8 surprising skills your tot learns in preschool

Letters and numbers aside, your tot acquires vital life skills in preschool that are crucial to his growth.


Entering preschool is an important milestone in your peewee’s life. He might be jumpy or feel super-psyched for his first day. As parents, we also feel nervous about this major step. Yet, we know that preschool ― whether its daycare or a nursery class ― is critical to junior’s growth and learning.

Besides his ABCs and 123s, shapes and colours, your little one will embark on an incredible journey in preschool during which he’ll begin to acquire critical life skills. Beyond being able to read, write and know his numbers, you little learner will be exposed to other non-academic concepts and skills that are just as important to his growth and development. These include:

1. Respect for authority

Positive and nurturing teacher-child relationships will have a significant impact on your little one. Learning to trust, respect and listen to another adult in authority (besides yourself) is a necessary skill that will see your child through his later years, as he moves into different classes or schools.

A secure and supportive teacher gives your preschooler the ability and confidence to try new things and feel comfortable with new experiences, even when you are not around. “My daughter had always clung to me for dear life in any social situation. But since starting at her childcare centre, she has learnt to trust other people and stand more on her own two feet,” says Gwendoline Lim, mum to Kylene, 3.

2. Learning to self regulate

Toddlers tend to live in the moment ― how many times have you asked junior to go brush his teeth, only to find that he got distracted midway when he picked up a toy (or two)?

Preschool, with its routines and schedules, enhances your child’s self-regulation skills. Your child learns that when the teacher says it’s five minutes to the end of playground time, she means it, and it means that he has to go down the slide one last time, or start putting away those buckets. 

School is his first step into truly exploring the world, and belonging to a community that exists beyond his family and home.

3. Being part of a community

Before entering preschool, your tyke’s world might have revolved around himself, his parents, and perhaps a couple of family members. School is his first step into truly exploring the world, and belonging to a community that exists beyond his family and home.

He might be thrilled that he belongs to Class N1A, is part of the blue group and his best bud is his classmate Brian. Through preschool, he is encouraged to think about himself within a larger context. He will begin to learn about the similarities and differences among different people and groups.

4. Socialise with peers

Parents often cite this as their main reason for sending their kids to preschool. Getting to know other kids of the same age and developmental stage allows your little one to develop skills like self-control, empathy, as well as hone on his communication skills.

Your tot starts to realise that there are other little people in the world who have feelings, needs and desires just like he does. He learns that if he treats another child a certain way, that person is likely to get upset. Peer socialisation allows children to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate social behaviours.

Even preschoolers can learn responsibility…more ahead!