When should you be thinking about preschool?


I’m back from holidays. I had a wonderful rest, great time with my guy and the conviction that my golf game needs work.

Today we are going to talk about preschool. Believe it or not, preschools are now registering for the Fall. If your child is or will be preschool age, take a look at today’s article.

I also want to mention that I will be in Toronto at the end of the month and have some openings in my schedule. If you want to book a workshop with no travel costs, this is your chance.

Thinking About Preschool

 When should you be thinking about preschool for your child?  Believe it or not, the time is right now.  Preschools are enrolling children for September as we speak, so you want to do your homework and find the right spot for your child.

Are They Ready?

Doris and Michelle are both parents of two-year olds.  They’re neighbours and their children play together. Both children, Jasmine and Bradley, will be three this summer so their parents have been discussing pre-school.

Doris has decided that Jasmine is going to wait a year before starting, while Michelle is planning to register Bradley for the Fall.

What’s the difference?  These two children come from similar backgrounds, play together nicely and are almost the same age.

Doris explains that Jasmine just isn’t ready.  She plays comfortably with Bradley whom she knows well but is not good with groups of children.  Bradley, on the other hand, loves to be with groups of children and is bored with drop-in programs and swimming lessons.  He’s ready for more structure and independence.

When is comes to pre-school, age is not the only factor to consider.  Some three-year-olds are ready for structure, can move in groups without one-to-one adult attention and want activities that require more concentration.  Other children of the same age just aren’t ready.  Perfectly healthy babies may start to walk as early as eight months and others as late at sixteen months.  This variance in developmental readiness continues throughout childhood.

In the long run it’s better for a child to start a bit too late than too early. On the other hand, Jasmine’s mother would be wise to enroll her daughter now because by September she may be ready. But if September rolls around and she’s still not ready, it’s easy to release the spot for another child.

Children who are thrust into a pre-school or a Kindergarten environment before they’re ready, have a negative start to their schooling.  This can translate into hating school throughout the elementary and secondary years.

How do your know whether your child is ready?

Watch her when you go to drop-ins, take swimming classes or play with neighbor children.  Can she play without your constant attention?  Is she comfortable relating to other adults?  Can she participate is simple craft projects or singing games?

Most importantly, does she seem bored and ready for more stimulation and challenge?

If so, check out the pre-schools in your area.  If not, involve her in group activities that include you and are of shorter duration like at Family Place, swimming lessons or tiny tot gymnastics.

Pre-school should be an adventure with the normal mix of anxiety and excitement.  Once your child is ready, study the range of options, visit the schools. Talk to the teacher and other parents and watch your child reach a new level of independence and self-confidence.

Parent Participation Preschool

There are many choices of preschools and many offer a great experience for preschoolers. I’m a great supporter of parent participation preschools because they’re good for both preschoolers and their parents. These schools are also known in many regions as Co-operative preschools.

I can remember the days when my friends and I talked about our young children, sharing toilet training stories, first day of school and birthday parties. That was over thirty years ago. Now we talk about weddings, grandchildren and our children’s careers.

Different stories, but the same friends.  I met many of my friends while my children were in preschool, a parent participation preschool, to be exact.

Busy parents often find the concept of participating in their child’s preschool to be overwhelming and don’t even consider the option. Let me talk to you about the benefits.

Parent Participation Preschools are run by the parents. In these schools parents have the opportunity of having a say in the administration of the school, being with their child at preschool for a half-day once or twice a month and attending monthly meetings with other parents which offer free Parenting Education along with a business meeting.

Research shows that parent involvement is a major factor in child success. In my experience parents who start participating with their children at the preschool or daycare level continue to do so through elementary and high school.

The children are engaged in a quality program with a qualified teacher. Teachers who choose to teach in a parent participation school bring an appreciation for the role of parents into the school situation. They are not only committed to quality early childhood education, they are committed to partnering with parents to make the experience for all parties the best it can be.

Your involvement in the school will take into account your schedule and abilities. You’ll meet other parents who share many of your values about the importance of quality parenting, learn more about child-raising and work with like-minded and usually nice people toward joint goals. And, you will make friends for life.

Some of the advantages are:

• you have direct input into the running and philosophy of the preschool

• you can watch your child with others of the same age and see how he fits with his age group

• it’s less expensive

• you’ll meet other parents which reduces the isolation and loneliness often experienced by parents of preschoolers

• you’ll work with parents who share your basic philosophy of involvement with your child

• you’ll make lifetime friendships

• the teacher is readily available of for advice and information about your child.

Check out your local area and find the preschools closest to you.

Bringing Parenting Today to your event.

Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:

P.U.R.E. Parenting.

P — is a parenting plan

U — is unconditional love

R — is respect for your child as he is right now

E — is encouragement

These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.










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One Response to When should you be thinking about preschool?

  1. Kasia says:

    I would like to respond to what you said about child play based learning in the early years. Although I’m sure there are many benefits to “playing”, it does have a lot of drawbacks. Kids in grade 2 and 3 can’t read, that’s what the drawback is. Instead of tracing letters and looking at them, familiarizing themselves with the abc’s…if even for only 15 minutes in the morning would do them a lot of good. Leave play for hometime, or after the 15 min of tracing letters. After lunch, they should be given pictures to colour…they don’t get any pictures bc the educators say “they need to be able to think on their own and thus draw pictures” um, how the hell is someone who has a blank slate and no knowledge of the world around them, supposed to draw you a picture? if they don’t know how to draw a 2 dimensional boat bc they’ve never seen a 2D only the one in the real world that is 3D. If no one can see that, then people are blind. A child’s brain is like a sponge, they learn best when they are babies….the older someone gets, the harder it becomes to learn. We all know that once you pass 13, there goes the brain connections that are lost because they are not nurtured. If kids in Poland can do geometry and count angles of triangles on the inside and outside in grade 6, and chlidren in Italy can “write” (not print) in grade 2, I’m sure that our children in grade 2 can be taught to just read and write…only they need that at an earlier age and grade 1 is not enough and I FEEL it is TOO LATE to start. As in, your stopping progress. My bf’s 6 year old niece can read and write bc she was given the tools at HOME while she played at school. It’s like the roles are reveresed. Learn at home, play at shcool. Can you people ever find a balance? like it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can have play, and you can have tracing of letters…eventually they have to learn to write them! I’m sure that as a child, tracing letters is enjoyable at some points…obviously, for about 10 min. Have a child do this for 5 min and take it away from them and see what happens. I don’t know, this thought just popped into my head…I think I will have to try this. If the kids looks unhappy that your taking away this fun “project” then you have your answer. Also, your teaching kids that schools is about playing and not learning which could have damaging effects.

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