel when worn backwards.

Giving your children ownership of these small tasks can go a long way towards fostering independence. As parents, we are all well aware that the days are long, but the years are short. It’s our job to help our children grow into confident, independent citizens of the world, and it all starts right here at Etz Hayim Preschool.

Upcoming Preschool Dates to Remember:

September 30th and October 1st: School Closed for Rosh Hashanah
October 8th: Pilim Day Out (Long Branch Nature Center) – School Closes at 12:30 for Kol Nidre
October 9th: School Closed for Yom Kippur
October 14th and 15th: School Closed for Sukkot
October 21st: School Closed for Shemini Atzeret
October 22nd: School Closed for Simchat Torah

September 30th and October 1st: Rosh Hashanah Tot Services at 10am. Please RSVP in the office.
October 9th: Yom Kippur Tot Service at 10am. Please RSVP in the office.
October 16th and 17th: Class Sukkot Celebrations
October 20th: Sukkah Hop with Pozez JCC Northern Virginia 2pm-3pm. Please RSVP in the office.
October 29th and 30th: School Picture Day