PreK Pals Ponderings: Get the Deets on your Child’s School Day by Asking the Right Questions

11 Sep 2019 Alicia Jenne
Meet James (4), one of Mrs. Jenne’s new PreK Pals. He’s a Magna-Tiles building master. Meet James (4), one of Mrs. Jenne’s new PreK Pals. He’s a Magna-Tiles building master. Alicia Jenne

I recently had a friend in another state complain that she didn’t know what her child did at school all day. I was a little confused, so I probed a little further. It turns out that she was eagerly waiting to pick up her child from PreK and once they were in the car she was asking, “What did you do at school today?” Her child would inevitably reply, “Nothing” or “I don’t know.”  

This was becoming a source of frustration and an impasse between my friend and her child. I assured her that they were indeed learning amazing things in the PreK classroom, but she was going about it all wrong if she wanted to get the daily happenings.  

Now that school is back in session, I’d like to give you a few tips to get your PreKPal to open up and talk about their day.  I know you are eager – but give them a little down time. Maybe play some fun music in the car instead of talking. Everyone needs a few minutes to decompress.  

Don’t ask broad questions. “What did you do today?” covers a huge expanse of time for a 4-year-old. Be specific. Sit with your child and color, play with playdoh, or have a snack. When their hands are busy, their mind can open up, and the conversation is more natural.   

Ask questions like: 

  • Who did you play with at recess? 
  • What funny thing happened? 
  • In what way were you kind? 
  • Did you build anything cool with blocks? 
  • Sing your favorite song from school! 
  • How were you helpful? 
  • Who was kind to you? 
  • Who had the yummiest snack? 


PreKPals love to share. They love to tell everything about their day if you ask them in specific ways. Time is abstract to four-year olds. One of my newest PrekPals is fond of asking me, “Hey, Mrs. Jenne’? Will you help me build a big house with the Magna-Tiles... you know? Like we did last year? (We’d been in school for 6 days at this point). See? Six days? Last year? It’s all the same to the PreKPals. I promise if you ask in the right way, you will learn way more than you ever wanted to know. 

Alicia Jenne is a veteran teacher of little people. She is the PreK Pals Lead Teacher for PreK#1 at Rock Quarry Elementary School. 

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