What is the Right Age to Start Preschool?

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age to start preschool

There comes a stage when all new moms are exhausted and they want to know the right age to start preschool. You will find many advise popping up but it is you who needs to decide when to send the child and if your child is ready for preschool.

I remember as soon as Little Miss A turned 2 years old, I was under immense pressure to send her to school as she apparently was the right age to start preschool. I was always of the opinion that as I was home, she did not need to start a school routine at that age.

Once you start school, there will be a routine all your life. As parents, we both wanted her to explore things at her pace and enjoy some relaxed years of life. She had a routine but she enjoyed the free play. We traveled a lot and I think that was a great learning tool as well. Eventually, she started going to a preschool when she was 2 years and 7 months old.

Many people questioned and were surprised with our travel with the little one. We feel travel is life education. You must read my post, Travel with Your Child and See Him Grow to see how travel is important for the growth of your child.

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What is the Right Age to Start Preschool?

This is always a confusing decision for parents. If you ask me, there is no age which can be right. It is about the development and readiness of the child. Each child is different and they grow at their own pace in terms of social, emotional and of course, physical development.

There are some basic points you can check to find if your kid is ready and most of these depend on the structure of the school. In my opinion, there was only one thing I wanted to be sure of; communication.

Communication

The child should be able to communicate clearly what they want and if something is bothering them. When they go to school, if they are not able to tell the teacher or helper, it is an issue for them as well. The inability to communicate clearly can also frustrate the child and create an aversion to school.

The child should be able to come back home and tell the parent if there is any problem they are facing or even tell the teacher if they are uncomfortable.

Also, communication is essential for them to take instructions from the teacher and interact with other kids which is the main reason why you send them to school. Communication is a large part of most activities in a preschool and thus, I feel the right age to start preschool is when your child can communicate.

Other Factors

Besides the above, depending on your school you should also ensure the following:

  1. If your school only takes potty trained kids, ensure the child is trained. In our case, they were ok for kids to wear diapers and in fact, helped me train her.
  2. The child should have dropped the mid-morning nap and has the physical stamina to be in school for the required time. Though, many day cares break the day into intervals and let the child nap. Here I am only talking o preschools with a schedule of 3-4 hours daily. 
  3. The child should be able to eat basic food and drink water on their own.
  4. If the parents are working, it is a good idea to start preschool where the child has more scope to interact with kids their age and learn.
  5. The child should be emotionally ready to handle the separation.
  6. Children above 2-2.5 are usually more likely to enjoy interacting with their peer group

Why is Preschool Important?

Many parents do not send kids to a preschool and there is nothing wrong with it. If you can ensure some kind of social interaction with other kids and do some activities to stimulate their growth, there is no need to send them. Preschools teach very simple and basic concepts in a fun way.

In our case, sending Little Miss A to a preschool was a good idea. It helped her overcome a lot of her inhibitions and she did learn a lot. Teaching kids is an art and not all moms have it. (I for sure did not have it).

Also as most parents are working, it is tough to give them quality time and attention. In such a case, it makes sense to send the child to a preschool. Most preschools have shorter working hours, thus, this prepares the child for formal school with longer working hours.

Sending the child to a preschool or not or when to send is a parent’s decision. There are no rules. There is no right age to start preschool. Parents have to see their situations and convenience and then decide. Preschools are like an introduction for formal schools and a great way to gauge the kind of teaching style which will suit their child.

Tips to Send Child to Preschool

Seeing your little one walking into a school is an overwhelming experience for all parents. Getting a child ready mentally and physically always helps. Showing them videos and reading stories like Goat Goes to Playgroup get them excited and ready. To read more tips, read our post, Tips for The First Day of School.

Conclusion

It is not easy for a mother to send their child to school. You will go through a myriad of emotions. I was no different. Read my post, First Day of School, A confused mother to know what I went through that day. Each milestone your child reaches comes with its challenges and only a mother knows what she goes through.

Little Miss A will start formal school soon and again it will be a big change for both of us. Somewhere, we both are ready but I am sure when the day comes we will experience something we had not anticipated. So as we get ready for this new phase, all I want to tell parents, there is no right age to start preschool. Do not take stress, there will be many more situations where you will need to stress.

(Read our post,  A Letter to My Daughter Starting Formal School)

52 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with your points Arushi. For sending kids to preschool, parents have to see if they are mentally ready. It’s a new phase in their life. Being independent, able to interact is very important. Both my kiddos started pre school at 2.5. I could see that they were ready for that.

    • Glad you agree. 2.5 is a good age to start. I delayed because it was nearly time for the winter break and i thought it was better to start post that. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. I agree with you arushi, and sending kids to pre-school should be an individual decision of parents and they can decide as per their choice or personal preference. as per my experience, pre school does wonder for kids. they enjoy fun while learn way, that most of the schools are used nowadays. you had mentioned some important reminders and tips for parents in this post, will help lots of parents to make their kids pre-school ready,

  3. As you say one of the most important things that has to be taken into account before sending a child to preschool is his or her ability to communicate feelings of discomfort if any. At the same time we also have to look at the quality of the preschool. The teacher’s in the preschool should be adept at understanding a child’s way of communicating.

  4. Great points to focus on. It’s better to send them to preschool especially if the parents are going to work. I wonder, by the way, when is it okay for the mother to get back to work after having a baby?

  5. We started at 2.5 years because we felt he was ready then. But it took a long time to settle down. He started school last year at 3.5 yrs. Suddenly he started enjoying school. You have brought some valid points here.

  6. Phew! That’s a lot of things you need to be sure of! Looking at people handling motherhood, I freak out. I’m sure the feeling is very different looking at it and being there 🙂

  7. You are so right Arushi, sending children to preschool is such a personal choice and depends on so many factors.
    We sent my son to twice weekly classes at age 2 but only began preschool at 2.5 and I think it was a good decision!

  8. This point is always under debate…when to start preschooling. Love the way you bring out the positives and the negatives and put your point across. These days parents are under too much stress..in our time it wasn’t so.

  9. You have rightly stated “There is no right age limit for starting preschool” Every child is different and it is about time our education system makes apt changes in its curriculum and redesigns the process to create leaders and not followers. Your post is very relevant and contemporary. Loved it!

  10. I strongly believe that there is no certain age to start schooling, it is only your child’s degree of readiness which decides when to go . First day of kid’s school is liking we parents are going for some exams, can imagine that day I send my son , now I have to go through again with that face when my daughter will start her schooling next year. Well explained all pointers!

  11. I strongly believe in there is no certain age for schooling, it is only your child’s degree of readiness which decides when to go . First day of kid’s school is like we parents are going for some exams, can imagine that day when I send my son to school on very first day, now I have to go through the same phase again when my daughter will start her schooling next year. Well explained all pointers!

  12. Well, I’m not really sure, but these schools near my place admit the student according to the age and even if that means that the kid has to miss a class or so. Like I had a friend who moved to Banglore and was looking for admission. While his son had just completed his 5th grade in the school earlier, his new school advised admitting the kid directly in the 7th due to his age. They said it was because of the age of the kid. Is that the norm everywhere?
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    • Playschools dont have an age criteria though formal schools do. But i have never heard of a school asking a child to skip a class as it gets tough for the child and there is too much pressure. I do not think it is the norm

  13. Both my kids went to preschool at 2 years of age and took almost 4 weeks to settle down completely. Once they were settled, there was no looking back. They love going to school. About being able to eat independently, my elder one did not begin to finish his tiffin untill he was almost 5. I would then make sure to fill up his tummy in the morning and let him have a full lunch once he was back home. Slowly he began responding to the variety of things he got in his tiffin.

  14. When Miss A turned 18 months, many people insisted that I should send her to school. But I was quite reluctant to send her as she was very small. So when she turned 2.5 years then we sent her to school. And boy what a saga it was Miss A refused to like her school. Hope it is not the same with Baby A.

  15. I was worried as soon as she was 2 yrs about starting preschool.We even enrolled and she hated it.We tried a different school at 2 yrs 6 months and she loved it so much that we had no trouble at all.It depends on the child to some extent but being potty trained does help.

  16. I sent my son to a preschool very early. He was only 1.6 years old. It was for one hour a day. I was very skeptical and was hesitant to send him but sometimes you have to give in by the family pressure! I had decided that I would see for 14 days , if my son cries or is unhappy will pull him out of the school. But touchwood from day one he was very happy and the staff took very good care of him. His school also helped me in toilet train him. I continued him I’m the same preschool for the next two years too. This year he is about to start LKG.

  17. A very informative post and super cute pics of Miss A. My elder started at 2 as he was super active and needed more places to show energy but with younger he started at 2.5. We sure need to see are they ready to start and be independent, are they ready to accept the change.

  18. Oh this is such a painful topic for child and parents both. Oh my little one has travelled a lot and that is turning on of the reasons of inability to stay in school longer than a month.

  19. I totally agree that the little ones should start preschool when they are ready to enjoy peer interaction. In fact I am glad you chose to write on this

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