Preschool is usually where children start learning the basics required to begin reading and writing. They might learn the letters and sometimes even begin learning how to write their names. One thing you can do as a parent to help make the transition to preschool easier on your child is begin working on the alphabet at home first. This way, your child will already be somewhat familiar with what he or she is learning once the teacher starts teaching the alphabet. The preschool lessons will solidify the information in your child's mind instead of being their first exposure to it.
So how should you go about teaching your child the alphabet? There are many different approaches, but here are a few ideas that work well for a lot of children.
Make flash cards.
Take some index cards, and use a marker to draw big, clear letters on each one. Make a capital and lowercase "A" on one card, a capital and lowercase "B" on another card, and so forth. Start with just a stack of five or six letters so your child does not get overwhelmed. Every once in a while, for just a few minutes at a time, show your child a card and ask "What's this?" If they don't name the letter, gently tell them the answer. Once your child has mastered the cards in the pile, add a few new ones. Keep the originals in rotation so your child is reminded of them.
Point out letters in the world around you.
When you and your child are out and about and come across words, point out the letters. For example, when you see the word "apple" in the grocery store, say "Look Jimmy, it's an A!" Make sure the letters you're pointing out are in clear print. You don't want to confuse your child by showing them fancy or cursive letters when the ones on your flashcards are all in basic print.
Choose a "letter of the week."
This is an approach that is often used in preschools and kindergartens, and it's one you can use at home, too. Choose a letter to focus on each week. For example, during the first week, you can focus on the letter "A." Have your child practice drawing the letter, eat foods that start with "A" (like apple sauce, apricots, and almonds), and point out things that start with "A" while you're out and about.
While your child will learn the alphabet in their child care center, starting these lessons at home will have them ahead of the game so they get more out of their lessons at school.