Judging whether or not your child is ready for preschool is difficult. It seems so subjective. And there's no magic answer or one-size-fits-all approach. So how do you determine the answer to this important question?
I'm going to suggest a three-part plan.
1. Evaluate Your Preschooler
Begin by asking yourself some basic questions about your preschooler. Here are a few to consider.
- Does my child spend a lot of time with other children?
- Does my child share and take turns well?
- Does my child enjoy group activities?
- Does my child pick up on social cues?
- Does my child sympathize well with other children?
- Can my child recognize basic colors, numbers, and shapes?
- Can my child recite the alphabet and recognize some letters?
- Can my child recite his/her full name?
- Can my child provide his/her address and phone number?
- Does my child listen well and follow basic instructions?
- Can my child sit still when I read to him/her?
- Is my child potty trained (most require this)?
- Can my child last four hours without using the restroom?
2. Investigate Your Options
Take some time to think through your options. Consider some of the following questions:
- What is my motivation in pursuing preschool for my child?
- Do I need a preschool with after-school childcare?
- What is my biggest concern in choosing a preschool: finances, education, philosophy, etc.?
Remember, your child may very well spend more time with his teachers than he will with you. So whatever option you choose, make sure to talk with the principal and the teachers. Find out about their educational philosophy, their curriculum, and their educational background.
3. Discuss with Your Preschool of Choice
Because preschool teachers and principals spend so much time with preschoolers, they can often provide valuable insight and advice to parents. If you're not sure if preschool is right for your child yet, take some time to discuss your child with your preferred preschool's principal or teachers.
They may also be able to help you prepare your child for preschool or give you skills to work on as the school year approaches.