It is important for a child to be socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready to be a part of the structured, daily, routine education with other groups of children. The usual age of children when they start pre-school is two and a half to three years. You can take advice from your partner, caregiver, child’s doctor etc. and decide the correct time. Putting your child in pre-school at the right time is important, the following questions may help you to decide whether your child is ready for school or not.
Does your child do basic things independently? Before going to school, it is necessary for your child to have a certain set of skills. He needs to be potty trained, he should know how to wash his hands, and eat his lunch on his own without help.
Is he okay in being away from his parents?
If your child is being cared for by an older sibling or relative, then he is used to being away from his parents. He will adjust quickly at pre-school in such a case. If not, it will be difficult for him to adjust, but he will adjust eventually. Initially, you may drop him to preschool for an hour or two and gradually, increase the time.
Can he work on projects by himself?
There are a number of art and craft projects done in pre -school which require your child’s concentration and ability. It’s the best time for you to send your child to preschool if he can engage in activities on his own, draw at home and get engrossed in solving puzzles on his own. If he’s still dependent on a caregiver for everything, then it’s not right the time. You can help him get involved in solo play for more than half an hour, he can play with constructive toys like blocks, modeling clay etc.
Can he participate in group activities?
Many preschool activities require children to play together which is difficult for a child of 3 years. They are active explorers and like to be by themselves and do not want to mingle with others. There are activities where all the children learn together, listen to stories and sing songs. In case your child is not used to it, then you may take him to the local library. When he is able to do everything by himself, according to his age, he can start preschool.
Does he follow a regular schedule?
When in pre-school, there is a set routine which one follows. Make your child habitual to a regular schedule regarding meal time, play time and then bedtime. This way a regular timetable can be followed.
Does your child have enough stamina?
Does he need a nap while doing everything that a preschool requires? There is a lot to do in preschools, there are art projects, field trips and play sessions, is your child ready to be so busy or does he require a little more time? Make your child sleep on time, you can start by sending him for a half day program and gradually increase the length of his day.
Ask yourself the reason why you want him to go to pre-school?
What are your reasons for wanting to send your child to pre-school. Is it because you want time for yourself or you need daycare for your child? Put him in preschool according to the need .A child’s mind grows rapidly during the first five years of life. That’s the time when he needs more stimulation. Does it worry you that if you didn’t send your child to pre-school he may not be ready for kindergarten? You can spend time with your loved one and he may still do well in kindergarten. It is said that if small children are cared for by someone who is genuinely concerned about their well-being and development, preschool is not needed but age-appropriate activities are required to grow. If your child seems ready to broaden social horizons and interact with other children, then it’s time to start school. If there is not enough stimulation at home or daycare you can put him in preschool.
After assessing all these, you can make your decision of sending your child to preschool.