Preschool Children: Know Their Needs and Characteristics

Preschoolers are curious about everything that they see and hear. This is a great time for caregivers, both parents and teachers, to mold the children’s minds and encourage them to use their creativity and imagination. This is also an important time for adults to teach social skills to help them adapt to a new environment filled with other kids. The world is widening for preschool kids and it is important for parents and teachers to give them the encouragement and opportunity to explore their world and build relationships with others, apart from members of their family.

What do preschool kids need?
It is important for parents to know what their preschooler needs to prepare for kindergarten and the world outside their homes. When you enroll your little one to a preschool, you need to make sure that it has everything that will help in developing your child socially, intellectually and emotionally. Here are some of the things that preschoolers need to adjust in their new environment:

  • Encouragement from parents and teachers to explore and learn.
  • A clean and bright preschool environment that makes them feel comfortable the moment they step in.
  • A neat and tidy classroom that has every item in an appropriate place that will make it easy for the kids to find what they want.
  • Social interaction with large and small groups of other little kids.
  • Hands-on experience with toys and other items that teach them something new.
  • Toys and games that develop problem solving and manipulative play skills.
  • Equal balance of indoor activities and outdoor playtime.
  • Learning to develop their intellectual, cognitive and motor skills which will be required as they enter kindergarten.

Parents and other adults in preschool children’s lives need to encourage the little ones to be curious, think on their own and be creative.

What are the social characteristics of preschool kids?
At this age, kids do not have the ability to understand other people’s emotions or perceptions. They are in their own world and the world is seen only through their eyes alone. Yes, they are egocentric; however, the adults in their lives still have a major influence on them. They are beginning to show their independence and capabilities. At this age, they are also eager to meet and play with new kids but may not know how to approach them due to shyness or fear of rejection. There are preschoolers who prefer to play on their own, which is why parents and teachers need to encourage them to make an effort to play in a group with other kids of their age.

What are the intellectual characteristics of preschool kids?
Preschool children have a very concrete and literal thinking capacity. They do not think figuratively as older kids or adults do. They also do not have reasoning capabilities yet. At this age, kids love to explore and touch, feel, smell, taste, watch and wonder about everything around them. They also begin to show signs of taking initiative and creativity. Books, building blocks and little puzzles are a few of the things that fascinate preschoolers as they allow them to use their intellect to learn new things and improve the development of their fine motor skills.

What are the emotional characteristics of preschool kids?
Kids at this age display their emotions in ways that they only know how. Anger and quarreling is quite common with preschooler children. They do not recognize the concept of self-control which is why they often lash out at anyone who angers them. Other characteristics of kids of this age-group are jealousy and attention-seeking. They do not have the capability to express their feelings or emotions verbally which is why many tend to have tantrums at home and in the classroom.

Parents and other adult care-givers have many responsibilities towards preschoolers as this is the perfect time for them to teach them the skills necessary for them to develop emotionally, intellectually and socially. Preschool teachers need to include different activities that will help them especially when they move on to kindergarten. A mix of fun and educational activities is crucial at this point. Parents and preschool care-givers should work together to make sure that preschoolers develop at their own pace. Nurturing their strengths is also important. Let them explore and experiment and get to know the world around them!

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

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