Few desires are more universal or inspiring than that basic drive to ensure that we bequeath to our children a better world and future than we have enjoyed ourselves. No matter who you are or what your socio-economic, political, or cultural background may be, that goal remains a constant across the whole of the human equation. Our children are the best hope for the future, and so making sure that they have the best chance at the brightest future possible is the first, most important and, indeed, proudest duty of any parent.
Today more than ever, a bright future means one that includes college. Competition for jobs is fiercer than ever before – and that’s among college graduates with a Bachelor’s degree. Without a BA, your child could find themselves shut out of the jobs they need to advance in life. With competition for jobs ever fiercer, so too is competition for university fiercer than ever before. Parents start preparing their children from a young age.
Increasingly, the first step towards graduation at a good university is enrolling your child in preschool.
But how old is old enough to get them enrolled?
One of the most important things to remember is that there isn’t one answer to the question of when your child is ready for preschool. Every child is different. Their strengths, weaknesses, their personalities, and the rate at which they mature will be different. What’s right for your friend’s toddler might not be right for yours, and vice versa. You thus want to take all of the proceeding remarks with a grain of salt, and apply them to your child’s personal needs.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most prominent factors that you’ll want to consider when determining the right age to start applying for preschools for your children.
Level of Independence
One of the most important factors to consider when determining whether or not your child is ready for preschool is determining how independent they are. Development will be seen as a gradual progression, initially when spending time separated from their parent, it is perfectly natural and to be expected that they will cry for you to return. However children are not made of glass and will recover from this experience as they learn to enjoy and have fun with their peers. In addition, you want to make sure that your child is more physically independent as well. Accidents do happen and some skills, like potty training, are learned by some children much faster than others, and that is perfectly okay. Our preschool teachers are generally trained to deal with emergencies and accidents, and will be happy to help their students by changing diapers to help them recover from such incidences and support their progress through potty training.
That said, we’ve just skipped past one of the other major determinants of preschool readiness – sociability. For many children, preschool is their first experience of not just being around a large group of other kids, but interacting with them. You thus need to make sure that your child is ready for that. While some children are naturally more outgoing with others, and there is nothing wrong with that, you’re going to want to make sure that this experience won’t be too overwhelming for your child. If interacting with other children gives your child a severe case of anxiety, they simply may not be ready for that kind of social environment yet. This does not have to be a bad thing, nor does it have to get in the way of their gaining an education at a young age. You can homeschool them for a bit while preparing them emotionally and socially for preschool. That said, your child should ideally be ready to work in groups and feel at least semi-comfortable around new children by the time that they start preschool. It’s OK if they aren’t a social butterfly – again, all kids are different, and preschool teachers are specially trained to respond to different kids’ needs, including those on the shier side.
Of Schedules and Stamina
One of the most important things to consider when deciding if your child is ready for preschool is whether or not they are up to the physical and emotional strain of a day away at school. Given our adult perspective, it can be easy to see a day at preschool as easy and non-strenuous. That being said, for your child, it’s likely to be the first time that they are going to spend a significant amount of time away from you. In addition, it is also likely to be the first time that they’ll have to follow a set schedule.
With both of those firsts, you want to make sure that your child is ready for both of those milestones. This means making sure that they have the patience as well as stamina to deal with all of this. Your child may be crying that they’re tired halfway through the school day and refusing to budge an inch, all of which is perfectly natural and to be expected initially. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that your child is able to listen to other adults besides yourself. This is something that can take some getting used to for children, since they’ll often be so used to listening to their parents as the primary authority figure in their lives that another voice can be confusing and some resistance to this change is to be expected. Having all of these factors in place is essential to making sure that your child is preschool-ready.
Getting Ready for Admissions
So, all of this leads us back to the initial question – how old should your child be before you start considering seeking admission into a preschool? Keeping in mind once more that all children are different, our approach is that 18 months old is a good age at which to begin to think about this. This will give you a bit more time to prepare your child before they actually start preschool once accepted.
Help your child take the first steps towards the future they deserve by getting them ready for preschool.
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