Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?
If your child has recently started speaking, walking, and taking an interest in other kids at the park, you may be starting to wonder if it’s time to enroll them in preschool. Or the notion may have entered your thoughts the moment you knew there was a bun in the oven. In some areas, choosing the right preschool and entering your progeny early has become extremely important and competitive. The right preschool could determine whether or not a kid is accepted into the best private schools or relegated to city public schools. Of course, most parents don’t start planning for the college their kids will attend when the rugrats are still in diapers, but then again, most of us don’t live in Manhattan or Malibu.
In general, children age 3-5 are considered good candidates for preschool. Of course, it’s going to vary from one tot to the next, but there are several signals you can look for to let you know if your child might be ready to let go of your skirt and venture out on his own (so to speak). Although you may not have a choice about pushing them out of the nest early (daycare has become increasingly necessary for families where both parents must work to support the household), if you can keep them at home a bit longer, it may not be a bad thing.
One item that is at the top of the list for many preschool facilities is potty training. While preschool is certainly a way to acclimate children to the scheduling format of school and get them used to interacting socially and paying attention to an authority figure (other than you), it is first and foremost an educational program that prepares kids to learn. To that end, no teacher wants to spend all day changing diapers for twenty kids (which is why three is generally about the youngest to start a child in preschool). So if your babe is still in swaddling, then perhaps daycare is a better choice.
In addition, many children are simply not ready for separation. A penchant for tantrums every time you try to tear yourself away from your child is a good indication that they’re not quite ready to be away from you for several hours a day. While it’s common for kids to go through this type of phase when they’re young, you don’t need to cause yourself or your bundle of joy extreme undue stress just because they “should be” ready for it. If you can let them go at their own pace to some extent, they will likely outgrow their clinging and seek new experiences and adventures without you.
Finally, you can often gauge their level of readiness for preschool by observing their social interactions. An ability to communicate with others (peers and adults alike) and a willingness to join groups of kids on the playground or in other social settings are both excellent benchmarks to go by. The truth is, several factors must be considered when determining the readiness of a particular child to enter the arena of institutional learning, even at this basic level. So consider the personality and development of your child (more so than age) when deciding the right time to enroll them in preschool.
Sarah Danielson writes for The Best Degrees where you can find information on tops schools and find out which fields offer the highest paying jobs upon graduation.