Before you answer that question, child psychologist Dr. Lyle Cadenhead, who practices at A Nurturing Home in Montrose, suggests that you assess your child’s development in four key areas. To wit:

Social: “Is he or she able to separate from parents easily or readily?” Cadenhead asks. “Can they be with others?”

Emotional: Cadenhead says little ones need to be able to sit still in circle time and negotiate the structure of heading off to various workstations during each day. “Are they able to manage their emotions at an appropriate developmental level? If they have frequent meltdowns, if they can’t contain themselves, then they probably are not ready to go yet.” 

Cognitive: “Their speech needs to be appropriate…. If they can’t get their needs met in a group setting or with the teacher, that could cause an emotional or behavioral breakdown. They need to be able to ‘use their words.’ If not, that’s when the hitting or biting can come into play.”

Physical: “If they go too young, they might not be able to handle the demands of the day.” 

It’s a parent’s job to inch children in the above directions, says Cadenhead. “You can give them the skills that they will need in preschool. You can help them stretch emotionally, learn as much as they can to interact socially. You can teach them how to sit in a circle. Teach them how to take a deep breath and calm themselves.” 

And remember too that your child needn’t be perfect on day one. Cadenhead says that any good preschool worth its salt will help children along. “They should blossom in the preschool,” she says. “Really, preschool is a wonderful place for a child, because they begin to learn so much.”

Filed under
Show Comments