Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

Arts and Education

Preschool can have both academic and social benefits if children are properly prepared, according to author and child development expert Anne Jane Hays, former vice president and editor-in-chief of Sesame Street Books. For discerning parents, there are some signs that your child is ready for preschool.

Maturity. The concept of maturity is broad, and young children are not necessarily expected to display advanced behavior. However, parents must be honest about whether their children are mature enough to handle the structure of school.

Interacting with others. When children start preschool, they will interact with their classmates and their teacher. Readiness may be measured by observing children working with other children. If children are able to play well with others and avoid a certain amount of conflict, they may be ready for school.

A structured environment. Preschool is not a setting with high academic expectations, but children must still work with a schedule and a set of rules. This is typically a new environment for all preschoolers, but some students may be more accepting of the structure than others. Parents who have observed their children struggling to follow a schedule may need to wait on preschool.

Wanting to learn. Preschool-age students may not understand what the school experience really means, but sometimes parents can tell that their children are interested in reading, problem solving and preschool-level challenges. An interest in learning may be a good sign that a child is ready for preschool. In some cases, schools may be able to test students in order to assess whether they have the skills and motivation to handle preschool.

Getting feedback. If parents are uncertain, they may need to ask for advice from friends, teachers and administrators. There are not always clear answers as to whether children are truly ready for preschool. However, experienced educators can often provide advice to parents. The key is for parents to be open and willing to hear both positive and negative feedback about their children.

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