The benefits of preschool lay a foundation for education, social skills, motor development. Truthfully, there is no black or white answer to: “Is my child ready to start preschool?” However, most parents start looking at their child’s inquisitive little mind at about 2-3 years old.
Children Ages 2-4 Could be Ready for Preschool
Because no child develops exactly the same way or at the same pace, knowing if your child is ready for preschool can be tricky—and is not based on age alone. If your child is 2 or older, there are some signs that can indicate a child’s preschool readiness. So, how do you tell if your child is ready for their first steps into the world of education?
Is your child potty trained?
Most children potty train at 2 years old, but some aren’t ready until they are 3 or 4. Many preschools won’t accept children until they are 2.5 for this reason, and require them to be potty-trained—or at least getting there. Here at Center Stage in Ashburn, we realize that children are all different, and parents all have different child-rearing styles, too! That’s why we are willing to work with you and your child along this journey, and we don’t require 2-year-olds to be potty trained when they join our program.
Can your child follow directions?
Everyone knows toddlers can be notorious for doing exactly the opposite of what they’re told. With that in mind, children at this age should have a basic ability to understand and follow two or three-step directions. Of course, it isn’t expected that children be little soldiers following orders to a T — kids should be kids after all ;).
Does your child want to do things on their own?
Toddlers will begin to show the desire to do things on their own, beginning to understand their own feelings and communicate. For preschool readiness, your child should be able play with others without constant intervention from an adult for short periods of time. They should be able to pick a center and interact with it or work on a craft or puzzle on their own.
Children who are good at solo play at home and are showing some independence usually make good candidates for preschool. Don’t worry, parents—this doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t ever need help, or that they won’t miss you when you are gone. Going to preschool is a positive step in encouraging independence, and giving them the opportunity to learn new things.
Does your child have the ability to speak in sentences?
The ability to clearly pronounce individual sounds and use them in sentences is an important indicator that your little one might be ready for preschool. This doesn’t necessarily include children who have a lisp or still have a cute baby voice, using an “f” instead of “s”, for example.
Do you constantly translate what your child is saying for other people? Or are they able to communicate with adults on their own? Can they string together at least up to 5 words and be able to describe a recent activity?
On the flip side, your child should also be able to understand what other adults are saying. Can they listen and understand basic instructions? In addition, are they able to communicate with other children?
Can your child focus and pay attention?
It’s no secret that children can be easily distracted. It comes in handy when they lost a sticker they fell in love with but can be easily distracted when shown a new toy.
In the classroom, however, children need to be able to focus on one activity at a time. Don’t worry, they won’t ever be marathoning one particular activity all day. Preschool activities are usually broken up into 10-20 minute chunks. The child should at least be able to pay attention and listen to the teacher read a short book or similar type of activity.
Is my child emotionally ready for preschool?
A Note About Separation Anxiety
Most parents remember the first time they ever left their child with a babysitter or at daycare. Who cried more, you or your child?
There is nothing more important than the relationship that you have with your child. So trust us when we say, that we completely understand the anxiety that you and your child will feel on your first day. But separation anxiety isn’t necessarily something you can fully prepare your child for – what you can do, however, is decide whether or not your child is emotionally ready for preschool.
Can your child recover quickly from a tantrum? Have they been exposed to daycare or babysitters in the past, or have they always stayed by your side? Also, think about how they interact with other children their age and younger—are they able to share? Can they get along with others? Do they hit, or take toys away? These are all indicators of whether or not your child will be ready for a preschool learning environment.
Preschool in Ashburn
There are many preschool choices here in Loudoun County! Loudoun County Parks & Recs has their own state funded preschool program for children who are potty trained, starting at 2.5, as well as STEP and Head Start programs for children ages 3 and 4.
Private preschools here in Ashburn are a great option because they can offer parents a variety of choices, including Montessori-style learning like we do here at Center Stage Academy.
Montessori preschool is often the best choice for younger children 2-4 years old because it is based on hands-on learning and play. At Center Stage’s Montessori classroom, children use creativity in their learning and focus on age-appropriate activities to guide the learning process.
Center Stage Preschool is located in Ashburn Farm off of Ashburn Farm Pkwy and Claiborne Pkwy. We serve preschool families in Loudoun County all the way to Lansdown, including 20147, 20148, and all of the neighborhoods in between!
We would love for you to come take a tour of our outdoor and indoor classrooms here at Center Stage in Ashburn!