How did it happen so quickly? Your baby is three years old, and although you don’t want to thrust him out into the cold, cruel world too soon, you’re wondering about the advantages of a preschool program. Here are some factors to consider when deciding the best placement for your child in the coming year.
*Is he toilet trained? Although preschool staff can cope with an occasional accident, they need the children to be able to go to the washroom and wash up independently most of the time. There will be child-sized toilets and sinks available in most preschool classrooms.
*Is he in reasonably good health? Are his inoculations up-to-date? He’ll be learning to recognize colors and shapes, and to count when he goes to preschool. His hearing and eyesight should have been checked by the family doctor or pediatrician ahead of time.
*Does he usually separate from parents without being upset? Has he had successful experiences staying with grandparents, other relatives, or sitters? Of course, some tears may be evident the first day or two at school, but they should soon disappear when he begins interacting with the other children.
*Will taking him to preschool and picking him up later fit comfortably into your schedule? If you are going to be stressed and rushing, he’ll pick up on your attitude and he will not look forward to school days with pleasure. Developing a negative attitude toward school is not beneficial, especially at this early age.
*Is he ready to begin socializing with other children? He should have outgrown aggressive behaviors such as biting, kicking, and scratching when frustrated and have a good idea of what constitutes acceptable behavior. In preschool he’ll learn to how to take turns, how to wait to speak, and how to listen quietly when others are speaking.
* Can he sit for about ten minutes and listen to a story? Does he show an interest in books and nursery rhymes? Is he beginning to recognize numbers and perhaps trying to write his name? He’ll develop these skills more fully at preschool.
If you can answer “Yes”, to most of these questions, your child is ready for a half-day preschool program. For most children it is a beneficial experience. They become used to functioning in a classroom situation. They learn social skills by interacting with peers, and with adults other than their parents. They have access to a great number of materials for creative activities, and participate in games and exercises which will prepare them for success in formal Reading and Mathematics Lessons when the time comes.
Around the age of three, many children experience a growth spurt in the emotional area. They suddenly become more self-reliant, independent and anxious to explore more of the world on their own. If these questions did not seem applicable to your child at this moment, reread them again in several months. You may be surprised at how far he has come in a short time. At that point, you’ll know for sure that the time has come to enroll him in a preschool program at the earliest opportunity.