Preschool: Helping your child get the most out of schooling at ages 3-4

The purpose of preschool

High-quality preschool programs are designed to help prepare children for kindergarten in several ways. Two of the most important areas are:

  1. Optimizing social-emotional skills by giving 3-4 year olds the opportunity to practice these skills in a safe, supportive environment
  2. Getting children accustomed to the structure of a classroom environment.

While your child is in preschool, you can help them develop basic skills by:

  • Being sure not to pressure your child into reading and writing. Making these activities seem like a task instead of a joy is a quick way to take the fun out of learning.
  • Giving your child opportunities to sort and classify different objects. Sorting playing cards, identifying items of certain colors on car rides, and separating dinosaur toys from zoo animal toys are all good ways to practice discernment skills.
  • Making reading and writing part of daily life. Have paper and crayons around and encourage your child to play with them. Have your child make up stories for picture books.
  • Playing rhyming games to help your child start to recognize similar sounds.
  • Encouraging your child to do new things, and then praising him when he does it all by himself
  • Reminding your child of your expectations for behavior. When you’re entering the grocery store, for example, you can say something like, “Remember when we’re shopping, we don’t touch things. I’ll remind you by saying ‘Hands up.’”
  • Making sure your child has opportunities to work on projects and share toys with other children. It’s good practice!
  • Getting a pair of children’s scissors and some pencils for your child so she can practice writing and cutting.

Want to know more about Kindergarten readiness in Nebraska? Download the eBook.


Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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Posted in Early Childhood

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