As the school reopened after the summer vacations, it was a treat to see the young cheery faces enter their second home with excitement and enthusiasm. Each child had a story to tell or an instance to share with their teachers and peers. It almost felt like the young Kinder Carians were reuniting with their loved ones after a decade of separation. With children from the ages of 12 months to over 4 years coming to school with so much eagerness, I was taken back to one of the most often question that parents asked, “What is the right time to send a child to a preschool”?
Well, there is no definite answer to that. As I often tell parents, no two children are the same. The needs, the demands, the maturity level and so on differ for each and every child, and therefore, determining one age to enrol them in a preschool would be rather unfair. What is important to remember is that, when children go to playschools, they learn more than just numbers and letters. The preschool becomes the foundation of their value system and has a direct impact on how they grow up to be. While it is almost impossible to determine the right age, but there are a few factors that can be helpful in deciding when is the right time.
Firstly, if both the parents are working, and the child gets seldom chances of socializing with his/her age mates, enrolling the child in a preschool at an early age would be a good idea. This would allow the child to interact with other kids of the same age group and prevent him/her from becoming socially isolated. Early age preschoolers often turn out to be confident and socially outgoing. Secondly, the maturity of the child will determine what level of preschool he/she should join. While there are levels within the preschool, pushing the child to mature faster to enrol him/ her into a nursery instead of pre-nursery, would not be a wise move. Let the child grow and mature at his/her pace. Thirdly, if the child begins to enjoy a multitude of activities, it is time for him/ her to join a preschool. Each preschool has a predetermined routine which involves ample time for play, learning, extracurricular activities, etc. Exposing children to different activities in a systematic and constructive way will positively impact their all-round development. Finally, if the child expresses the desire to go to school on his/ her, do not hold them back.
To cut a long story short, every child is different and there is no ‘RIGHT’ age that can be blindly applied to all children. Parents understand their child the best and the best judges of their readiness to join a preschool.