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Parenting Q&A: When Is My Child Ready For Preschool?

Parenting Q&A: When Is My Child Ready For Preschool?

Q. How do I know when my child is ready for preschool? Is there a certain age when we should sign my daughter up or is it more about her social and intelligence levels?

A. An entire book could be written on this topic, but let me break it down simply. Consider your community. If you live in a city were one must go to private elementary school then preschool is needed. Where your child goes will depend on the philosophy you like and the hours you are interested in. If you live in a town where your child will attend the neighborhood public school then you have more freedom. You can consider how much exposure they will have to other children through parks or short classes. If you have the knowledge and patience to teach your child counting, sound recognition, science experiments and take them to the playground—then keeping your child home is a fantastic choice.

To read the rest of Lonna's answer,


Once you hand your child over to a school, someone else is influencing them so carefully choose that person. The right preschool will present itself and feel right to you. You should begin to observe when your child is a baby and think of starting him anytime from two to three-years-old. Look for short days where the teachers are well educated and enthusiastic. Look for a program you would love to take part in. If your child is ready they will be happy to explore for a few hours a day which will launch them well on their way to being independent.

— Lonna Corder

Parenting expert and Montessori school director, Lonna Corder has been doling out advice for 25 years as a teacher, parent/child consultant and on television. For more information, visit

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Join The Conversation
Tamar-Chansky Tamar-Chansky 8 years
Hello, great post! While there are cognitive readiness milestones for preschool, there are emotional ones too. Helping your child to stretch his or her comfort in being in other settings such as with friends or relatives for longer periods of time will make the transition easier. Readers may be interested in listening to a broadcast of an interview I did about Raising A Positive Preschooler. It's about helping kids to deal with frustration and disappointment and understand that learning is a process-- the earlier the better! Just follow this link. Tamar Chansky
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
both of my typically developing daughters asked to go. one at about 3 1/2 and the other at 2 1/2. both times i felt like "you don't want to spend the whole day with me?" :cry: i have a friend who didn't send one of her kids because he didn't want to go, had several same age friends in the neighborhood and was doing the preschool type things at home that she felt were important. it really depends on the child. if there was a preschool in the area that i had heard great things about i would be more likely to look into that as well.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
"If you live in a city were one must go to private elementary school then preschool is needed." I don't like that this is stated as fact. There are plenty of private schools that don't require preschool.
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