Wondering if your child is ready for preschool?
While many kids start around the ages of 3 and 4, readiness to enroll has more to do with where a child is developmentally, said Belinda Lies, director of Kiddie Campus in Yorkville.
“There is not a magical age for a child to begin preschool,” she said.
Instead, parents can look for several signs their children are ready for the classroom.
For instance, is the child socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready to participate in a daily, structured, educational program with a group of other children? Is he or she independent and able to spend time away from you? Can the child work on projects and participate in group activities? Would he or she have the physical stamina for preschool?
But, said Lies, even while considering the above, it’s also important to keep in mind a preschool can also be beneficial in helping to foster growth and learning in those areas.
“Children can develop the skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten, including attending a preschool, a good day care center, or being cared by someone who spends quality time with them in a loving and educational environment,” she said.
If your child seems eager to learn new things, “chances are it's the perfect time to start school,” said Lies.
When considering a facility, parents should look for one that is designed to aid in the their children’s cognitive and social development and prepare them for elementary school.
A well-rounded program, said Lies, should include different size groups, a balanced schedule, clear goals and philosophy, a strong foundation in language development and early literacy along with early reading and math experiences.
“It should also include a safe, nurturing environment with stimulating activities,” she said.
“There are many different preschool philosophies. Parents need to visit several to decide which they prefer.”