If your child hasn’t already been attending creche, then you may be wondering at what age he or she is ready to start going to preschool. Most preschools will accept children from around two and a half years of age, however, that’s not to say that your child is not ready before then, or that he or she will definitely be ready at that age. Being ready for preschool is a combination of emotional, social, physical and other developmental milestones, and there are several things you will consider. While you consider the list included in this article, speak to other people who know your child, and get their opinion too.
Independence is one of the biggest criteria for preschool. Most preschools, in fact, will expect that your child is potty trained already. Since many two and a half year olds aren’t, that may already be the deciding factor.
If your child has been looked after by someone other than you, even if it’s a friend or relative, then he or she will be more prepared to deal with a preschool situation, where he or she will be interacting with teachers, teachers assistants, and other children. If your child has never spent time away from you, then it may be an idea to arrange that he or she spends a few hours a day with someone else for a while, to acclimatise both of you to the change before you decide to send your child to preschool!
Your child should also be able to work on projects by him or her self. Even if that’s a few minutes spent scribbling while you’re in the next room. Start with a few minutes, and work your way up to longer intervals of unaided play.
If your child is not used to other children, then the shock of spending time with a class full of potential friends can be a bit much too. Try to arrange a few play dates with other children before you send your child to preschool, so that he or she can get used to interacting socially with kids of the same age.
Eating habits are another big factor. If your child is still a fussy, or a messy eater, then you may want to work on that before you send your child to preschool, where he or she will be expected to eat at regular hours, and possibly to eat what every one else is eating.
Last, but not least, if your child has recently undergone a major life upheaval, like a new baby in the family, or moving house, you may want to wait. Children cope better with preschool when they have a stable home environment.