This pretend play school idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Allison McDonald.
“Everyday play is what childhood should be about.” -Allison
Children aren’t always the best at expressing their anxiety. It might come out through naughty behavior, sleep disruption or tearfulness but it’s rare to come out as a clear statement that parents can act on easily. Every year before school starts one of the things I like to do is use pretend play to act out school especially with my youngest who is still adjusting to separating from me. Here is how we did it and how you can too.
- Set up a pretend play school as much like the school or daycare your child will be attending in your own home. Improvise with what you have but try to incorporate as many of the elements your child can expect to see as possible. We used an easel, play clay, alphabet and number puzzles.
- Ask your child who they want to be in the pretend play, don’t assume that they want to be the student. Many will want to be the teacher and have some control in a situation that they won’t have as much control in in real life.
- Incorporate skills and every day routines like taking attendance and sitting still and listening at circle time.
- Set up stations and let your child teach you or their dollies all about it. Let them be the expert! We had one for playdough, a writing center which I actually always have set up in our playroom with stamps, markers and crayons. We also had blocks and a reading corner.
My daughter was one teacher and I was the other. Her dolls were our pupils. Since setting this up a few days ago we’ve been playing non stop. Now we have just 4 dollies sitting in a plastic tub that can easily be moved from one station to the next.
This activity is designed to open up the dialog, let your child feel like they have some control over school and to give them a safe space to ask about the things they are unsure about. Talk about going potty at school, talk about snacks and lunch if they have them and about what happens if they get hurt. As parents we worry that kids will only get concerned about things if we bring them up, but in my experience as a parent and a teacher who was gently prying the kids off their parents those first few days, going over possible worries before hand works.
How do you get your kids ready for school ?
* * *
Allison McDonald is founder and editor of No Time For Flash Cards. She has been teaching children in various capacities since 1993, so she has done her share of crafts, songs and circle times! Her son’s birth brought her home, and her love of teaching and helping other parents sparked the idea for No Time for Flash Cards. Early-childhood education is her passion . . . her heart belongs to the little guys! Get to know Allie and see her creative kids’ crafts and educational activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.