Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?  

February 13, 2018

A father reading to his daughter in the evenings before bed, a mother playing a rhyming game with her son as they drive down the road, or grandparents asking their grandchildren what color their coats are all ways children are being prepared for school. Soon parents of children ages two to three will begin thinking about preschool registration.They may wonder which preschool is best for their child to attend. 

School readiness entails more than state guidelines. According to information on the Zero to Three website, learning begins as early as birth. By the time a child turns three they have initiated the groundwork for a lifetime of learning and success. It is so important to make the most of every learning opportunity for a child. By doing so, one is setting a child up to have a strong start in school. In the article School Readiness, the American Academy of Pediatrics defines school readiness as “the readiness of the individual child, the school’s readiness for children, and the ability of the family and community to support optimal early child development.” As we learn more about child development and the function of the brain, what we know is that early exposure to rich language and a variety of experiences matter. More importantly, these experiences enrich each child’s physical, self-help, social-emotional, language, and cognitive development. 

 
More specifically, between the ages of nineteen to twenty-four months, toddlers are developing social-emotional skills. Reflecting back to when my boys were at this stage, “NO” became their favorite word. Toddlers at this age are learning how to self-regulate and control their emotions. They begin to show signs of independence. Their language skills develop so they are able to request items, vocalize their wants and needs, and begin communicating for purposes of socializing. Toddlers are busy discovering how the “world works”. They are explorers finding the best hiding spot for mom’s car keys. They are developing a mind of their own.  Most importantly, what we know is that the best learning occurs around play. An early childhood consultant, Cari Ebert, states that young children learn best through play that is relevant and meaningful to their lives…not through direct instruction, drill work, or flashcards! 

As children progress from the “Terrible Twos” to the “Thrashing or Thunderous Threes”, they are becoming more independent with self-help skills such as dressing, taking dishes to the table, and toileting. Social-emotionally, children at this age learn to take turns, develop a sense of humor and play tricks on others. They become less resistant to change and play becomes more imitative and involves more imaginary play. Also at this time, a three year old’s language blossoms. Three year olds generally use: three word sentences, at least three prepositions, some plurals and past tense words, and the pronouns I, you, and me correctly. 

To learn more about school readiness, click on the following links:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/121/4/e1008 
https://www.zerotothree.org/early-learning/school-readinesshttps://www.zerotothree.org/early-learning/school-readiness 
https://edn.ne.gov/cms/resources/staying-on-track-as-your-child-grows-and-learns 
https://www.cariebertseminars.com/seminar-topics.html 

If you have concerns about your child’s development, contact the Early Development Network at ESU 10 at 308-237-2280.

--by Kristine Einspahr, School Psychologist