Although this might, at first, sound too young of an age to start school—and for some children, it will be—some toddlers are ready to take advantage of all the benefits that school can provide.
It’s more about your child’s readiness for the experience than their actual age.
Signs of Readiness
According to Rasmussen University, a key sign of readiness is when your child can understand and follow one- or-two step instructions. If your toddler can follow basic requests from you during the day, they most likely will be able to do so at school.
As a second readiness sign, your child will be okay when apart from you for the necessary amount of time. It’s normal if, at first, your child cries after you leave; if they remain upset at school, they may need more preparation. They may need reassurance that, after they spend time with their friends—learning new things with them—you’ll be back to pick them up.
Additional signs, BabyCenter.com notes, include your child’s ability to both work on projects, solo, and participate in group activities. Projects at school may include arts and crafts; if your child enjoys doing them at home, they may be ready to do so at school. The school will also include circle time and other group learning activities where they may listen to stories while sitting still or singing songs together.
To attend school, Understood.org shares, young children must have enough of an attention span. They should be able to concentrate on a classroom activity—such as the reading of a short picture book—that lasts ten or twenty minutes. That said, a bit of distraction is normal when your child is getting used to being around other kids in a structured environment.
Children also need enough stamina, physically and mentally, as they follow a routine. A litmus test may be how much napping your child still needs to do. If they still need a long morning nap and a long afternoon one, they may not be ready yet.
Issues to Consider
Schools will have different policies about toilet readiness, Romper.com writes, so get clarity on what is expected from your child at your school of choice. Also make sure that your child can share needs through words (and, as needed, signs).
As Dr. Patricia Fioriello states, there’s no specific time when a child will be ready to attend a structured program. Variables include the child’s temperament as well as individual needs. She encourages parents to weigh the pros and cons of their specific situation and make the decision that’s best for their child.
Toddler Care at Horizon Education Centers
Horizon offers our toddler school program for children aged 18 to 36 months in preparation for preschool. We include development activities that help your child to grow, experience positive peer interaction, and gain valuable life skills. More specifically, your child will benefit from:
- Cognitive development
- Self-help skills
- Social and emotional development
- Language and literacy skills
- Physical health/Indoor and outdoor activities
To get more information about our toddler school program or enroll your child in this safe, nurturing environment where they can thrive, please fill out the form on the toddler program page. We look forward to talking with you!