Improving My Educational Opportunities

Is Your Child Ready For Preschool?

If you're the parent of a toddler, you may find yourself constantly in awe at the speed with which he or she picks up new skills, words, and understanding. And for those whose current daycare arrangements don't provide much in the way of structured education, you may be wondering whether this is the right time to send your child to preschool a few days per week. While preschool programs can provide innumerable benefits to most children, not all may be ready for this additional structure at the same time as their peers, and it's important to determine whether preschool is a good fit for your child's current situation before seeking enrollment. Read on to learn more about the factors you'll want to consider when evaluating whether preschool is the right choice for your child.

What factors will you need to consider before enrolling your child in preschool?

Preschool is designed to prepare young children for the more rigorous academic schedule of kindergarten and elementary school, while still maintaining many of the play elements of daycare. Ideally, by the time a child leaves preschool, he or she will be independent enough to handle the full schedule of an entire school day. Some of the factors you'll want to consider when deciding whether or not your child is ready include:

  • Independence and attachment

If your child still throws a temper tantrum or shows signs of panic whenever you or a trusted caregiver isn't near, he or she may struggle with the independence required of preschool enrollees. On the other hand, children who are able to play by themselves or with others and who tend only to cry for a minute or two (if at all) during morning drop-offs may be ready to transition to preschool.

  • Potty training

While most preschools will accept children who are still learning to use the toilet, if your child seems to be especially struggling with the potty-training process or shows fear at using the toilet, he or she may do better in a more unstructured daycare environment that allows for frequent toilet breaks, rather than a preschool where these bathroom breaks are primarily pre-scheduled. Children who have been potty-trained for some period or seemed to be poised for a breakthrough may be better candidates for a preschool program.

  • Nap needs

Many three- and four-year-olds are beginning to age out of their need for a nap, while others may still need a solid few hours a day. Unless the preschool you're considering has a scheduled naptime, parents of children who require a greater amount of sleep may want to postpone preschool until a short nap (or none at all) will suffice.