When Is Your Child Ready for Child Care or Preschool?

| October 19, 2012

preschoolers in music class There’s no steadfast rule about when a child is ready for a child care center or preschool, but there are things for you to consider. Keep reading to learn more. As you decide whether it’s time, don’t forget to start your search at DexKnows child care centers.

Preschool vs. daycare

Although people may use them interchangeably, there are differences between a preschool and a daycare.

Day care centers are open longer hours, giving working parents a place to take their children. These facilities are places where children learn to respect other children and play together, but often don’t include a specific curriculum or education program.

Preschools, the blog Family Education states, are generally based around educating children. These facilities have specific lesson plans and teachers whose specialty is childhood education. Their operating hours are generally shorter, geared more toward how long it takes to educate children each day than what parents need as far as day care. Both full-day and half-day programs are usually available.

The ages of children accepted is also different. Daycare centers may take children as young as infants and young toddlers, but preschools focus more on children between 2 1/2 and 6 years old.

When children are ready

The blog Parents.com suggests that the best time for a child to start day care is after the child’s first birthday. That is when children are a little over their separation anxiety and they are making leaps in their motor, social and other skills. There’s still considerations, though. Some child care centers prefer children to be potty trained. In addition, some children may not emotionally be able to handle separation from their parents at that age.

BabyCenter.com advises parents to talk to people who know their children, such as doctors and caregivers, to get their opinions about whether their children are ready. Psychoanalyst Dr. Leon Hoffman told WebMD.com that if children aren’t ready to be away from their parents and suffer too much anxiety, the teaching isn’t going to have the same benefits.

Other things to consider as to whether children are ready for preschool is if they can take care of some of their basic needs, including washing their hands and eating alone. Children who do projects on their own also may be better candidates for a preschool. It’s a measure of how independent a child is.

Why preschool?

Many elementary teachers will tell you that they can spot the children who went to preschool. They are emotionally more prepared when they start kindergarten and more capable of dealing with the separation from their parents. That is especially beneficial more with full-day kindergarten programs rather than half-day.

Children are also more ready to learn. Kindergarten is no longer just learning how to play with children and color within the lines. Kindergartens these days have academic standards that they are expected to meet. They need children to start school with some basic knowledge, including knowing their numbers and being able to identify letters. This is where preschool comes into play.

WebMD.com refers to a Carnegie Foundation study that found children who began education early were more likely to excel later and more likely to graduate from high school. That success carried on into their lives.

It is also about socialization. Children learn how to share and get along with others.

Special needs children

Most child care centers must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network in New Jersey. That means they cannot exclude a child with disabilities. SPAN states that to exclude a child, child care centers must show that a child poses a direct threat to others or requires the center to make a “fundamental alteration” to their program.

The website Care.com states that child care centers run by religious entities do not fall within the requirements of Title III of the ADA.

These are all issues to consider when thinking about whether to place your child in a child care center such as day care or preschool. Keep them in mind and start your search on DexKnows child care centers.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Child Care, Evergreen, Services

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.