What is Preschool?
There are many terms used alternately to describe a learning environment for two to four year olds before Kindergarten. Some of these are not considered preschool, depending on their curriculum and settings. You’ve probably heard them referred to as childcare centers, daycare, nursery schools or pre-k.
Daycare Centers are usually opened for a full day anywhere from 7am to 7pm in the evenings. Daycare Centers are often associated with parents who have to work and have no one else they can put the care of their child in. Daycare or Childcare centers often take in children from infants to four or five years old, some older in special situations.
Head Start is a free federally funded preschool program that operates in all 50 states in America. Head start offers comprehensive programs designed to incorporate health, nutrition, education and social services for low-income families.
If you are struggling with the decision whether to enroll your child into preschool here are some guidelines:
Positive reasons to let your child attend preschool : Promote your child’s independence. They will learn how to get along with other children, especially if they don’t have other children their age to interact with. They will be exposed to learning rules and routines of a classroom environment as well as have access to books and art materials. Your child can learn to develop language and communication skills.
Reasons to reconsider preschool would be: You or your child may not be emotionally ready to separate, even for a few hours. If you are enjoying being with your son or daughter and are able to stay at home with them, then, by all means, do so. Make memories with them and have fun in the early years. It’s ok to wait another year. If you feel that you are already providing a fulfilling preschool experience for your child and they are able to interact with other children their age, then you don’t need to worry about making the right decision. You may listen to well-meaning friends or relatives, but this is a decision best made by you.
Some questions to ask yourself and/or the preschool before making a final decision:
(Observe for yourself) Does the facility look clean and welcoming?
What is your discipline policy?
Is the staff CPR certified? What about general first aid?
How is the security here?
(Observe for yourself) Do the children look happy and relaxed?
(Ask yourself) Can I picture my child being happy here?
If you’ve already decided to put them into preschool and you or your child is having a little separation anxiety, you will probably be able to hang around the school for a bit of time before leaving. Keep in mind, you never want to “sneak out” of the school. Be sure to tell your son or daughter that you are leaving and you will be back. Hugs and kisses. Be strong and smile. Even if you feel like crying or frowning, don’t. If you let them know you’re sad, they’ll pick up on your feelings and start to become upset.
Whatever your decision, be informed and you will be assured that you’ve made the right choice.