So far in the preschool basics series we’ve explored preschool milestones, preschool reading skills, preschool math skills, and preschool science skills. In addition to what I will loosely call the core academic areas of preschool skills that we have already discussed, there are other skills that are an important part of preschool instruction. We’ll take a brief look at them here, and as in the other areas I’ll provide you with a free printable that outlines some activity ideas to use in your home preschool routine.
Although these skills are being shared last, it is important to know that these are possibly the most important concepts for preschoolers to work on. It is these “soft” skills that serve students best as they enter kindergarten. Reading, math, and science help form a good foundation, but those skills will come eventually if there is a strong enough foundation in play-based learning that encourages these additional preschool concepts.
Why are these included last then? Quite simply, parents and teachers tend to find teaching reading, math and science more straightforward. We can create activities, do them, and see results almost immediately. These additional preschool concepts are more abstract and they develop much more slowly over time. They are the result of continuous play and learning in a nurturing environment.
As I’ve said in the previous preschool basics posts, please know that this is just an overview. If you have specific questions or need additional information, please head over to the Home Preschool Help Facebook Group and we’ll be glad to help!
Additional Preschool Concepts
Social and emotional development involves communicating with others, attempting to solve problems, taking turns, and maintaining self control.
Fine motor skills are those skills that help strengthen small motor muscles. Often in preschool we discuss how strengthening fine motor skills helps students with writing, so fine motor skills could also be considered pre-reading skills. However, fine motor skills are also needed for many self-help tasks like buttoning clothing, zipping jackets, and opening and closing objects like lunchboxes and backpacks. We’ve shared some excellent hands-on ways to improve fine motor skills in the past.
Gross motor skills are those skills that involve strengthening large motor muscles. Examples include running, jumping, kicking, balancing and throwing. Not only can gross motor skills be developed through extensive outdoor play, there are also a lot of fun learning activities you can do to combine gross motor skills with other learning goals.
The arts include observing and creating through music, paint, clay, drama, and more. We’ve shared a lot of art activity ideas over the year for different holidays and any time of year.
Pretend play is a key part of early childhood development. It is often considered part of early literacy instruction as well as social and emotional development, but I wanted to mention it separately here. Through pretend play children have the opportunity to act out different scenarios and practice skills they are learning. They also develop creativity, story telling abilities, and problem solving skills.
Sensory play is a broad area that involves any activity that stimulates a child’s senses. It can be considered an area of science, but sensory exploration can also be incorporated into many other learning areas like pretend play and the arts. Pop over to our sensory play activities section for some ideas to use during home preschool.
As with the other preschool basics posts we wanted to make it very easy for you to integrate these activities into your routine, so we’ve outlined the key areas and some low-prep activities that you can do to help teach them.
In the free printable below you’ll find a list of preschool soft skills activities that can be done with toys and materials you have at home.
Take a look at the other soft skills goals you’ve selected for your child.
Review the activities in the Toolbox and select a few to use during your first weeks of home preschool.
Jot down any additional ideas you have for teaching those skills.
This is Unit 2, Lesson 5 of the Guide to Getting Started with Home Preschool. Return to the main Teaching Homeschool Preschool page or proceed to Unit 3, Lesson 1: Develop a Long Term Plan (coming soon).