Pre-school is the first taste of a “big school” for your kid. There is no magical pre-school age. This is because besides being three years old, which is the benchmark age for many pre-schools, there are other factors you need to consider before sending your child to school.
Whether to enroll a baby to pre-school or not is a huge decision for every parent. However, if you learn he/she is not ready for school yet, relax! There is nothing wrong with waiting to enroll them the next semester or year.
How to Know If Your Tot is Ready to Start Preschool
How old is your child?
Educators define pre-school as the two years that children study before kindergarten. Some pre-schools have a certain age limit of the kids they accept.
Most times, a kid has to be at least three years old by December of the academic year. Others will accept kids who are as young as 2.
Unfortunately, parents with children with birthdays after September may have to enroll their children the following year.
Is She Potty Trained?
Many pre-schools have a “no diaper” policy. This means that your child must be potty trained. However, educators understand when accidents happen once in a while as the child is adjusting.
It is also crucial that your child know basic self-care tips such as zipping their pants and putting on their shoes, and coat, as well as cleaning their hands.
Does He Follow Directions?
Pre-school is not super serious like high school or college. However, it is vital that your kid knows how to follow instructions because of the assorted jobs they may be required to do in pre-school. The kids may be asked to walk in line with other children, clean up and follow certain snack guidelines.
If you realize that your tot is having trouble following instructions you may start training them around the house with small tasks such as picking mail or clearing the table. While delegating duties, remember the most important thing is routine, meaning it has to be something they can do daily.
Can You Understand What He Is Saying?
No three year old has a perfect speech. However, your kid has to have basic communication skills. People should be able to understand him/her and vice versa.
Your tot should often use simple sentences of three to five words to describe something they just did, for example, a walk to the playground.
If you suspect your kid has speech issues, talk to your pediatrician. She should be able to recommend a therapist specializing in speech issues of a toddler.
How Well Does She Transition?
Most pre-schools have tough schedules. That is from painting to having a snack to crafting then carpet play and so on. Therefore, if your child is not good at transitioning, it is something you need to work on.
You can start with simple things such as letting them know they will eat their snack after taking their bath or they have to switch off the TV after a certain program.
Pre-school kids playing
Has She Ever Been Away From You?
Young children can be clingy especially if they are used to seeing their parents every day. For children who go to daycare, this is a no-brainer to them. However, it is a whole new world for children who have one parent staying at home.
If you have never been away from your toddler, you may consider staying away for a few minutes a day to train them. Start by leaving them with your neighbor when you pick up your groceries. You may even leave them with your mother if she stays around, and go around the block.
How Well Does He Socialize With Other Kids?
Most preschools have activities that children are required to do as a group, such as “circle time” which is mandatory for all kids. During these periods, they would be playing musical instruments, listening to stories or even playing.
For many kids of age 3, they may not have developed enough to have the focus to concentrate and play with other children.
You can prepare your child by planning play dates with other parents of your kid’s age around the neighborhood.
Does your child still take long naps?
Pre-schooler taking a nap
Many pre-schools schedule naps in the afternoons. Your child should be able to stay awake and active for the better part of the day. If she/he needs a mid-morning two hours nap, you may consider postponing her/his pre-school entry.
Is Pre-School or Pre-K the Same?
Typically Pre-K and Pre-School serve the same purpose of preparing children to join kindergarten. However, many schools will divide three years old and four years old, where the latter attend more classes than three-year-olds. However, the studies are the same, which include; studying ABC and numbers 1-10, and how to relate with other kids.
Is Pre-School Required
This is a debate that no one has been able to settle, for every individual who tells you it’s necessary, you’ll find someone else who tells you it’s not. Scientific studies are equally divided; they are a lot of studies and arguments that have been performed on pre-school that waffle back and forth on the necessity of pre-school.
Benefits of Pre-school
Despite these arguments, we cannot deny the many benefits that children enjoy/gain by attending pre-school. Scholars who say pre-schools are vital to a kid’s growth point to this pros for pre-school kids who are enrolled in the program;
Prepare kids for kindergarten academically. Preschool-age curricula show kids how to write their names, and teach them ABC’s.
Structure Provision. Kids learn to follow a schedule; for many, it is their first time. They learn to follow simple instructions such as sitting down for storytelling and putting away toys after use.
Social growth. It is crucial that your child learn how to interact with other children. Social interaction skills are as important as academics.
Teaches Independence. Although the teacher is there to offer help, mom and dad are not there to do everything for the kid. Your tot has to learn when they need to go to the bathroom by themselves as well as take their snack by themselves.
Physical activity. The well-being of every individual is important to everyone including children. With the high rates of obesity, many pre-schools have introduced physical activity to keep kids fit.
The question of whether or not a tot is ready to go to school is a tough decision for every parent/guardian. Sometimes, parents feel a little bit of pressure when they realize that other children are enrolling to pre-school. It is critical that all parents understand that all children are different and grow at different rates.
Instead of hurrying to take your unprepared kid to pre-school, train them if they are of age on the things they need to know before enrolling them, such as;
- Letting them stay by themselves
- Following instructions
- Following a schedule
- Use of potty
- Scheduled naps
When you are sure, your kid have mastered this acts you can enroll them to pre-school. Fortunately, all the kids are happy and quick learners.