How can I help my preschooler overcome shyness outside of home?
Children are shy for different reasons. For some, it is a temperament issue. They are slow to warm up and take a long time to feel safe and comfortable in a place other than home. Some children struggle with anxiety, especially around unfamiliar people or places. Whatever the reason, their shyness needs to be honored and accepted. Generally, if the adults around them can be patient, understanding and encouraging, they can learn to master social skills.
Not all children learn social skills through osmosis. Some need to be taught, and it is best to start early. You can begin by arranging play dates for your child. Getting to know a friend outside of school will help make school feel more comfortable. Practice social skills at home. Set up role-playing situations and act them out: saying hello to a teacher, giving your order to a server in a restaurant, answering a question at school, talking with a clerk in a store. Make this into a game. Decide on an out-of-home practice, and give your child a point for each time she says hello or speaks up. When she doesn't, let her know that she will when she is ready.
If this problem continues, and depending upon the age of your child, you could enroll her in a social skills group. Led by a trained psychotherapist, this is a great vehicle for developing social behavior.