Preschool is the “golden age” of childhood for children to build fundamental skills grounded in curriculum, as well as to start developing their social skills and behavior.
Parents are not always sure when is the right time to let their kids go to preschools so we wrote six signs to help you determine if your child is ready for preschool.
Can your child separate from you?
Children need to feel safe wherever they are.
That’s actually the source of building their confidence and if they don’t feel comfortable being in a totally new environment with a group of people that they have never met, they won’t be able to enjoy themselves, and focus on learning or playing.
To prepare yourself and your kids, you may want to try leaving them with other family members during the weekend.
Before going, you should encourage them to play with some STEM toys that require more of their attention while you are away.
Also, STEM toys, such as puzzles, building blocks, and magnetic building tiles, can help them develop independent thinking and abilities.
Your child will gradually get used to interacting, learning, and eating with others.
Does your child follow directions?
When children are put in a new environment, they have to feel safe and comfortable before trusting their teachers and following their directions.
They need to have self-awareness and believe that they are a valued part of the community.
If your child doesn’t follow directions, you may want to start working on some simple one and two-step directions practice at home.
Keep in mind that you need their trust in order to teach them. Make sure you lead by example instead of just telling your child what to do.
Can they manage the school schedule?
Preschools are usually curriculum-based.
That means they have a schedule with tasks or activities for kids to follow: learning time, reading time, playtime, and lunch.
It requires your child to be able to follow instructions and handle different tasks and activities independently.
To get your child better prepared for this, you may need to work on their transitioning ability.
For example, you can try experimenting with a daily routine for a few weeks with allocated time slots (similar to a school schedule) for reading, story time, playtime, lunchtime, nap time, and cleaning-ups throughout the day.
Can they communicate clearly?
A preschool doesn’t expect a 3-year-old child to have excellent speaking skills, but they are expected to understand others and in response, express what they are trying to communicate
More specifically, they should be ready to use simple sentences of several words clearly to express their needs and feelings, ask for help when needed, communicate, and interact with other kids.
Ideally, your child should be able to describe something interesting they would like to share in class.
Are they ready to participate in group activities with others?
Independent skills are essential in preschools, however, being able to work in a team (teamwork skills) cannot be ignored before you decide to send your child to preschool.
Interactive activities or games are part of the curriculum in most preschool programmes.
To participate in group activities, teachers expect children to sit still, follow one or two-step directions, and understand what other kids are trying to say.
Children should be able to manage their emotions and express their opinions clearly in a respectful way. It’s essential that they be able to get well along with other kids.
Last but not least, your child should have a desire to explore with other kids and be able to focus on a task or activity for a more extended period.
Is your child potty trained?
Potty training, also known as toilet training, is one of the primary skills in kids’ development milestones.
Preschools usually require preschoolers to be well potty trained so as to make it easier for them to take care of themselves and have an enjoyable time throughout the day.
That is to say, they are expected to be able to use the toilet and wash their hands appropriately.
Potty training usually involves physical, cognitive, emotional, and communication skills so that kids can understand and follow your instructions appropriately.
You shouldn’t worry too much if your child doesn’t show all these six signs at the age of 3.
Children learn every day and at different rates- all you need to do is to be patient. Be a role model for your child and little by little, he or she will be ready.