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” A new study suggests that children develop critical learning-related social skills – including independence, responsibility, cooperation and self-regulation – as early as age 3, and that those social skills are important for early academic success once children get to kindergarten.”

Did you know that the best time to work on developing social skills is around 3 years old? Just the right age for preschool classes. While playdates and other social programs can help, and should be encouraged, preschool classes help with more than just social skills. Both preschool classes and at home support should be used to help your child grow and become ready for kindergarten.

Good preschool classes or pre-kindergarten classes will use tools such as visual schedules and timers to improve executive function skills. Group reading time helps identify emotions, improve listening skills, and improves concentration. Opening and closing self-story times encourage children to create timelines and helps to improve their communication. All of this encourages children to interact and build relationships all facilitated by play.

Library programs and other community events are also great ways to improve social skills and build executive function skills but they should be attended often and consistently.

At home is where the magic happens in relationship building between parents and siblings. Some simple things you can do at home to continue their learning process is to read a book together before bed every night, enjoy child-led conversations, and keep consistent, visual schedules.

Each morning the child should learn what is expected of them by using some form of a visual schedule with their parent’s guidance and a timer or clock to know when they need to be done with each task. This consistency makes mornings easier and helps the child build independence. Reading a book together before bed is also a great way to mark the end of the day and opens up some time for conversations.

Dr Dan Gartrell calls these talks “contact talks”: “Contact talks build healthy attachment between an adult and child like nothing else can. They support the development of a child’s self-esteem, social skills, thinking skills, and language abilities (key capacities for school success). If contact talks take place during physical activities, they enhance physical development.”

While Dr Gartrell suggests various ways to include these talks, it’s important to accept that your time may be limited between work, school, and other commitments. The important thing is to make sure you have these relationship-building moments even if they are grouped with another necessary activity, such as getting ready for bed.

While a good preschool program will help your child’s growth and kindergarten readiness, that can’t be the only way they prepare for the next stages of their life. The parents and teachers should be cooperating to offer the greatest level of support during the most important stages of development. One without the other is still great but can only take your child so far. If you are unsure what further support your child needs from you, ask the teachers directly working with your child and create a plan together.

It really does take a community to support the child and parents at every stage.

The Best Winter Clothing for Kids, from Head to Toe!

This winter we have a lot to look forward to! From exploring snow hills to ice crystals to making igloos and snow angels. Help your little learners stay warm and dry this winter so they can continue learning and having fun in comfort. Outside exploration has been proven to lead to a plethora of benefits that helps your child develop crucial skills. At Oak Learners, our students are outside for extended periods of time in all winter weather: snow, rain or shine. Regardless of the forecast, we will continue encouraging our students to explore the natural world around them while pushing boundaries and taking risks.

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A good pre-kindergarten program offers important skills development such as social interaction, school readiness, and improved executive function. Let’s look at them further:

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Music has been used as a form of expression for centuries. It is a powerful tool that can convey emotions and feelings in both a verbal and non-verbal setting. Learning to play an instrument allows individuals to express themselves in a limitless creative way, providing a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. This is especially important for children and teenagers who may struggle expressing themselves or have many stressors and anxiety in their life.

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As parents and educators, we all want our students to succeed in high school and beyond. At Oak Learners, we believe that small class sizes play an integral role in preparing students for success in their academic journey. In this post, we will explore and outline the benefits of smaller class sizes and how they can impact high school preparation.

How to Pick the Right Summer Camp for your Child

Summer is just around the corner and parents, it’s time to start thinking about summer camps for your kids. With so many options available both locally, and around the GTA, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your child. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing the perfect summer camp for your child that will ensure their best summer yet.

21st Century Literacies and Evolving Pedagogy

“If we teach today the way we were taught yesterday, we aren’t preparing students for today or tomorrow.” Curriculum and educational pedagogy have been rewritten innumerable times from age to age, but the essential skills students have been taught have remained the...

Top 10 Skills Middle Schoolers Need to Learn

Middle school is an important period in a student’s academic journey as it lays the foundation for future success in high school and beyond. During this time, students are faced with new challenges and responsibilities, and it is essential for them to develop certain skills to ensure their academic success. Here are the top 10 skills middle schoolers should learn for school success.

Local Hikes and Hidden Gems for Family Fun

Winter lockdown doesn’t have to mean endless screen time and being stuck indoors. There are plenty of ways to get outside and explore the amazing secret hot spots of nature, art and culture that South Etobicoke has to offer. Here are my top 3 local hikes to explore with my own family and our students at Oak Learners!

The Benefits of Kids Learning to Dance

Dancing is great exercise and form of self expression that promotes physical fitness, creativity, social connections and learning. Not only it is fun and enjoyable, but it also offers a variety of benefits that can contribute to a child’s overall health and well-being. Find out why it’s important for kids to learn how to dance!

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