Before young learners enter preschool they must possess certain rudimentary skills that would allow them to handle everyday tasks and take care of themselves. These adaptive (or self-care) skills include everything from getting dressed to feeding oneself, carrying out chores and cleanliness, all of which are essential before they draw near school age.
As preschool teachers, you must take advantage of the fact that toddlers are determined to be independent, by encouraging them to become self-sufficient you can help in their overall development.
- Break it to make it – Breaking down bigger tasks into smaller ones thereby reducing the steps required to perform the task help in making it less intimidating. For instance, telling a child to pack his bag may seem overwhelming, but breaking the process down into smaller steps makes it much less daunting.
- The power of feedback – We give feedback on the child’s behavior and activities, but the instructor must remember to give constructive feedback. Also, one must not forget to appreciate the child on his good behavior, this increases their likelihood of attempting the same task again.
- Dressing up for outdoor play – Dressing up is a great tool for building adaptive skills. Early professionals must encourage the learners to independently get dressed for outdoor play. Whenever possible they should put on their own shoes, hats, jackets or gloves. Through this simple yet significant activity, young learners learn both fine and gross motor skills.
- Actions speak louder than words – Through Show and Tell activity simple tasks like packing the school bag, feeding themselves or simple chores can be demonstrated to the child. The instructor must get feedback from the learners to determine if they have understood the concept or if they have any queries.
- Grooming skills and toilet training – Caregivers can help reinforce proper grooming and toilet training skills. Pretend play also helps in teaching the child the importance of maintaining hygiene, brushing teeth, hand-washing etc.