Master Teacher Hosts Lunch & Learn For PreK Parents

Kim Leary, master teacher at School 1, conducted her first monthly “Lunch & Learn” session for parents who have children in our preschool program. Working to ensure that the children receive all that is needed, Ms. Leary also is charged with serving as an instructional coach to the staff.

The 3- and 4-year-old preschool students at School 1 and Charles Olbon School have done a great job settling in and becoming familiar with class routines.

The goal of the Lunch & Learn was to inform the attendees of the importance of preschool and providing strategies for the parents to utilize at home in order to help each child prepare for potential challenges. Ms. Leary noted that familiar routines at home and school will help build strong health and habits for the student.

Our School District uses the Creative Curriculum which is a research-based, state approved system based in social-emotional learning and constructive play.

There are four main building blocks for preschool students as noted below. These four building blocks are interconnected and allows for each child to develop at his/her own pace.

Health & self care

This is the foundation building block. All children need to fuel and care for their bodies to maintain energy and focus. Ms. Leary noted that it's imperative for preschool students get 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night, eat healthy food, be able to do basic dressing, use the bathroom independently, and be able to say their full name and age. Routines are extremely important for children of this age. Parents can create and use a Velcro board with visuals so activities become habit, such as brushing teeth and getting dressed. A visual board shows clear expectations and keeps the child engaged. “We use routines for everything we do at school,” Ms. Leary said.

Gross & fine motor development

Both at school and home, children need to use and develop the use of small and large muscles. Activities to develop small muscles, include buttoning, zipping, using scissors, using a pencil, and coloring. Running, jumping and other physical activities which develop large muscles. Parents can help practice at home with the videos posted on Ready Rosie. Providing opportunities for practice is essential to development.

Social emotional development

This tends to be is a tough area for preschool age students. It is a difficult skill to learn how to control emotions for everyone. Parents can help by teaching the children how to handle conflicts. Being in school with others will also help develop these skills. Preschool students need to play with other children and learn to make friends. Parents can also help by using something like a sand timer to demonstrate time and help the children take ownership and be prepared.

Cognitive development

Preschool students are in the process of learning how to remember, solve problems and make decisions. While students are learning about this in school, parents can help in several ways by using flashcards or other methods to assist the children in recognizing letters and understanding how printed words have meaning by running a finger along each word during an oral reading. Parents can also play rhyming games.

“All children are different and will all develop on different timeframes,” Leary noted. “We support and build on their strengths.”

Leary encouraged parents to reach out to her anytime by emailing or 973-317-7775.