6 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Preschool Interviews

It’s now October and we’re sure many families have upcoming preschool interviews for their children. We know how overwhelming the experience can be and want to help you make the entire process less stressful. As speech language pathologists, we wanted to share with you some age-appropriate speech and language tasks that your child may encounter during the interview and how to get them prepared.

Back to Social Basics 

Like any other social situation, your child is expected to greet people “Hi” when they walk into a room while making eye contact. You can try practicing this by having your child shake hands with people they are newly meeting and saying “Hi”. The adult may also engage your child in a simple exchange by asking basic questions such as “How are you?”, “What’s your name?”, “How old are you?”, etc.


Beyond the basic “Hi” and “Bye, children are expected to be able to take turns in a simple conversation about their day, their weekend, favorite toy, favorite movie, etc. at this age. This requires the following skills: topic maintenance, topic initiation, ability to recall past events, and a good understanding of oneself. A wonderful way to review such skills is to show your child pictures from the day or weekend and have them use these visuals for support at first.

Favorite Story 

Many times children are asked to “Tell me about your favorite story” in order to elicit a temporal narrative. At this age, children are expected to sequence a story using terms such as “First”, “Then”, “Last”, etc. The interviewers are looking for the ability to state the overall theme and some details of the story in a cohesive manner. Popular stories include “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, “Snow White”, etc. If this is something your child has difficulty with, a great way to practice is reading the story aloud before bedtime, watching a YouTube clip of it, organizing visuals of main scenes, or breaking it apart into story components (eg – character, setting, problem, resolution, etc.).


Often children are asked to draw about their summer, recent vacation, their weekend, etc. This activity is done to gauge if a child can draw upon a specific experience and summarize it. They may also be asked to provide specific details of the experience after the drawing is completed. This task also shows your child’s creativity, fine motor skills, and artistic abilities!

Following Directions 

A major part in any school day is following commands. Right when a child enters the classroom they may be told a 3-step command (eg – “Put your jacket in your cubby, lunchbox in the refrigerator, and go sit at your dot”). Although this may be second nature to us as adults, commands such as these require auditory processing, focus, and the ability to understand language. There are even instances where they have children engage in a game of Simon Says to assess possible difficulties with auditory comprehension. In this game a child not only has to follow specific commands given such as “Touch your head and jump on one foot”, but they have to be aware if someone says “Simon” or omits the word.


Depending on the structure of the interview, your child’s play skills may also be observed. Through play, children can show their imagination, language, and problem-solving skills. Around this age, children are expected to engage in activities such as simple board and card games (eg – Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Go Fish, etc.), dramatic play (eg – select a theme, assign roles, and use appropriate language to engage in their roles), and more complex puzzles (eg – 12 to 50 pieces for ages 3 to 5).

We wish you all luck on your search for a school that is the perfect fit for your child!

Image via Flickr User USAG_Humphreys