Is your little one ready for preschool? Here are the signs you should look out for

Is your little one ready for preschool?
Are you thinking about sending your toddler to preschool? The experts from these preschools share the signs you should be looking out for...

Parents, raise your hand if you’re excited about sending your little one to preschool! No? Please pass the tissues because yes, we feel the same way. It’s a tough experience for any parent, especially since our kids still seem so little. By sending them to school, it feels as if we are acknowledging that they’re growing up – even if it’s something that we’ll always be in denial about (sniff…they’ll always be our babies!). But here’s the thing; it’s inevitable and it will (hopefully) get easier with each first day of school. Is your little one ready for preschool? Read on to find out.

If you’ve been thinking about preschool and whether or not your little one is ready, you’re in luck! We spoke to some of our favourite preschools in Singapore and they’ve shared their expert opinions on preschool readiness and tips for parents…  

Anastasia Edwards, Principal,  EtonHouse International Pre-School at Claymore

What are the signs your little one is ready to start preschool?
One of the most common signs that we inform parents to look out for before deciding if their child is ready to start preschool is if they are engaging in and enjoying experiences of a social nature. You may want to observe if your child is spending increasingly longer amounts of time playing with other children or is curious and confident to explore different materials during various social events. If so, it might be time to support your child’s development by enrolling them into preschool.

How can parents prepare their little ones for preschool?
We would suggest beginning by talking to your child about preschool, share with them who their teachers will be and what they will be doing during the school day. A visit to the school is extremely important as it supports children with building familiarity and forming positive associations with the school. In our preschool we believe in building strong home-school connections where teachers and parents openly work together to best support children. This is especially important as every child is unique and will need individual strategies to support settling into their new school. Lastly, it is important to ask yourself if you are also ready for your little one to begin this exciting journey as your enthusiasm will naturally support your child!

Read EtonHouse International Pre-School’s profile on HoneyKids School Selector

Is your little one ready for preschool?

At GESS preschool, we welcome all children and we celebrate their diversity of origins, languages, cultures, experiences and needs. Photo Credit: GESS

Laura Munaro, Head of Preschool, GESS

What are the signs your little one is ready to start preschool?
I believe every child is ready for preschool. Every child is individual and every child that joins preschool will bring their unique history, social and cultural background and prior experiences. Preschool should be the place where a child’s uniqueness adds to the richness of the school’s community and it is celebrated. For many, preschool is the first independent social interaction a child has with a wider community, and this form of interaction will expose the child to new experiences and relationships. Being at preschool not only allows children to develop their knowledge and skills, but also will contribute to the formation of their identity. At GESS preschool, we welcome all children and we celebrate their diversity of origins, languages, cultures, experiences and needs.

How can parents help prepare their little ones for preschool?
Parents should prepare their children by getting them excited and curious about their learning journey. A visit to the preschool prior to their start date will help the child to familiarise themselves with the environment and create expectations about their new daily routines. It is also important that parents reassure their children that they are there for them whenever they need them to be. Sharing experiences is also important; for example, my daughter and I bought her backpack together, and we pack her snack every morning. At bedtime we talk about our day: the exciting things, if something upset us or made us proud. We also discuss the next day to create expectations and excitement, and to help her overcome any concerns she might have.

Read GESS’s profile on HoneyKids School Selector

Is your little one ready for preschool?

Just another day at the Early Learning Village! Photo Credit: SAIS

Michael Day, Early Years Principal, Stamford American Early Learning Village

What are the signs your little one is ready to start preschool?
All children can benefit by attending a preschool program that is age appropriate. Preschool will help your toddler develop important skills, such as taking turns, listening to others, helping others. Rather than signs of being ready for preschool, we find that it is more a case of how parents feel that our school can provide a more stimulating environment than the environment that parents can provide at home. Children are always ready to benefit from a safe, challenging yet predictable comfortable environment that grows and changes with your child.

How can parents help prepare their little ones for preschool?
One tip that parents can use to get their toddler ready for preschool is to get your child involved in playgroup events. By being involved in playgroups your child will meet other friends and socialise. With your gentle but firm guidance, your child will learn to share toys, make new friends and start to become independent. Children need a regular sleeping routine and a regular schedule throughout their day. We recommend no phones, nor iPad technology and only a maximum of 10-15 minutes of television per day. A fixed routine, and especially sharing a book before sleep time, will help your child have a good night’s sleep. Routines established at home will make for an easier transition to preschool where there are also established routines.

Read Stamford American Early Learning Village’s Profile on HoneyKids School Selector

Is your little one ready for preschool?

A child starting preschool is a new experience for parents too! Photo credit: Shaws Preschool

Liane Shaw, Director, Shaws Preschool

What are the signs your little one is ready to start preschool?
In Singapore, most preschools take in children from 18 months to 6 years old. Most children start preschool between 18 months to two years old. To know when your child is ready, here are some questions to ask yourself: Is your child able to express himself to unfamiliar people? As parents we can read out child’s needs without them having to express themselves. At preschool on the other hand, it is important that your child is able to get basic needs and feelings across to teachers. Does your child attempt independent activities at home? These could be simple things such as wanting to set the table, or wanting to put their own shoes on. These are little signs that your child is ready to start preschool. Is your child curious about the world? For children who can talk, this would include asking lots of questions. For children who are not talking yet, it could be wanting to touch things around them, or they like trying new things.

How can parents help prepare their little ones for preschool?
Starting preschool is a new experience for parents too, so don’t forget to prepare yourselves too, adults! Do prepare yourselves for the separation anxiety, and remember to stay positive so your child does not pick up on your stress. Reassure your child that you will be back for pick up at the end of the day. When saying goodbye, do it quickly. Don’t linger or play peek-a-boo as this will only make the separation a lot harder for your child. Trust the Principal and teachers – they have years of experience settling in hundreds of children.

Read Shaws Preschool’s Profile on HoneyKids School Selector

Is your little one ready for preschool?

White Lodge provides a child–centred learning environment that encourages active learning, involvement and discovery through a hands-on approach. Photo credit: White Lodge International Preschool & Kindergarten

Raihanah Raimi, Curriculum Manager, White Lodge International Preschool & Kindergarten

What are the signs your little one is ready to start preschool?
A key telltale sign that a child is ready for preschool is their willingness to do things by themselves. When they start to assert their independence by wanting to put on their own shoes or open their own toy box, this level of independence will translate into other self-help skills like hand washing and picking up after themselves – skills which are constantly encouraged and practiced at White Lodge. A child is ready for preschool when they are comfortable being apart from the parent or guardian. Some separation anxiety is always expected at the very beginning, but it usually only lasts about 15 minutes before the child moves on to the next toy or book in sight.

How can parents help prepare their child for preschool?
Children will be expected to follow a routine at preschool. Parents can set a routine at home, which will help introduce the child to the concept of following a routine, which can be as simple as washing hands before meals or eating at the table. If your child does not have many opportunities to play with other children, playgroups can be a good strategy to introduce your child to the concept of preschool. At playgroups they will learn to share toys and develop their social and communication skills.

Read White Lodge International Preschool & Kindergarten’s profile on HoneyKids School Selector

Top image credit: EtonHouse International School Singapore

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