Are you wondering at what age kids go to preschool? Being a parent comes with many difficult decisions about doing what’s best for your child. And early childhood comes with a number of milestones in your child’s development. Those two things come together in the decision of when is the right time to send your child to preschool. Below I will provide information about the typical age that most children start preschool as well as factors to consider when determining your child’s readiness.
When Do Kids Start Preschool
Many parents wonder, “At what age do children start preschool?” While many children start preschool around the age of 3, it’s not always the best choice for every child. The decision to start your child in preschool isn’t just about age, it’s about readiness. All kids develop at their own pace and it’s best not to rush them.
In addition, different school districts offer free public school for early childhood education to everyone while others only have Head Start Programs for low-income families. In some cases the only preschool provider may be a private school.
The CDC considers preschoolers to be between 3-5 years old. Furthermore, the CDC suggests that “They will want to explore and ask about the things around.” They also suggest that parents, “Keep television sets out of your child’s bedroom. Set limits for screen time for your child to no more than 1 hour per day of quality programming, at home, school, or afterschool care.” One of the preschool developmental milestones is being able to play with other children.
A preschool program (sometimes called a pre-k program) for young children should provide your child with age-appropriate play equipment. It should teach basic skills like naming colors through song, dance, and play. It should allow for social interaction with other children the same years of age. A high-quality preschool should have well-trained teachers to help with the child’s needs, emotional skills, and cognitive development.
Is My Child Ready For Preschool?
There are some key indicators that can let you know that your child is ready to start engaging in a more social environment and go to preschool. Here are some guidelines to help you decide when is the right time for your child to start preschool. Consider these preschool readiness factors.
Most children attend preschool for two years leading up to kindergarten. This can vary based on when your child’s birthday is. A birthday after September 1st means your child will most likely start kindergarten late. For this reason, preschool is sometimes postponed for an extra year. Or your child may attend preschool for 3 years instead of 2. Many preschools also have an age minimum for when they will accept kids.
Many preschools will require your child to be potty trained before accepting them. Preschoolers should also be able to do some tasks themselves. For example, putting on their own coat and shoes, washing their hands, and fastening their own pants. Here are some tips on toilet training for toddlers.
While there usually aren’t many strict rules in preschool, your child will be expected to follow simple instructions. For instance, they will need to help clean up after crafts, follow in a line with the rest of the class, and follow some basic rules at playtime.
No one expects a 3-year-old to have perfect speech, but they will need to be understood by their teacher and other students. They should be able to speak so that they can be understood and hear what other people are saying to them.
Preschools function on an established schedule and kids will be asked to transition from one activity or task to another throughout the day. Playtime will lead into snack time will lead into craft time, etc. and your child will be expected to make the transition smoothly.
If this is your child’s first time separating from you, they may have trouble at first with separation anxiety. It’s perfectly normal if you haven’t left your child before or they get upset when you do, but they’ll need to be okay with leaving you to go to preschool. A few half days at daycare a week or having a babysitter come over a couple of times a week will help your child adjust before preschool.
Interact with Other Children
Your child will need to interact with other kids throughout the day at preschool so if they’re not used to being around other children regularly, it may be time to schedule some playdates.
Don’t feel pressured because your child has reached the typical preschool age of 3. Just think about what is right for your child and your family because every child and every household has different needs.
I didn’t send my daughter to preschool until she was 4 and then only 3 days a week for 3 hours. At what age do kids go to preschool was not a concern for me. As a stay at home mom, I wanted her to be able to stay with me most of the time. I chose the preschool classes because they were part of a great educational program. My daughter was ready for more structure and opportunity to increase her social skills. In addition, I wanted to make sure she had some exposure to the preschool environment so she would be prepared when she started her kindergarten program.
My son went to preschool when he was 3 because he was looking forward to keeping up with his sister. We already knew and loved the Robertson Academy Preschool for gifted and talented students that his sister was going to so it was a natural choice.
Research your options and don’t feel rushed. If your child isn’t ready for preschool, that’s fine. You can let them progress at their own rate and encourage some behaviors with positive reinforcement until they’re ready. If you’re still unsure if your child is ready, talk to your pediatrician and to the preschool, they’ll help you determine your child’s readiness.