When Do Kids Start Preschool? A Definitive Guide

Preschool education is that which includes from 3 to 5 years. It is not compulsory in most countries and is based on stimulating the child’s intellectual, emotional, and motor development so that they can take advantage of it when they start primary education (already compulsory) at the age of 6.

Also called early childhood education, it tries to develop and enhance the child’s abilities and prepare them for the learning they will have to do later. This is stated in the compulsory education law. Some kids go to preschool or early school from the age of 2.5. 

What do kids learn in early childhood education?

Each country has its own educational program, but in general, it is a system that contributes to the development and learning process of the child in several areas:

  1. Emotions: In the classroom, kids learn how to control their emotions, resolve problems, and respect the rules of society.
  2. Communication: The classroom exercises aim to improve their listening and communication skills since students need to build the confidence to speak up and converse with one another.
  3. Interest in reading: they still do not know how to read or write, but from the early stages of early childhood education it is a question of promoting interest and taste for books by reading in class and bringing stories closer to preschool children.
  4. Physical dexterity: psychomotor activities and body movement games prepare them to know and better control their bodies and prepare them for sports. These are activities that improve their coordination, control, manipulation, and movement skills. 
  5. Letters and numbers: the child is not taught to read or write but is put in contact with the world of letters and written language. The same goes for the numbers and the amounts they represent.
  6. Interest in the environment: it is about training children to learn about natural phenomena and living beings while acquiring habits favourable to caring for the environment.
  7. Stimulate creativity: initiatives are encouraged so that the child uses the imagination and expresses it through music, painting, and theatre…
  8. Values: children must recognize the basic principles of life in society. They are taught to act with dignity, tolerance, empathy, diversity, and generosity.

Ideal time to take the baby to preschool

What is the ideal time to leave your baby in preschool, preschool, or preschool so that you can return to work after maternity leave: Is two years old too early? Is it already late? What is the ideal age to enrol a child in preschool for the first time?

This is the great concern of many mothers, who wonder if it is convenient to leave their baby in preschool before the age of two. For work reasons, and in others, to facilitate a better adaptation to school for children, the start of preschool fills us with doubts.

I have to work, do I take my baby to preschool?

There are many who consider that the most recommended age for your child to start preschool is between 18 and 24 months of age. Keep in mind that, from 18 months, the baby already has autonomy: he begins to walk, says his first words, has learned to play with other children and contact with her mother is no longer so necessary. However, there is no age consensus among professionals. 

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends the age of three as a good age to send a child to preschool.  

  • Experts indicate that during the first years of life, the best place for your little one is home.  And it is that specialists in child development maintain that the ideal is to leave the child in preschool from the age of 2-3, but not before. 
  • The figure of the mother or father or, failing that, a constant representative figure that the baby can take as a reference during his first months of life, is necessary for the baby’s proper emotional development.

During those first few months of life

The baby needs direct contact with someone all day long and that is often not satisfied with a preschool career, who has to pay attention to other babies as well. 

Therefore, it is not a question of professional competence, but of mental development and of offering the baby what she needs. 

Therefore, when babies are less than 2 years old, if possible, it is recommended that they continue at home with their parents.

When babies go to preschool: Benefits

In the event that you cannot be with your baby during his first months of life, you should be more careful when choosing a preschool. 

It has to be a place with specialized personnel to care for children under two years of age and who provide individualized and stimulating attention so that the baby feels very loved, almost at home.

In most cases, it is the needs of the parents and family circumstances that determine whether the baby has to go to preschool sooner or later.

  1. If she has to go a little earlier, preschool will be good for her to interact with other children, gain autonomy and prepare for when school starts.
  2. Their development and their language can also be favoured by preschool. In general, in preschool, children gain autonomy, lose their fear of being separated from their mothers, and relate to other children. 
  3. Since babies are very young, they can build different bonds or interactions with their teachers and classmates, although at each stage of development, this relationship changes.

As explained in detail in the New Jersey Council for Young Children’s ‘Birth to 3’ guide, in the youngest babies this interaction is shown through crying, moaning, looking, or facial gestures. 

From 8-18 months, babies already sit next to other children, play, and point… From 16-26 months they already know their names, imitate behaviour, seek help from an adult when other babies cry, etc. Relationships evolve as children grow.

The health of babies who go to preschool

Another issue that parents are very concerned about is that of diseases since when the little ones start preschool they usually start with snot after a few weeks and do not release them until June. 

  • In this sense, it should be noted that the baby’s immune system is more immature during its first months of life and evolves with the growth
  • But on the other hand, it is quickly activated by the stimuli of infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses.
  • In subsequent contact with pathogens, the child’s defences are strengthened and the body will activate its immunological ‘memory’ when it comes into contact with the same virus or bacteria again. 

Therefore, the child may get sick more often in preschool or school, however, in compensation, they will have already created defences to face viruses and bacteria in successive stages. 

However, it is important to control that, each time the baby gets sick, it is about different disorders and diseases, because relapses can mean a poor cure for the disease or weak or insufficient defences.

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