Look into the preschool program that you want them to go to. Some programs may be geared for a young age group and are not really about formal education. They can be more about the social and play experience. Other programs can have very limited time each week and they are aiming to introduce the child to education in a very easy and gradual way. The standard preschool program today, is generally geared towards children at 3 to 4 years of age (some younger) and they aim to prepare the kid for School. Even though your child may be in the correct age group, it does not mean that they are ready. If you force a child that is not ready socially, physically, or emotionally for a formal school experience, then you could be setting up for failure. This can result in long term problems with school.
How can you determine if your child is ready for preschool or not?
Look into these three key things:
- Emotional development
- Physical development
- Social development
Personal Hygiene Readiness
Can your child attend to personal hygiene issues either independently or under supervision? Your child should already be potty trained or understand the concept of potty training and understand that they need to clean up afterward. They should start to know how to fasten or unfasten clothing. They should also be able to feed themselves with no supervision or very little supervision. They should also have the confident, that if they need help to do any of the things above, they have to approach their the teachers for help.
Your child should be able to focus on things such as coloring and being able to listen attentively. They should know how to listen and pay attention to a conversation or story for more than a few minutes.
Ability to maintain a school schedule
Will the lunch and snack times meet the nutritional needs of the child? Can the child stay awake until it is time to leave the program for the day or take a nap when it is nap time?
During preschool children will often learn many things about friendships and being social. If the child is not ready to interact with other kids preschool can be quite a rough time for the child, the family, and the class. The child should have some sort of experience when it comes to playing with other kids and even learning things such as sharing or taking turns. They also need to be a little bit exposed to learning how to work out differences. The child should know how to take directions from adults who are not the parents or primary caregivers. A child who has been cared for by a select few may have a bit of a hard time adjusting to having a new stranger care for them.
Emotions are a key thing in child development when it comes to seeing if they are ready for preschool. Do you know if your child is ready to be separated from home and the parents? Do you know how your child is when it comes to dealing with new places and new people?
If you feel your child is not ready for preschool than you should probably hold off from putting them in the program. You can work with your child in the areas you feel that need working on. Personal care and social activities can be two such things. There are many programs that can help your child ease up to the idea of preschool and they will work on things that preschool entitles. These programs go for a few hours each week and they will gradually step up to complete participation.
As young children grow up at a big pace you might need to consider that your child will need time growing into the idea of a program. It is never good to force anything on them. In the later years the child will then not felt he impact of missed months on the education. They will have a preschool experience that they will always love to remember.
When you start your child’s preschool experience when they are ready it will ultimately lead them on the road to the success of education and life.