Pre-school Readiness?

Updated on January 18, 2008
A.H. asks from Riverton, IL
17 answers

This site has been great for me in the past, so here I am again :-) I have a two year old. He's a bright boy and he loves "reading". More exactly, I read to him and he "reads" to me :-) I'm just wondering developmentally where he should be. Are there any websites to go to for pre-school readiness signs? He won't be 3 until August, so it isn't really imperative that I find out THIS INSTANT, but if we need to work on anything, I'd like to know. I don't like comparing him with other children for the obvious reason, that no two are the same! I don't want to ask direct questions of other mothers simply because I'll feel either like I'm bragging or that I should be ashamed of myself because his calligraphy's not up to par! (I'm exaggerating, but I'm sure you all understand where I'm coming from.) Anyway, I would appreciate any help that you can give me. Thanks so much :-) A.

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C.B.

answers from St. Louis on

This website looks like it has pretty good info on several topics concerning different developmental ages.
http://www.kidsgrowth.com/stages/guide/index.cfm
I think parents.com which is the website for the parents magazine has lots of different stages with tons of info on each. I know you were not specifically asking about discipline, but as a school counselor I would highly recommend loveandlogic.com for anyone who wants a calm way to deal with raising a respectful, thoughtful child.

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J.W.

answers from Joplin on

17 month old children learn mainly through imitation. Your son is "reading" to you because he is imitating you. This does not mean he is ready to start reading! This means he is developmentally exactly where he should be--imitating you reading to him. When my son was about that age, he used to "write"--he would fill up notebook paper with scribbles that looked a little like cursive writing. He was imitating me. He didn't learn to write until he was 6 years old, and didn't learn cursive writing until he was about 8 or 9. In the Waldorf schools (where I had my training as a kindergarten teacher) we do not rush academic learning in young children. By age 9 or so, children who had learned to read and write at an early age are usually at about the same reading level as other bright children who waited to learn. Some early learners get bored with school early, and there is evidence that it is detrimental to the child's health to push early cognitive learning. I would suggest you look at some of the Waldorf web sites and books. A really good book to read is "You Are Your Child's First Teacher" by Rahima Baldwin. She discusses the ideal development of the young child, and gives lots of ideas for activities to help your child develop into a healthy, intelligent, and creative person. Instead of a preschool, I would suggest you look for some play groups which are not as structured, and emphasize play. Until children are about 3 and a half or 4, they like to play alone in the company of others; a non-structured play group would offer this opportunity to begin some social skills. I can tell that you are a consciencious mom, delighted with the early indication of intelligence in your son. Best wishes on this exciting journey of helping your child develop! J.

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M.J.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.-
I work with a guy whose wife works for Parents as Teachers. They typically come to your house to evaluate your child and let you know how he is doing developmentally and what things to work on with them. You can contact either your local school district or probably even daycare to get their phone number, or maybe even google it. I've heard really good things about them, and your tax dollars pay for it, so no reason not to try! Good luck - sounds like you have a little genius on your hands!

M.

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S.L.

answers from Kansas City on

It sounds to me like you have already answered your own question. There just aren't any hard and fast rules with kids. It's really best that you work with him where he's ready.

Does he like to draw? It may look just like scribbling now, but it's important to give him chances to strengthen his fine motor skills. You can introduce tracing a little bit now but he may not be able to follow so I'd start with big circles and squiggly lines.

It's wonderful that he likes to read to you. How does he do with listening by himself? You could get him some books on tape and see what happens when you walk away. The older he gets the more you are going to want to see him spend some time working on his stuff while you get a few things done.

Are you painting with him? I have a group of children that range between 2 and almost 3. I just ordered tons of painting supplies and have long sleeve smocks coming for them. It's been quite some time since we've done anything other than water colors. So last night I looked around the net and found so many sponge shapes, paint rollers with textures and all sorts of fun things for the younger kids to do with paint.

I look forward to the rest of the answers. People have such great ideas around here.

Suzi

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T.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Starfall.com is an excellent sight for reading readiness.

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L.W.

answers from Kansas City on

If you check into your local school district - they should have some programs where they can evaluate your child and let you know if he is at the level he should be at. They can then direct or offer direction on where to go from there.

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M.H.

answers from Tulsa on

They want them to be potty trained of course. When my daughter tested in for her 3yr old program at preschool they made her draw a straight line and a circle. She was asked to say her abc's and see how high she could count. They asked her her colors and had her identify some basic pictures. It was REALLY basic. At that young they just want to make sure they are not really developmentally impaired so they can stand the structure. Your son should be fine.

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A.C.

answers from Oklahoma City on

There are no "readiness" signs. At this age pre-school is more about socialization than academics. It's important for children at his age to learn to play with other children. Up until about 3 kids play side by side and then they move to playing together. Motor skills is another area that is important for children this age. Large (riding a trike, climbing a playstructure) and small (handling a large crayon, working a glue stick or bottle of glue) are so important. These skills lead into the academics they will start on when they turn 4. (recognizing and learning to write numbers and letters). I would find a pre-school for the fall that has a good foundation in those areas. Start looking now, b/c you will most likely have to get on a waiting list for a good one-- and pre-enrollment will most likely start this Spring.
Good luck. It sounds like you have an awesome little boy and are doing a great job with the reading! All teachers wish that parents would read as much as you obviously are!

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K.C.

answers from Kansas City on

I wouldn't worry about it too much at the age of 2. If he enjoys having you read to him he's sure to be a quick learner. We didn't do preschool until my daughter was 4. At that point the teacher emphasized letting them play with play dough to build the muscles in their hands and fingers. If you're looking for a website that has a free preschool curriculum you might check out www.letteroftheweek.com .

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S.M.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.,

I do not know of a preschool readiness sight, but I wasn't sure if you knew that preschools register in February to begin in the fall. I was quite surprised to find out that when I was going to start looking in the summer, that the preschools were already full and had registered months before!

Preschool readiness signs are more being able to be away from you for the amount of time he will be at school, potty trained (for most schools anyway), and developing social skills that will allow him to benefit from being and working with other kids and adults.

Hope that helps!
S.

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A.K.

answers from St. Louis on

The 3 year old pre-school programs are often geared towards introducing young children into the structure of the classroom. They do learn, however most of what they do is organized playing that works on important developmental areas. Such as fine motor-skills, shapes, colors etc. I'd describe it as educational play time out side of the home. It is not as structured as 4 year old and the Pre-K pre-school classes, so it gently eases children into the idea of school.

I sent two of my boys to Holy Cross Lutheran Church Pre-School here in O'Fallon. They only went to the Pre-K classes. The teachers there were fabulous with the kids. A lot of the children in my boys classes were returning from the 3 year old class or were siblings of children who had gone there before.

With all three of my boys I followed the "What to Expect during the Toddler Years" book. The name's not quite right, but it's the follow up to "What to Expect When Your'e Expecting" book. There were lists each month of milestones your child could be reaching. Parents as Teachers probably has information available also.

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K.C.

answers from Wichita on

I think all-too often we fall into the trap of wondering if our kids are where they "should" be. All kids learn differently. There may be somethings one child is slower at learning, and other things he/she may learn more quickly. There really is no right or wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing our children to learn at their own pace.

Do things with your son that he enjoys. You said he enjoys trucks. Play with trucks, read truck books, watch the city trucks and road construction crews. These are all natural learning experiences for your son. Real learning takes place with real life, not by sitting at a table. The best thing for your son is playing with and reading to him!

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N.M.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,
I have a son who will also be 3 in Aug. He is currently in daycare. I have been told that he is a bit more advanced than the other children his age. I attribute this to his older (by thirteen months) brother. He knows most colors, ABC song, shapes, can count from 1 to 20 with confusion around 15-17. :) The biggest reason I wanted both of my children in daycare/ pre-k was for the social aspect. They both have learned how important it is to share and use words to convey ideas and emotions. I say get him involved ASAP. You can ask the teachers to evaluate where he is at and what you need to work on with him.

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M.L.

answers from St. Louis on

Check with your local school district. They have a program whee they send someone out on a regular basis to observe your child and will tell you where they are developing and where they are needing more help. Sorry cant recall the name of the program.

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N.W.

answers from Kansas City on

Contact your local elementary school and find out about Parent's As Teacher's in your area.

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J.K.

answers from St. Louis on

You are one lucky Mom. I recomend a Montessori program. Montessori begins achedimics at age 2.5 to 3 years old. I know of bright children, like your son, who read at 4. Do wonderful math at 4. I do not know what part of St Louis you live in.
Villa di Maria Montessori School is in Kirkwood. Children of Promise is by North West Mall, St Charles Rock Road area. Chesterfield Montessori is on Ladue Rd. West of 141. Cambell Montessori is in St Charles off I-70.
You are on lucky Mom.

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D.B.

answers from Kansas City on

You seem like a very loving mom who cares deeply about her children's future. My advice to you is to reconsider the idea of pre-school altogether. I know you are probably thinking (as many moms do), "But what about socialization?" I used to have this same question, until I started digging deeper into the facts about socialization (traditional school vs. homeschool) and I started asking a different question...Do I want my children to learn and pick up social skills from other children, or do I want my children learning social skills from mature adults (like their father and I)? I actually sent my innocent son to pre-school when he was 3 (he is now 5). He started to develop behavioral problems that he had picked up from the other children. He was basically learning much more negative behaviors than he was learning academically. But society told me that it was time to let go. "You can't protect him forever!" they told me.."He needs to learn how to socialize!" and "He needs peer interaction!" and (my personal favorite) "He needs to learn how to be in the 'real world'!" It sounded logical at first, but when I started to do the research on it, I found out how illogical it actually was. Our children don't need to be sent to an institution, where they are in a room full of children their same age, where they learn how to conform in order to be liked. Where they learn materialism, sexuality, bad manners and disrespectful behavior. Does this sound like the real world?? No! Yes, we (as adults) have to deal with rude and vain people. But we are adults! We can handle it! If we were properly brought up, that is. So, please consider taking these precious years that most might use to send their children away to learn important life skills on their own, and instead keep them home to learn them from the person most equipped for the job! You!!! If you have any questions, PLEASE email me at [email protected]____.com . I would love to talk to you some more about this. I know that you are a single mom, but it is still possible if you are determined to give your children the best shot at life!! God bless you!!

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