How to Know When your Child is Ready for Preschool

2017-03-15

In New Zealand, early childhood education (ECE) refers to the range of facilities available for children under five. But how do you know the best time to enrol your child? No one size fits all. Readiness for preschool has more to do with where your child is developmentally. Here are some tips for understanding preschool readiness. 

Independence 

It's helpful if your child is able to take care of some basic needs for themselves such as being potty-trained, washing their hands, or dressing themselves. However not all children master all these things before preschool - often they'll get motivated to learn once they're in school and see what their peers are doing. 

Separation Anxiety 

Is your child comfortable being apart from you? If you're worried about your child adjusting, you could trial some mini-separations. Many childcare centres will allow you to steadily reduce the time with your child at the centre, so they get used to you not being there.  

How Do They Interact in Groups? 

Learning how to cooperate with other kids is a big part of the early childhood centre experience. Many preschool activities mean children play and learn together, as well as sit still and share with others in a group.   

Regular Schedule 

Preschools usually follow a routine including play time, snack time, nap time. You can help your child get used to a regular schedule by starting a regular timetable at home a bit before they start preschool.   

Physical Stamina 

Children are kept busy and stimulated at early child care centres, from art and craft to outdoor play. Consider how and when your child needs to nap. If your little one still needs a mid-morning snooze, you might be able to start them off on shorter days before gradually increasing the time they're at the preschool.

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