11 answers

When to Send Child to Preschool

My daughter is 2 years and 7 mths. She looks older for her age, people always think she is in her 3's. I have been taking her to classes like swimming and music with me since she was very small. I take her to the gym a couple days a week too and that is when I leave her for an hour in the kids care. She most of the time does very well, as long as there are not a lot of kids around, she is great on small scale. I have been looking into having a break for both me and her by doing preschool 2 times a week starting fall, found two schools where I can once she is almost potty trained. I am beginning that process now. I just wonder if it is time to get her into preschool now or should I wait until Jan or even next Fall? I just cannot imagine waiting another year. I feel like the break for me would do a world of good. I freelance from home and could use that time plus just to re charge, as toddler hood can be challenging. Would love some thoughts on Moms who have been faced with this decision as well!

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Good morning. I have a preschool and childcare in my home. Sometimes 2 is too early to start with preschool and sometimes it is not. It greatly depends on her maturity and ability to follow directions. I had a little girl in my class last year that has just turned 2 and she was one of the easiest students to teach and to get along with others. Preschool is about getting the children to learn more about themselves and the world around them not just letters and numbers. That all comes later. The other option would be to see if you can find a structured child care to put her in so that you can get your break and she gets her social interaction. Does your daughter still take a nap in the afternoon? I still have an opening for preschool M,W,F 9-12. I am also considering having a an afternoon class Tuesday and Thursday but that would not work if she takes naps. Potty training is not an issue with me because every child learns at their own pace and when they are ready. The only reason that other preschools make it required is so that the teachers will not have to change diapers. Let me know if you have any questions. Even if you are not interested in our program, I would still love to give you any help that I can choosing the right thing for you and your daughter.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,..
the jump from a 2 yr old baby to so alert and big kid by almost three is an amazing year.

I just sent my just 3 yr old to preschool last week. The preschool/pre-k my older son was in is doing a more young 3/young 4 this year and will try to continue with as much of the same class for next year.

since my 3 yr old is a June birthday - this year he is in preschool, next year will be 'pre-k' and the next year kindergarten...

look ahead to when your daughter will be going to kindergarten and then determine what you would like to do over the next few years. Is Portland all day kindergaren/or half day.
If she does not make the cut-off for kindergarten (usually sept 1st ish) you may be looking at three years of preschool.

would you rather only have two?
can you afford it now? or perhaps save the $ for preschool or pre-k when you know she will be.
How about some community center activities one or twice a week. music, art, dance. Kindermusik was a staple for my boys until they started preschool.

As you only know your daughter you know when she is ready for more stimulation. also.. if you don't want to rush the potty training.. try to find a childcare/preschool type atmosphere where they are willing to do changing. and you still have a break.

or lastly. join the Ymca.. at only ~ $ 100 a month -for the whole family - you have many many days where you can have 90 min and have mommy time while there and your little one has great fun in the activitiy center. some days I bring my coffee and 'chill out for a bit' before working out. my Y has wifi too,. so you could also freelance a little too.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful

Now is good. And two to three days a week is perfect. In the meantime, try library reading time, swimming lessons, and check the library bulletin board for resources. Also try the community colleges for co-op preschools. They might still have room.

I would start looking now for a preschool and please check out Montessori schools, and plan on (be sure and talk to the school) starting her in January. Continue with the toilet training, but don't do it just to get her into preschool. I haven't dealt with this decision with my own children, but having been a Montessori teacher for 25 years, I've dealt with the issue often. For many young children, that January start is a great fit. Remember, avoid saying to your child that she needs to be toilet trained so she can go to preschool, as you could be placing undo pressure on her.
If you need more info, please contact me. You know your child best, and if you've been thinking about this, you're on the right track. Good luck!

I know Montessori is not for everyone and I'm not trying to push it on anyone. I just like to encourage people to consider all their options, which includes (and I highly recommend) Montessori.

I have to edit this so I can correct Leiloni. It's not that preschool teachers don't WANT to change diapers, rather, it's because we're not licensed to do so. There's a whole different set of rules between school only and daycare.

It depends on whether she needs some help in areas like social skills, or being able to sit still and pay attention, or following directions, or something like that. If she does need some help, I'd put her in for sure.

Otherwise, it all depends on if you both would enjoy it. My daughter started at 2.5 years and did three years of preschool because she was an only child, afraid of other kids, and very bright. I think it was a great thing for her and really helped.

My son though is very good socially, and doesn't seem to need 3 years of preschool, so we are waiting until he is 4.

For your daughter, preschool would only be two days a week for 3 hours, so she wouldn't suffer any being away from you. You could even volunteer some if you wanted.

-- If she does well now in group care --- likely she will do well in preschool. A co-op preschool might be a good option - as you'd go WITH her one day a week- but two days a week you'd leave her --- ( now that would only give you a break 2 days- and that may not 'work' for you - or for her. Kids are all different--- I did preschool ( special ed, for the public schools ) and even my really typical children were all over the map when they started at 3 - some were so anxious to get into the school experience they nearly shoved Mom out the door - others wept and showed SO clearly that the separation was too soon- for them. You know your treasure - if she is ready- go for it. 3 half days a week is enough to show you very clearly that she either needs more - or tht that is enough for her --. You'll get this right, C.- I promise --- most preschools will allow you very comfortably to take 2 or 3 months to arrive at how many days a week---

J. - aka -- Old Mom

Hi C. - It can be challenging at times with our kids. For my oldest I too "had" to find something for him to do. We dont have lots of options for preschools where we live. Finally when he was 3 1/2 I found a small private school who was starting a half-day preschool in addition to their older grades. What a world of difference that made for us. It gave both of us a break and our relationship was actually better for it. For my youngest it was not as "needed" for him due to the different personalities of my kids (though I did put him in Head Start when he was 4 - and that was very good for him). One option is maybe find a daycare that does preschool within their service. That will help with the socialization and it will give you a few hours of a break, especially if you are trying to work at home too. The daycare that I sometimes use has a preschool program but the very nice thing is I dont "have" to have a set attendance schedule, I can call them a day or so before I need to use them & can get him in (like a drop-in daycare). That is a nice option so I can go get my hair done or go to a doctor appointment without kids!

For deciding on exactly "when" a kid is ready all depends on the individual child. Again looking at my kids one was ready sooner than the other. Even now I homeschool the youngest and private school the oldest, due to how they each learn and what works best for them. Another idea is see if the schools you are looking at will let you do visit days with your daughter and that might help pick the program as well as help you better judge when is the "right time". God Bless

A lot of people suggest three as a good age to start pre-school. If you can start with part time, that might be a good transition for both of you.

As a word or warning, though, before you get too excited, in my area applications going into preschools right now are for NEXT fall, not this fall. If i were you, i'd get on the research and application ASAP, but there is still a chance it could be a while before you find the right program for you and your daughter.

If you think she is ready, then sheprobably is. I know of quite a few churches that take kids before they are potty-trained. My church takes children as young as2.5 years and they do not need to be potty trained. You can take them 1-3x per week. My church is called Meadow Springs Community Church, with the preschool called NoahsPlace. Check it out at mscc.org and go to Noahs Place. Hope that helps. T.

If you're looking at pre-school as a way to get a break and get some work done, you might consider hiring someone to work at your home as well. You could use a service such as SitterCity to find somone who could come on a regular basis or use an on-call nanny service. If you set standard hours for this year you'll be able to get more done and not have to work with the pre-school dynamics and assorted transportation. That's not to say you shouldn't be looking at pre-schools now. Most of the time the sign up for the coming year happens in the spring so now is an excellent time to look at schools and plan for next fall.

I have twin boys and I put them in school right before the 2nd birthday. One of my boys was having a really hard time with separation. It got so bad that I couldn't even leave the room to use the restroom. We needed a break from each other and for them to play with kids their own age. I only send them 2days a week. Just enough time to get my stuff done(I also work from home)and then time to recharge and do some me stuff, like shopping or lunch with a friend. They have both had some issues when I leave but over this last summer they are basically kicking me out the door. We are having trouble in the potty training department, but once we have got that under control I am going to sneak one more day in during the week. I think for my children it is good for them. We don't have many friends with children their age so this is a time for them to play and have fun with other kids. Good Luck and have a good time during YOUR TIME.

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