What age to start pre-school?

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

Hello! Totally new here! I have a 2.5 yr. old son who has stayed at home with me since birth. I have friends & family who insist it's time for him to go to preschool. We tried last year and he wasn't ready, so I didn't push it. Frankly, there is a great school that he will be eligible for age-wise NEXT year at age 4. Any thoughts?

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David - posted on 01/16/2013

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Are you kidding me? I run a children's enrichment and gymnastics program. It drives me crazy how many families start children in preschool when they're two years old. I just had a mom call me this morning informing me they were stopping our program because their twin boys (2 yrs 9mos) were "accepted" to preschool.

When I was a kid, our first forray into school was kindergarten. We were outside playing, mom was at home, and life was good. Now, it seems, kids don't socialize, spend time climbing trees and playing in parks, there are two income households which means more kids are in day care all day - I could go on.

We started both of our boys in preschool at around 4 1/2 years. They are very well socialized, emotionally mature, and well adjusted. My wife is a stay-at-home mom and loves the time she spends with the kids. It is an absolute gift to raise a child. IMHO, too many adults are too concerned with making more money and investing in work rather than investing in the kids.

I say, put your son in when you're ready. At 2 1/2, you should be socializing him at parks, mom's groups, enrichment programs (parent/child classes) that include YOU. YOU are his teacher right now. Be your son's monther; don't let somebody else parent for you.

Just my $.02.

User - posted on 01/17/2013

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I agree with you David Peterson. Very well said. 2.5 is way too young IMO. I'm a SAHM to 5 girls aged 7, 5 year old twins, 3 and 8 months. Our 3 year old will start preschool when she is 4.5. For now we go to mums group, play groups, the park etc..

Each to their own though I guess.

Jinglebones - posted on 05/16/2009

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In my former life I ran a child care resource agency in Canada - preschool is different from daycare and is more what the name implies - preparing children for school. Preschool is typically for 3 and 4 year old children, most programs prefer children to be toilet trained, is usually 2 or 3 days per week for approximately 3 hours - parents usually have a choice of a morning or afternoon program. They are usually quite structured with allotted times for craft, free play, snack and circle time. They usually focus on assisting children to acquire skills needed in kindergarten, i.e. scissors, gluing, writing introduction, pre-math skills, etc. Preschool is a great opportunity for children to practice social skills - hence the reason to start at 3 (2 year old children are not developmentally ready to share and cooperate with peers). By 4, children want to play, share and cooperate with peers and are usually craving this interaction. Day care is another creature entirely - it is designed to care for children usually for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Some day cares do provide a modified preschool program, but keep in mind that your stay-at-home child will be part of a large group of different aged children who are used to the many routines and different staff and large group setting - it may be over-whelming for some children for the first little while. Depending where you live and the types of programs available, you could start with visiting a few to get a feel for the programs structure and approach - take note, in particular, the interactions between staff and children and find out what credentials the staff have. I am also a SAHM and my preference for my children has been parent-child playgroups for the early years, and starting preschool 2 x week at 3, increased to 3 x week at 4, and I prefer non-profit preschool programs - they operate with parent volunteer board of directors (always a good idea to get involved if you want to know what is really going on...). But it does depend where you live re: choices. Many communities have lists of licensed child care programs by type - you can usually find out who provides this info through community info agencies, public health, or perhaps your doctors office. If there is a good program for your child at 4, I think that is great - do not sweat this - everyone has ideas about what is best based on their own experience and many people nowadays do not quite know what to make of SAHMs. My only suggestion would be to see what opportunities there are for you little guy to play with other kids - even with you there. Social skills take practice - it starts at about 3 and takes off at 4 so, like I said, you sound right on track to me...

[deleted account]

I think children that go to preschool are better prepared academically and socially for kindergarten. I am also a stay at home mom with a 2.5 year old son. I am sending him to preschool next fall for two days a week, 9:00 to 12:00. He'll go for 3 days a week when he is four. I don't think it's necessary that he goes every day but I do want him to have the experience of being in a classroom. He needs to learn how to socialize with large groups of children, share with others, and handle conflict. Right now he isn't getting that with me. We do small playgroups with maybe 2 or 3 other children and it's not the same. You need to do what you are comfortable with and what you think your son is ready for. If I thought for a minute that my son wasn't ready then I would wait another year and start him when he's 4. But, I know he's ready so that's why we doing the 3 year old class too.

[deleted account]

I'm not reading most of the comments, but I will say my daughter is 2.5 years old now too and the preschool that I want to put her in requires potty training first. We just got her a potty and haven't truly started potty training yet. So there is no chance of her going to preschool right now. I am thinking next year when she is 3 maybe almost 4. We are also truly considering moving quite far away (1,500 miles) about the time she would start preschool so we will see. I stay home with my daughter and try to entertain her/teach her things. I know she would like to be around kids her own age sometimes, but I don't drive so it isn't really possible. It hasn't stopped her at all though as she is very social and not shy around children at all. We really want to put our daughter into a gymnastics class though as she is so physical in her play. She does things that remind you of a gymnast. But we haven't been able to find a class for her yet. I say, don't worry about putting him in school. A lot of kids don't go to preschool at all. At 2.5 he may just not be ready. He's still very young. If you have a great school set up for next year that sounds like the perfect solution.

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15 Comments

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Deidre - posted on 08/29/2009

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Hi, Heather! It's important to go at their own pace...As soon as the challenge of potty traning is done you will be home free! Your post was back in May , how r things now?

Elizabeth - posted on 05/15/2009

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I would not feel rushed in putting your baby in school. He really doesn't have to go to pre-school! My husband and I went back and forth with this and we finally decided to sign our daughter up for the 3 year old class. We thought it would just be an added benefit for her. She is also in gymnastics, she has been doing that for a year. I also have stayed home since my daughter was born. So we thought signing her up for gymnastic would help her social skills...playing with someone else besides me!

If your son wasn't ready for school then he isn't ready! Maybe sign him up for a class that is offered in your town. I know the Y has several programs. That would get him use to being around others and to learn how being in that environment work!

But I wouldn't be in a hurry in signing him up for school. Just do what is best for him and your family!

Devon - posted on 05/14/2009

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I think you should get him in as soon as you can. i think it is good for children to be around other kids and to learn how to make friends. it also helps them to be more academically ready for when he goes to kindergarten.

Meghan - posted on 05/13/2009

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hi there,im a mum of a 2.5 year old, he started preschool when he was 16 months. (im from new zealand) it took 1 month of oreintation at his age to get him use to it. but i am thankful i stuck with it, as it give both of us some time awy from each other to refresh our selves, and he gets alot of social intereaction with other kids.and he knows his shapes, and starting to realise colours and numbers. i think it is important to let them go, they need to realise you wont always be there, and they need to ask other adults for help time to time. he goes to p.s 4 hours on a monday and thursday.so 8 hours total, and that is just enough. we are also going to start trying for our second child soon, and i am pleased he is at preschool, so then i can get much needed rest, and i know he is safe. :o) and dont forget that saying : it gets harder before it gets better. BUT IT WILL get easier i promise.

Anna - posted on 05/13/2009

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Hi Heather, I am a stay at home mom and my daughter will be 2.5 in September and she is going to start nursery school.... Mostly because I think she is ready... She loves to interact with everyone so socially I think she is ready and if not I will pull her out.... But we are going to try it.... She is going to be going 2 days a week for 2 hours a day... I think what it comes down to is if they are ready or not.... Good luck

Adrienne - posted on 05/13/2009

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GO 4 IT. GET HIM INTO EDUCATION, & BE THANKFULL THERE IS A PLACE THERE FOR HIM.. YES IT WILL BE HARD TO LET HIM GO FOR THE 1ST COUPLE DAYS, BUT THE STAFF WONT LET U LEAVE TILL HE,S SETTLED!! YOU,LL PROB FIND IT HARDER THAN HIM.. LOL. I CANT WAIT TO MY 3YR OLD STARTS IN SEPT. IN THE NURSERY OF MY CHOICE THERE WERE 140 APPLICANTS & 26 PLACES.. I CONSIDER HER VERY LUCKY TO BE GIVEN A PLACE.

Mandy - posted on 05/13/2009

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I think age 4 is a great time to start. I kept debating it with my oldest and ended up sending him to school at age 3. He has 2 younger siblings which limited my ability to take him places to entertain him. He has learned a lot in his 2 years of preschool but really, they probably only need 1 year of preschool at least. My 2yo will be 3 in June and really wants to go to preschool now because she sees her brother going everyday.

Tara - posted on 05/13/2009

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My oldest started when he was 4, only because his birthday is in January and I felt he would have been too old for the 3 year old program (so I skippied it). With my second, who turned 3 in March, he starts preschool in September (twice a week for 2 hours). I will do the same with my twins (who's b-day is in May) they will start at 3 as well. I think pre school is the perfect way to get ready for Kindergarten and so on. My son has learned so much. I suppose the academic stuff he has learned I could have taught him at home, however, he has made so many friends and truly grown socially. I love pre school and recommend it to all Mom's.

Julie - posted on 05/12/2009

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Hi, I stay at home with my kids too. My kids started pre school at age 3 or four depending on when their birthdays fell. My son has a very late August Birthday so he didn't go until he was four because we didn't want him to be almost a full year younger than a lot of kids in his class. He started Kindergarten at 6 and has done amazing! I say don't push it, they will be in school 90% of their childhood.

Kate CP - posted on 05/12/2009

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My daughter started Montessori school when she was about 2.5 and she's done very well. I think it's all about finding the right school for you and your kiddo. If he's not potty trained yet it may be harder to get him into school. Look into Montessori schools in your area. The program is awesome and really allows children to thrive at their own pace. Class rooms are divided up by age groups and then by their own learning pace. As a result kids help each other with learning. Good luck! :)

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