Figuring out when to send a child to preschool is a tough decision. Unlike primary school, where there’s a natural starting age, kids can start preschool in their early or late toddler years.
There’s no one right age for preschool. Many factors come into play, such as the child’s maturity, the nature and expectations of the preschool, and what works best for the family. Read on for some tips on figuring out the perfect preschool age for children.
What Age Is Preschool?
Many people wonder: at what age should children attend preschool? It’s a valid question because kids attend preschool at several ages. While there are a few rare preschools that serve one-year-olds and younger, most preschools accept kids between the ages of two and four.
Preschools typically start at two and have a program that kids can progress through over the next three years. Some preschool programs are focused on preparing kids for kindergarten and may be more academically focused. These schools are usually for four-year-olds and are an early year education.
How to Know If a Child is Ready
One of the most significant factors in deciding if it’s time for a child to attend preschool is the child.
Kids are less likely to be successful at preschool if they’re not ready. A child should be able to be away from their parents for at least a few hours. They should also be able to follow basic directions and focus on age-appropriate tasks.
Kids should enjoy spending time with other kids and may be expressing a desire to play with others their own age. Some preschools also require kids to be potty trained.
Visit Local Schools
It’s difficult to know if kids are ready to start preschool without actually visiting some local schools. Not all schools are the same. While some kids may not be prepared for a strict, academically-based preschool, a school focused on play-based learning may be the perfect fit.
Local schools can help parents figure out what preschool age is and if their child is ready to attend their school.
Pros and Cons of Starting Preschool Early
There are many pros and cons to starting preschool at an early age. Parents should consider these pros and cons before deciding when to send their children to preschool.
- Your child will prepare for procedures and following directions when they get to kindergarten.
- They can develop social skills from an early age.
- They can often learn more than they would at home.
- The wrong preschool may make them dislike school.
- The school environment may put too much pressure on your child.
- Going to school could lead to separation anxiety.
Pros and Cons of Waiting to Start Preschool
There are also advantages and disadvantages to waiting to start preschool.
- Your child may be more ready for an unfamiliar situation.
- They will have more time at home with their parents.
- Older kids may get more from an academic preschool.
- Your child may not be as prepared for kindergarten.
- They may not understand how to play well with other children when they move to a higher grade.
Preparing Kids for Preschool
If you’ve decided to send your child to preschool, there are a few ways to prepare your child for preschool.
First, you should let the child visit the preschool, preferably a couple of times. The first time should be when school is out. They can look around the school and meet their teacher. Then, let them sit in on a class for a couple of hours.
Parents should also help their kids with basic skills. They should be able to put on and remove their coat, use the toilet, wash their hands on their own, and open everything in their lunchbox.
The decision about when to start preschool is often the first decision many parents make about their child’s education. It can feel overwhelming.
However, as long as parents find a preschool that matches their children’s temperaments and learning styles, their kids should have a great experience.
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