Do you want to get a head start on your child’s education but aren’t sure if they are ready?
Many parents struggle with the decision to send their children to pre-school and other early-learning programs. Children as young as two can be enrolled in some early-schooling programs instead of the usual daycare. Since all children develop at a different pace, there is no one-size-fits-all age to start school, but most children will benefit greatly from being in a classroom-like environment prior to starting kindergarten.
Below are some questions the average parent can answer to tell whether or not their young child is ready for a more structured environment.
- Is Your Child Healthy? The most important factor to consider when deciding to enroll your child in any school or daycare environment is whether or not they are in good physical health.
As the number of children attending a program rises, so do the chances of your child being exposed to common childhood diseases, viruses, and bacterias. Most healthy children can combat these ailments with ease, but children with weakened immune systems or who are already battling an illness could be at risk of becoming very ill when exposed to large groups.
- Does your child have separation anxiety? If your child is comfortable being apart from you, this is an excellent indicator of preschool readiness. But if your child has a meltdown at the slightest hint of separation, you might need to work on easing them into the transition. In most cases, children will calm down within 15 minutes of parents leaving. If your child is having a harder time than normal, most experts suggest doing some trial mini-separations and playdates in the month prior to the start of school.
- Does your child have positive interactions with other children? If your child doesn’t have any siblings and hasn’t had frequent exposure to other kids, suddenly finding themselves in a room surrounded by other children could have some negative consequences. To help prepare your child, look for opportunities for them to play with others in order to help them become more mindful of sharing, taking turns, and understanding appropriate behavior.
- Is your child potty trained? Some preschools will not accept children that are not potty trained while others will make an exception for disposable pull ups even if they don’t allow diapers. Make sure you check with the preschools in your area to see what their policy is on toilet training.
- Can they communicate? One indication that a child may not yet be ready for preschool is if they are truly struggling to communicate — which would create a frustrating situation for the child, the teacher, and the child’s classmates. Successful communication doesn’t need to be verbal, but a child does need to be willing to express his needs and desires to his teacher, whether it be tugging on a sleeve to go to the bathroom or pointing to indicate a desired activity or object. They should also be able to understand basic questions and commands someone might be giving them.
When you are shopping for schools, be sure to select a program that won’t push your child too far out of his comfort zone — allowing for a positive first educational experience. Parents need to choose the right program for their child’s developmental stage or special needs.
Moosey’s Preschool has some of the best VPK, day care, aftercare, and summercamps in your area!