That is the question. It is not always easy to send your 3 year old to preschool. It is a tough decision. Parents experience separation anxiety just as much as children do. It is hard for some to entrust their little one to someone else. There isn't a one-size fits all checklist that helps make the decision any easier. So, to help you make the right decision ask around, ask for referrals and do the research. There are very highly qualified preschools who will love your little one as much as you do. Here are some points to consider when making your decision. Hope they help.
Independence - Is your child able to perform certain basic skills like washing hands, eating with no assistance and potty trained?
Separation - Has your child ever been away from you let's say for a sleep over at grandma's house? Children who have been apart from mom and dad usually find the transition to preschool easier.
Focus - Can your child work on his/her own for short periods of time? Can he/she sit to do a puzzle or craft?
Maturity - Is he/she ready for group activities such as circle time, interacting and playing with other children, listening to stories?
Schedule - Does your 3 year old have a regular schedule? Routine and consistency provide comfort for children and a sense of control.
Stamina - Preschool is a busy place. Is your child able to move smoothly through a busy morning without becoming cranky?
Goals/Reasons - What are your reasons for sending your child to preschool? Is it your goal to have your child prepared for kindergarten and to establish a sense of "well-being", belonging, learning to engage with peers and learning how to express oneself appropriately?
Not all 3 year olds are ready to attend a preschool. Readiness includes where your child is developmentally in terms of social skills, emotional skills, physical skills and cognitive skills. The question to ask yourself is whether or not your child is ready to participate in a semi-structured program with other children. If not now, there are things that you can do at home that will prepare your little one for the preschool experience. That's for the next blog post. Stay tuned.