There are three levels of parental support ranging from active support to none at all with passive support being somewhere in-between. Passive support is when a parent tells the child to go do their homework versus active support which would be helping the child to complete their homework. A child’s interactions with their parents (caregivers) are what prepare them for preschool and kindergarten emotionally. By preparing them before hand, the child more easily acquires social competence in the classroom. Parents also create the stimulation for language that leads toddlers to babble and practice talking which is a skill needed before preschool experiences can begin. This leads to greater language/communication competency at younger ages, the more they practice the quicker they learn.
Mothers (caregivers) also influence competence and persistence by either being supportive of autonomy based activities or by being more controlling they lessen these feelings. This shows that parental/familial/caretaker involvement in a child’s schooling is a great influence for the child in developing both academically and socially. Although much credit is due to the parental figures at this stage in the child’s life it is agreed upon that children experience close relationships with only five to six people at a time. At this preschool age, the main people these relationships are with include family, but as mentioned earlier, the drift toward closer relationships with peers has already begun.
The peer groups that children begin to take part in help children to practice and hone the appropriate social behaviors that are expected at school as well as acting like models for one-another in new situations. In these kinds of situations the leadership role goes to the child with the most experience with the situation at hand. The other children look to the one who already has a reaction that works and they chose a reaction based off the original, either to copy it or try something else.
There are many factors that influence children at the age of beginning preschool including readiness to begin preschool, the environments they have been part of up to this point and will take part in during preschool, and most importantly the people who influence and teach them. These factors are very important because the wrong kind of influence is still an influence and at this point in their lives these children are very easy to mold. Remember, what we later grow up to be has been molded by who has raised us and the environment in which we were raised.