The transition between the infant-toddler centre and preschool is a time of major change for children, but also for parents and the whole family.
Scientific research tells us that from the age of three, children are able to think and imagine creatively, invent fantasy stories and communicate with their first complete sentences.
Why does my child always talk about himself/herself?
This is defined as egocentric speech because children talk about their world as if they were the only true actor in it.
Moreover, their social sphere expands, they share toys, play with their peers and seek interaction, though always focusing on their own point of view, indeed sometimes they even talk to themselves! During this period, children interact with peers, begin to hold short conversations, defend their toys but are prepared to share them with their best friends.
What if my child starts to rebel, always says “no” and often fights with his/her peers?
As their thinking skills develop, children lay the first building blocks for building their personality. They know they can go against the rules and very often test their parents’ patience through the most spectacular tantrums. This is when caregivers play a key role in setting the rules of behaviour that children put into practice in their social context. It’s through the adult’s guidance that the child learns and understands the main interaction methods and the first exchanges of the magic words “thank you”, “please” and “sorry”.
My child never stands still and has no perception of danger, what can I do?
During this period, children are going through a phase of exploration of the world around them and of the self. The French theorist and expert on human movement Le Boulch talks about the perceived body as the stage of actively experiencing external reality that children go through from 3 to 6-7 years of age. During this phase, children live, play and learn through movement, are able to describe and verbalise what happens and to increasingly enrich the complexity of play activities.
Children can sometimes seem fearless, but in actual fact they are perceiving and analysing the environment and space. They begin to coordinate their movements, distinguish between large and smaller spaces, and try to keep their balance in different ways on unstable surfaces. All these attempts are vital for a child’s healthy psychomotor development. Just think how many times we say, “John, get down from there or you’ll fall and hurt yourself!” when John actually can’t wait to come tumbling down!
When do children start drawing their first pictures and writing their first words?
We can talk about graphic representation starting from 3 years old, when the child is able to draw the first simple marks on a sheet of paper (rudimentary dots, lines and circles). Children’s drawings feature their first stylised human figures, the typical little man with a big head (a large head and a small body), houses, trees, and everything which interests them at that particular point in time. We should always remember that the most powerful driver of our children’s learning is their motivation. Let’s give them the freedom to imagine and represent the elements and objects of their fantasy.
And what if a child gives up when facing a challenge?
If children can’t get their shoes on, get upset, cry and then give up, for instance, we can try to help without doing it for them. We can explain to them how to do it, provide strategies to enable them to manage this little big feat by themselves. But if we do it instead of letting them do it, we are only confirming the fact that they can’t manage it by themselves. Their smile once they’ve overcome the challenge will be their most sincere expression of gratitude.
Camaioni L., Di Blasio P. Psicologia dello sviluppo Il mulino, 2002
Karl Ernst e Walter Bucher. Educazione fisica, scuola dell’infanzia volume 2
Le Boulch J. Educare con il movimento Armando editore, 2003