There is one group of people whose value and expertise is often overlooked when parents start to think about preparing their child for school, and that’s early childhood educators.
Early childhood educators who have spent time with your son or daughter can offer a perspective that is very different to yours.
While you might see your child through the lens of your family, they see your child in the context of a group of similarly aged peers. They have objective and informed insights into your child’s social, emotional, physical and learning skills that might not be visible to you.
So much more than 'babysitters'
In years past, staff who worked in preschools and daycare centres have been unfairly labelled as ‘glorified babysitters’ and it’s time to challenge that misconception.
Twenty-first century early childhood educators are tertiary educated professionals with extensive training and knowledge of child development.
They are passionate about helping children make the best possible start to life and are keen to support you as you raise your child.
Early childhood centres are led by qualified teachers who have a wealth of experience to share.
While your family might be embarking on the transition to school for the first time, your child’s preschool teachers have probably walked this path with hundreds of other families.
Your child’s school readiness allies
If your child has unique needs, it’s likely that you have had more than a few conversations with your son or daughter’s early childhood educators this year. They may not have been easy but believe me when I tell you that keeping these lines of communication open is important.
No early childhood educator wants to let parents know that their child is struggling.
They don’t take pleasure in telling you that your child is finding something difficult, and they certainly don’t enjoy sharing information that you might find worrying.
However, if your child’s preschool teacher taps you on the shoulder and invites you to come by for a chat, can I encourage you to see this as an opportunity? An opportunity to get advice, information and resources from a professional who takes their responsibility to you and your child very seriously.
Helping you to make informed choices
It might be easier for your child’s preschool teachers not to say anything to you about your child’s challenges. After all, they’re going to school next year and maybe it will all turn out in the end.
But good early childhood educators don’t have this attitude.
They understand the importance of early intervention and they are committed to giving you the opportunity to make informed choices for your child.
So, in these months before school starts, I encourage you to seek out and act upon the advice you receive from your child’s preschool teachers.
Make good use of their expertise and take advantage of their practical, real-life understanding of your child’s skills and abilities.
The knowledge you gain and help they can give could be invaluable when school begins.
© 2020 Sonja Walker