Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?
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Deciding when (and whether) to send your three-year-old to a preschool program can be an overwhelming experience! My husband and I went back and forth several times on whether to pull our daughter from her (wonderful) daycare program and enroll her in a more formal school environment.
Ultimately, we decided preschool was the right choice for her, and our family, for several reasons:
- We wanted her to be exposed to a full school curriculum with Spanish, PE, music and math instruction from certified teachers with education degrees.
- We felt that she was prepared, socially and emotionally, to move to a preschool curriculum based on her past experience in a daycare environment.
- We wanted her to get used to the rhythm and nuances of a “real” school day prior to starting pre-k. We felt that preschool would be an excellent foundation for her as she entered elementary school.
Now, that was what made the decision for our family. YOUR reasons to send, or not to send, your child to preschool will likely be totally different! That’s what makes this parenting gig so tough – there’s no one size fits all model.
But, is your child even ready? Here are a few things to look for:
They’re Potty Trained
Yep. If you’re wanting your child in a preschool program, it’s time to get busy with potty training! Most preschools require that a child can take care of their bathroom needs independently.
They Can Express Themselves
This doesn’t mean that they’re saying every word perfectly or have stellar grammar skills. They just need to be able to express themselves in a way that an unfamiliar adult can understand, as well as communicate their feelings and needs in an appropriate way.
They Can Pay Attention
…for a little bit. Preschool students should be able to pay attention to a short picture book being read aloud. Additionally, they should be able to concentrate on one activity for about 10 minutes at a time.
They Can Say Goodbye
Is your child able to leave you without too much anxiety? A child who is emotionally ready is more eager to get to school, learn, and want to make new friends.
They Know the Basics
Preschool ready students can typically identify simple shapes and colors, they can point out common objects and actions in pictures, and they can count to 3 – or maybe even 10. They like blocks and simple puzzles and can color a simple picture. They can give their full name when asked – and they like being with other children!
When you are shopping for schools, be sure to select a program that won’t push your child too far out of his or her comfort zone. You want your child to have a positive first educational experience, one that will set them up for a lifetime of loving to learn. Your child should be challenged in developmentally appropriate ways. And their intellectual, emotional, physical, and social growth should be the priority.
Preschool is truly the foundation for future learning, and a year that benefits many children. I wish you the best of luck with your search and decision making process!
Kelly Guinn is the Admissions and Marketing Director for St. Mary's Episcopal School. She is an Edmond native and a proud graduate of Edmond North High School (go Huskies)! She attended college at Texas Christian University, and aside from that brief stint as a Texan, she's been an Oklahoma girl all her life. She lives in Edmond with her husband, John, and two children, Genevieve and J.W.