It's a pretty big milestone, seeing them off at the pre-school gates. If they're nervous, you'll probably have a lump in your throat. If they trot off without a backward glance, you'll likely feel just as teary. (I did.) The Pre-School Learning collection will help you support them before and when they get to Key Stage 1 - setting them up to feel as happy in the classroom as they are learning at home.

“One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai

Books

There's masses of compelling data on the benefits of encouraging your child to read. By the time they're nearing school, books should be a cornerstone of their play space. We love titles like Mix it Up, which teaches how colours work, how they change when they're mixed together and how you can control them. It's a great book to read to together when they're toddlers, but once they've started to read they'll love to do it with friends.

"It's a book that offers like the magic of screens, but with the charm of a book. #winning"
Helene, Buyer

Abrams & Chronicle Books Mix it Up

Abrams & Chronicle Books, Mix it Up

A lunchbox

Taking their own lunch in their own box to preschool can give them them the confidence and comfort of bringing a little bit of home with them. The EKOBO Go Bento Lunch Box is a an eco-friendly and adaptable option. A bento style box, meaning it has two removable compartments, so you can store different foods separately, is perfect for storing their sarnies and chopped fruits apart.

"It holds the perfect amount of food for snacks. It’s a great colour and really easy to clean. It’s nice to see bamboo feeding become so modern."
Cathryn, Parent Tester

EKOBO Go Bento Lunch Box

EKOBO Go Bento Lunch Box

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.”
Pablo Picasso

A table top easel

The versatile Classic World Table Top Easel is an ideal space-saving design for budding artists. They'll love swapping between the chalkboard and whiteboard, plus using the magnetic letters too. It's an ideal play and learn toy for preschoolers, giving them the opportunity to develop their creativity and spelling skills at the same time. The compact, folding design means you can move the easel from room to room, or even pack it up for trips away, for their own kind of art retreat.

"This perfectly-sized table top easel helps them to learn while they get arty."
Catherine, Buyer

Classic World Table Top Easel

Classic World Table Top Easel

A table & chair or desk

The stylish Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table & Chair is an ideal piece of furniture for any budding scholar. Designed at just the right height for preschoolers, it's great for sitting at to play, get crafty or even to enjoy a bite to eat. Created with a central chalkboard panel that is fun for scribbling on, and a hidden storage compartment, for their pens or small toys.

"We love the hidden storage compartment in the centre. It's a table that really enables open-ended play."
Helene, Buyer

Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table & Chair

Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table & Chair

A backpack

Nothing says 'you got this' more than your own backpack. Gives them the security of knowing their home comforts are safely stowed and close by. The Engel Zipper Backpack is a great environmentally friendly pick, as the outer shell is made of recycled juice bottles. The straps are made from polyester but are as soft and flexible as cotton, so it's comfy even after a hard day's graft dressing up and colouring in.

"It’s really comfortable for her to carry, especially as the straps are quite wide. She loves the independence of having her own bag."
Yasmine, Parent Tester

Engel Zipper Backpack

Engel Zipper Backpack

This may surprise you

  • The average 4-year-old already knows 5,000 words (which expands to 10,000 words aged 8 and 20,000–35,000 words by adulthood.)

  • Their brain may be at its full physical size by the time they reach preschool, but brain development doesn’t slow down until their 20s.

Dive a little deeper

Activity Village has thousands of free colouring pages, kids crafts, educational resources, puzzles and printables of all sorts.

Don't forget, CBeebies and CBBC are always on hand for educational entertainment, puzzles and games.

There's more help at hand

We hope this has helped you shop the Pre-School Learning collection.

You might find another Shop By Stage collection, or accompanying Top Pick & Tips article useful next.

Fancy some personal advice? Our Live Chat team would love to help. Just tap that purple button, bottom right.