Is My Child Ready for Preschool?

Is My Child Ready for Preschool?

Is your little one at the age where you have started thinking about preschool, but are still unsure if they are ready? It truly is a big decision for you and your child on whether or not to send them, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Since every child is different, it can be hard to know if your child is ready to excel in early childhood schooling. We have comprised this nice little guide to help you know exactly where your child is at, if they are ready to attend preschool this year, or if they need another year at home first.

Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool offers programs and classes for all children ages 3-5 and can help almost every child find a place to succeed. Hopefully, this guide will help you determine the readiness of your child and feel more confident in your decision!

Preschool Readiness Checklist

Whether it be preschool, kindergarten or even high school, there are a certain set of skills that a child should have to be able to succeed and be confident. We have compiled 10 of the most important skills and milestones your child should be comfortable with before attending preschool in Austin. If little guy doesn’t check every box, don’t panic! This is just a soft guideline for you to grasp a better understanding of where your child will among their peers. These skillsets cover categories including emotional development, attention and independence, language, art, and math.

  • Ability to recognize other people’s emotions

  • Can take turns and share toys

  • Listen to simple instructions

  • Can sit still and quietly during story time

  • Can be separate from you for a few hours

  • Enjoys doing things independently sometimes, like getting dressed on their own

  • Ability to recognize some shapes and colors

  • Recognizes some letters and can recite the alphabet

  • Expresses thoughts and needs appropriately

  • Can independently say their full name

  • Counts to five

  • Draws with crayons or pencils

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” – Fred Rogers

Questions To Ask Yourself

Now that you have a good idea of what the standards are for basic skill sets needed to thrive in preschool; here are some questions to ask yourself as a parent! These questions are ones you can answer by all of the observing you have done while loving on your sweet babe!

1. Has Your Child Spent Time Away from You?

If your child attends a day care facility already then you can confidently say that, yes they have spent time away from you. But, if you are a stay-at-home parent it’s an important question to ask! Is your child comfortable being away from you for a few hours at a time? Have they attended anything like Sunday school or a playgroup where they have to follow directions from an adult other than you? If not, you may want to evaluate if the separation would cause a lot of anxiety in your child.

If you think the separation process could cause lots of nerves, then it may be time to start practicing. And remember Daniel Tiger says it best, “grownups come back.” There are lots of books and shows that touch on the feelings of separation anxiety that could help your little one feel more comfortable with the idea.

2. Can Your Child Participate in Group Activities?

This is a great time to reflect on all of those logged playdates, library story times, and Sunday school classes. How does your kiddo react when they are in a group setting? Do they seem to get overwhelmed easily or play well with others? If a group was being led in a song with hand motions, would the little lady join in or spin and run in the other direction? Keep in mind that preschool is a structured, group time where they will need to be able to follow directions (as much as a 3-year-old can) with only gentle reminders while being among peers.

3. Is Your Child Potty Trained?

Every parent knows accidents happen! And most preschools ask you to have an extra change of clothes in their backpacks just in case of an oopsy! But, there is a difference between the occasional accident and just not being potty trained. Just about every preschool will require children to be potty trained before they can attend.

4. Can Your Child Keep a Regular Routine?

Early childhood programs revolve around a structured schedule where they keep the same routine every day. How would your child adjust to this type of day? Are they used to just a whatever whenever approach, or can they feel comfortable with structure?

5. Why Do You Want to Send Your Child To Preschool?

Are you wanting to send your child to preschool just because you feel like it’s the next thing to do? Or do you think that a preschool setting would benefit your child? Are they showing signs of being ready to have a little more socialization? Do they love learning new things? Or are they just really loving getting out of the house? All of these are great reasons for wanting to go ahead and enroll, but don’t force it just because everyone else is doing it!

6. Can They Focus on A Task?

When you sit down to color or create with play dough, how long do these activities hold their attention? If you feel like they can sit and be engaged with one activity for at least 20 minutes then they would probably love all of the hands-on activities at their new school!

7. Do They Want to Play With Other Kids?

Have you noticed your child’s behavior when you are at a playground and there are other children present? Does your kiddo typically feel comfortable playing with or among the other kids? Or do they grab onto your legs for dear life? Either scenario is a good indicator of how their first days of preschool will go. But, if they are shyer it doesn’t mean they won’t thrive! It could be really good for them to have more social interactions!

8. How Old Is Your Child?

When it comes down to it, age is seriously important when deciding on whether or not to enroll them in preschool. Most preschools in Austin, TX, like Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool, have programs for children ages 3-5 years old. Developmentally, these are great ages to have preschool experience and get prepped for kindergarten!

What You Get to Look Forward To

All of this information may seem a little overwhelming, which is totally understandable! It is also normal if you are feeling a tad bit sad that your baby is not really a baby or toddler anymore, but ready to be a preschooler! Don’t worry, you still have plenty of sweet cuddles coming your way! And there are also so many new things you will get to experience with your new preschooler! Here are some of the awesome skills and milestones your kiddo will reach while attending preschool in Austin.

  • Independence: You will get to see your child’s independence soar as they become more sure of themselves and develop thinking and cognitive skills.

  • Movement: Get ready to hear “watch this mom!” over and over again as their motor skills develop by leaps and bounds…literally!

  • Hand and finger skills: Craft time is about to get really fun as they learn how to use scissors and manipulate objects with their hands.

  • Tells Stories: Part of the language milestones at this age is the ability to tell stories. So don’t feel like you are missing out on too much of their day, because you are sure to hear ALL about it!

People Also Ask

Here are a couple of common questions that parents have about preschool:

1. Should I force my 4-year-old to go to preschool?

If you are wondering if you should force your 4-year-old to go to preschool, the answer is not black and white. It depends on your child. It is important to take them seriously and help to give them the language they need to express the difficult feelings they may have with separating from you. If their nerves give them a very frequent morning belly ache, try asking them to try going, and if they still don’t feel good after being there for a little while have their teacher call you and you can get them. The initial nerves usually go away once they have settled into their daily routine. And sometimes… everybody could benefit from a personal day!

2. Is preschool mandatory?

Preschool is NOT mandatory in the US. What makes preschool so great is that it prepares kids to be learners in an age-appropriate way.