31 answers

2-Year-old Preschool

Has anyone ever put their child in a 2-year-old preschool program? Was your child ready for it? I have signed my daughter up for the year (2 days/week), she doesn't make the cut-off date by about 13 days, which is OK with the school. I'd like some opinions though or maybe anyone's own experiences with this situation. I signed her up a while ago but am having second thoughts now.

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My daughter went to a 2-day a wk preschool last year when she was 2 1/2 and loved it. And my youngest is now 2 and will be starting on tuesday. We went to visit her classroom today and I left the room and she had no idea that i wasnt there. The 2 yr old programs are adorable, they do a lot and also last year my oldest learned all her colors and shapes. And most of all the are around other kids. Hope this helps.

After teaching preschool for way more years than I will admit to, I am of the opinion that most children only "need" a three mornings/week pre-k program the year before they go to kindergarten. They get everything they need, which is mostly social skills. Preschools with a focus on learning through play are the best.

It depends on the program. My now 5 year old began as a toddler. The first few weeks were an adjustment, since he had never been left before, but the social skills he has developed are amazing. He is reading well, not perfect. He has just begun K this year. My 2 year old is in her first week at school. There are tears, but she is doing well. I would recommend a Montessori type of program where the teachers are highly trained and the program allows for a great deal of flexability within the learning environment. You will discover that there is a great deal of difference between a "school" and a daycare type of environment. Look for a school that includes younger ages.
Good Luck.
ER

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My daughter missed the cut off day by 19 days the year she started. She spent 3 years in preschool, but was more than ready to start kindergarten this year. It got her in to something with other kids and she was ready. It's just that you have to be 5 by september 1st to start kindergarten and most preschools say 3 by september 1st. We found a wonderful one that would take her and I love it. My younger daughter will be going there next year. So if you feel that she is ready and and do it, I highly recommend it. I know that my daughter was not the only one in her situation in her preschool class.

I sent my daughter to a 2 year old program. She was the youngest and was barely 2 when they started. It was wonderful for her because it gave her the chance to be around other kids. She just turned 4 and is in the 3 day 9AM-2PM program. I don't think it ever hurts to start a child sooner rather than later. Give them a head start. They're expected to know so much when they get to kindergarten.

A.
Be sure of what you are getting into. A "preschool" for 2 year olds who don't make the age cut off? I believe that should more appropriately be called "day care". I have many close friends and relatives that put their child in preschool for three years, instead of two because they "thought" their child needed to go to school, to be around other kids, even though they had two or three siblings at home! I think that the Preschool will more than happily hold out their hand and accept your child who is too young, as long as you are paying the tuition three years in a row. Maybe you are having second thoughts for a good reason. Good luck with your decision.

My daughter went to a 2-day a wk preschool last year when she was 2 1/2 and loved it. And my youngest is now 2 and will be starting on tuesday. We went to visit her classroom today and I left the room and she had no idea that i wasnt there. The 2 yr old programs are adorable, they do a lot and also last year my oldest learned all her colors and shapes. And most of all the are around other kids. Hope this helps.

Hi A.,

I put my son into a pre-school program when he was 23 months. It is a montessori program and he loved it!! He did really well. He cried the first couple of weeks when I dropped him off, but then he did great.

I'm sure your daughter will adjust well - just give her some time to settle in.

J.

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I'm off to orientation for my 20 month old's "Mother's Morning Out" program! It is two days a week from 9am - 12pm. He's my independent one, but I think he'll really enjoy the interaction with the other kids, plus his older sister will be at the same school. She did the program last year at 2.5 and was too advanced so they moved her up to a ligitimate preschool class. She loved it and I had to drag her out of there almost everyday!!
In short, I'm going to give it a try for him. It's the best way for him to learn social skills that I can't teach him, and focus on the basics, which is harder to do with him b/c he's #2!
I would just encourage you to give it a try! She may get upset for the first week or so, but then she may grow to really enjoy the change of scenery and love the routine!
Good luck!

Hi A.!
I worked in a pre-school for four years and putting them in at two is a great idea! They really need social interaction at that age with different groups of children other than their usual playdate friends. Also, it gives them a chance to learn some independance from mommy and to start learning to take intructions from someone other than you.

Two days a week is perfect! I'm sure she'll love it!!! And remember...short goodbyes...long hellos. If you are confident while you are dropping her off, she will feel better about being there. Try not to get too emotional dropping her off because that will only make her feel insecure. "Cause if mommy is insecure about me being here, than I am too!"
She'll grow to love it and become a self assured, confident little girl...around mommy or not! :) Good Luck!!!

Where i live i am pretty sure that the preschools are 3 and 4 yrs. old. I think the 2's is just daycare. You are fortunate to have that option. Don't worry, 2 days a week is not bad. I have heard it is how old they are....2 years gets 2 days a week, 3 years gets 3 days etc. I never had them in preschool that early but she may love it. Best of luck to you.

I think it's great. It can't hurt her to learn. I sent both my kids to nursery school at 3 but hey as long as she's willing to go it can't hurt.

Hi A.,
I think it really depends why you're doing it. I sent my daughter to a 2 1/2 year program (she was dying to go to school like her big brother) and like you, I had some misgivings at the beginning. But She loved it and thrived. It was good for her socially I think. I will warn you though that many kids in the class seemed to go through a few weeks of separation anxiety stuff, but they all were happy soon after. Go with your gut and what you decide will be best I'm sure. Patty

Hi A.!
I am doing something similar with my daughter. She is 2 and will be 3 in two months, but missed the cut off for the 3 year old class. She is only going for 1 day/week. My husband and I both felt that she needed it to learn that she doesn't always have to be glued to me. I also liked the idea of starting out slow with just one day. Her sister will be in the 4 year old class across the hall. This has helped her with the idea that Mom has left, but my sister is close. I hope that it goes well with your little one.

My son went to preschool last year - he was 2 turning 3 in October. It worked out well for us. However, I should mention that this school catered to this age group and he was with other kids who were all his age. The entire class of 12 kids were not 3 yet but turned 3 between Oct and Jan. This was the requirement by the preschool. He liked it - there was no cirriculum - it was just a social environment 2 days a week for kids who had been at home previously. These kids will be in preschool 3 years before they go to kindergarden. Then again I know some people who choose to keep their kids home longer and not send them. I think it's all up to you and what you think your particular child is ready for.

My son went to preschool at 2 but since he was a january birthday he was 2 and 9 months. My twin daughters just started this year at 4. I don't think it is at all necessary but it just works for some. Some children are only children and need some socialization (which is mostly what they do...play) Others, like my son, are first children and he had 2 newborn sisters to compete with so it was something just for him. I don't think you'll ever regret it because for the most part they love it but it isn't necessary. Playgroups and activities (within a moms club or church) could provide just as much socialization and interaction without the cost (which was our biggest factor after the twins showed up)

Be confident in whatever you choose! love, MO

i put my son in a 2 1/2 year old program at a church preschool and it was great. there were no unreasonable expectations about the kids abilities. he had a great time. there was plenty of play time, but sitting in groups to work together, and sitting for story time were great skills to start building.

you can always try it for a while and see hwo it goes. plenty of kids move around during the preschool years. if it doesn't work out, if she seems too upset by going on, or too nervous, or if you feel like there are demands being placed on her in the classroom for which she is not developmentally ready, then don't feel bad about taking her out. you can always sign up for a gymnastic class or something else to give her a group work experience in the mean time.

What is your reason for wanting to put her in preschool so young? In my opinion, it is too early. I have four kids. Two started preschool when they were four. One started at three, and the other one didn't go to preschool. Socially and academically, I don't think that starting preschool earlier or not going at all made any difference between my girls. They are all bright, friendly and doing very well in school.

There are a lot of good things about preschools, but bad things too. Children can pick up a lot of bad habits. If they are insecure and you think that starting preschool early will help that, it can back fire.

If you are having second thoughts, you must be having them for a reason.

we waited until 3. but with a late summer birthday we decided this year not to send my son to kindergarten and now he will end up having 3 years of preschool. In retrospect I would have kept him home longer. Two years of preschool would have been plenty for him to learn what he needed to socially, it would have been cheaper, and it would still be fresh this year instead of something he's been doing for ever. If your child is super super clingy or you need time away from her a 2 year old program might be good. but if you were just looking for something for her to do, there are so many other activities you could do together that would get you out of the house and build memories. Just my 2 cents. you have to do what's right for your family. I think it's less about being ready, and more about why you are having second thoughts.

My advice would be to make sure you know what you are getting. I sent my daughter to a "preschool" when she was 2 she turned 3 in Nov. I was told she would have a school experience and they would help to potty train her. I don't think she really had a school experience. It was more just expensive babysitting. She never did learn to use the potty until the next summer when she was 3 1/2 and that was not with any help from them. Maybe see if you can talk to other parents about their expierence with that school.
Jen

All of my children were in day-care while I worked FT, and they did fine there. My oldest also went to pre-school, which was then nursery school. The reality is that at 3, she was the youngest one there, and it showed. I don't think it made her more or less successful in life. It was just a different form of entertainment. (she's now 27, and very successful in her career, but she's the only one of 3 who went to nursery school, and the others are not any less successful.)

At age 2, and even at age 3, they do "side by side" play, rather than to truly play "with" others. So whether you put her in presschool or not depends upon what your goals are for doing so.

If you think it will ready her for kindergarten, I would wait until she's ready to be "readied" -- like ages 3 or 4. If it's to give you some time off, then go for it. If it's just to broaden her experience and give her time away from mommy, and/or siblings, that's fine, too. But know what you hope to accomplish and that this is the best way to do so.

Frankly, I would be more inclined to enroll my child in learning to swim at an early age, because while she may not learn to actually "swim" at that age, she will learn not to panic should she fall in, and to be able to keep herself afloat until help comes. And preparing my child to cope with a potential emergency is more important to me than putting him or her in an educational program at an early age.

(Can you tell I used to teach swimming ?? also, while at a swimming pool, my then 10 year-old who learned to swim at age 2 actually saved a child's life, by realizing a kid was in distress and doing exactly what needed to be done before I had time to get out of my lounge chair. :-) I am all in for learning skills that will help us to feel accomplished and capable, while having age appropriate fun, and then being able to use those skills later in life to positively impact somebody else's life. :-)

My daughter is in pre-school now at Tutor Time. She loves it, it was the best thing we ever did. She really needed to fine tune her social skills. She used to see kids at the mall that she never met and hug them till they fell down. She has learned so much, and even is learning a second language. She has 2 boyfriends and 3 bff girlfriends and she talks about them all the time. She loves her teachers and quotes them when it is disipline time. She will say "Miss Bonnie said stop, and listen with your ears". She has become much more considerate, better at sharing and always says please and thank you. I made the choice to send her to school not that I had to, I am a SAHM that works full time from home. I wanted her to be ready for Kindergarten. They need to know certain things when they enter Kindergarten like shapes, colors, letters etc. and the teachers prime them for all of that. Good luck, she will love it and you can go shopping! T.

Hi,
My daughter is only 18 mos old but I called this week and put her on a list to start next fall (2009) when she is 2 1/2. It is actually a 3 yr old program but the school takes 2 1/2 yr olds if they turn 3 by Feb 1. They said that since her birthday is Feb 7 they will take her. I am looking forward to it, especially since I want her to get used to being away from me with someone other than family in preparation for the real school days. This program is 2 days a week, 9-11:30. I also like this place because it came highly recommended by some friends and they have a structured academic program, it's not just 2 1/2 hrs of play time. I am in the West Shore School District and this place is in Etters. If you want more info, let me know.
Good luck!
~A.

We started with the 3's program. My daughter is also just past the cut-off. Our preschool has 2 options with the 3's class depending on how their ages fall. My daughter was in the younger group that went 2 days/week. The older group went 3 days/week. Last year she went to the 4's at 3 days/week and they also have a pre-k for the kids that are almost, but not quite old enough for K. My daughter will be in it 4 days/week this year. Not all children do the pre-k program if their birthdays fall at a different time.

You have to decide what works best for your family and child, but I'll tell you some of the reasons that we decided to skip the 2's program that was available at our preschool...

- I was a teacher before having my children so I felt like I did plenty of enrichment activities and "field trips" like the zoo and children's museum.

- She had other time with kids/peers...Lots of similar aged cousins, and family friends. We also went to a Mommy and me yoga weekly since she was 6 months old.

- Felt like 3 years of preschool before K was probably going to be plenty.

- Flexibility... I wasn't ready to be tied to a schedule since she was my first. I wanted to have playdates or trips to the zoo if we felt like it without worrying about missing school.

I put my kids in the 2 program offered by my preschool and had no regrets. My second child is a boy who was the youngest in the class for most of the year. He is a July birthday and made the cut off my about a month. I saw the benefits for him of being able to socialize with other kids a couple times a week. I had just given birth to my third, and if I kept him home he would have just spent a great deal of time with me while the baby napped and not with kids. I felt he was ready for kids. You know your child best. I would suggest giving the school a try. If the school feels your daughter is having trouble adjusting they should work with you and give you the option to take her out if you are not comfortable with the decision to send her. It can take about a month to settle in - it did with my guy and he loved it! Good Luck. Email it you have any other concerns.

My son misses the Sept 1st cut off date for kindergarten by 9 days. We had him in Montessori toddler program at 2, a 3 yr old preschool program at 3. This year hes entering at 3 yr old program again at age 4 so he will be in with the kids hes going to kindergarten with.
Sound stupid and confusing? It is. that's 4 years of preschool before even entering kindergarten.
In hind sight I would have not sent him to the Montessori school at 2.

Since you have her signed up I say give it a try, However, if you have re-examined your reasons for making the decision in the first place and don't feel the same way now, then pull her out. I didn't put my kids in preschool at that age (in fact my son is just starting preschool and he is 4, we plan to start my daughter next year at 4) however I did work at a center that had a 2-year preschool program. Some kids loved it while it took others a while to adjust. The teacher was very nurturing and creative. Good luck with your decision.

My girls loved it at 27 months. We did have a few tears the first few days but then it was routine and they still talk about the "church school" and they are 6 now. Great for them and for me.

How does the cut off date work with the regular school district meaning if it is the same, I'd wait a year so that she is with kids she will be with for school .

Why did you sign her up? Maybe dance, gymnastic, swim classes might be better

Hi A.,

A question is why are you putting your two year old in the school?

That would be helpful to see your motivation.

Just want to know. D.

It depends on the program. My now 5 year old began as a toddler. The first few weeks were an adjustment, since he had never been left before, but the social skills he has developed are amazing. He is reading well, not perfect. He has just begun K this year. My 2 year old is in her first week at school. There are tears, but she is doing well. I would recommend a Montessori type of program where the teachers are highly trained and the program allows for a great deal of flexability within the learning environment. You will discover that there is a great deal of difference between a "school" and a daycare type of environment. Look for a school that includes younger ages.
Good Luck.
ER

I sent both of my children, 1 boy and 1 girl. They attended a tiny tots program at the YMCA 3 mornings a week for 2 hours a morning. My kids were 2 1/2 yrs old. I am a SAHM and my kids loved it. They needed the social activity that I couldn't give to them. Best of luck. V.

My daughter started when she was 2. She had an older brother that went there and she wanted to be "just like him" so it worked out well. 2 days a week were perfect to get her started. It really comes down to how you feel she will do.

Good luck.
A.

After teaching preschool for way more years than I will admit to, I am of the opinion that most children only "need" a three mornings/week pre-k program the year before they go to kindergarten. They get everything they need, which is mostly social skills. Preschools with a focus on learning through play are the best.

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