Preschool For 2-Year-Olds: Is Your Toddler Ready?
When you think about school, a rigid schedule and a room full of desks probably springs to mind. You probably take a look at your toddler and think that there’s just no way they are ready for the type of school experience you remember from your past. And, you’re right, they aren’t ready for it. However, preschool for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds looks nothing like what you’ll find a few years from now in elementary school.
As preschool teachers, we’ve studied child development and understand the mind of 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. They are curious and learn quickly. They are adding hundreds of words to their vocabulary each year, although some toddlers are more verbal and expressive than others. They are learning how to build relationships with others, but sometimes have trouble sharing and communicating. Some are potty trained, while many others won’t hit that milestone until after their third birthday. While they yearn to explore the world, they still crave consistency, routine and safety. A great preschool for 2-year-olds can provide the perfect environment for toddlers, helping them to learn and grow in patient, loving environment.
Is Your Child Ready?
Some children seem to be born highly independent. They have no problem spending time away from their parents and love the myriad of engaging activities a preschool provides. Some children have intense separation anxiety and most fall somewhere in the middle. Obviously, a highly independent child is probably ready for preschool as well as child that can handle some separation from their parents with ease.
But what about the child that becomes quite anxious when separated from loved ones? Separation anxiety is not always a good reason to delay preschool. In fact, it can be a good way to alleviate this issue. Rest assured, the teachers and staff at Precious Moments are committed to providing a safe and loving environment for each of students. At this age, especially, if a student feels safe and secure, the child quickly will adapt to this new preschool experience.
Another indicator that your child is ready for preschool is their enjoyment of social situations. If your child loves playing at the park with other children or loves playdates, this is another indicator that they will adjust quickly to school. Keep in mind that two-year-old’s, especially, tend to engage in parallel play rather than genuine interaction with playmates. As they head into their three’s, children will begin truly playing together and learning the intricacies of socialization.
We find that while transitioning into a preschool for 2-year-olds can be difficult for some students, most of our toddlers adjust within just a few days or perhaps two weeks at the most. Every toddler has a unique personality, but one aspect that most toddlers share is their thirst for knowledge and learning. We have so many interesting activities here at Precious Moments, that even the most reluctant student will be enticed to try something new. Typically, once they become engaged with an activity, they forget about their anxiety and enjoy themselves.
How Parents Can Help
Worrying and parenting seem to go hand in hand, and it’s normal for parents to feel a bit anxious about sending their child to preschool for the first time. If you have a shy or anxious child, that worry grows exponentially, but we have a few tips that can make this transition much easier.
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Consider spending some time apart before that first day of school approaches. Hire a sitter and spend a couple of hours running errands or enjoying a nice dinner with your significant other. As your child begins to learn that they are safe with another person, they gradually will have less anxiety about separation.
It also helps to create a quick good-bye ritual that helps them transition to the separation. Perhaps you give a quick hug, a kiss and then a high-five before heading out the door or perhaps you give five kisses or sing a good-bye song. No matter what ritual you develop, stick with it when you head to the first day at our preschool for 2-year-olds. A familiar goodbye ritual can provide a toddler with much peace of mind.
When it comes to socialization, consider setting up some playdates or heading to the park or perhaps taking a toddler class at a local community center. Spending time with other children can make the social transition easier for your child. The San Jose area boasts many community centers with classes for toddlers that range from art classes to dance to sports and much more. These can be excellent experiences for toddlers and a good way to transition into preschool.
An Overview Of Our Preschool Program
At our preschool for 2-year-olds, we’ve developed specific curriculum and schedules for our 2 and 3-year-old students. Samples of our daily schedules can be seen under the Nutrition & Enriched Programs tab on our homepage. Of course, we encourage you to set up a tour of our facility or perhaps attend one of our Open Houses, so you can get a firsthand look at our school and the activities offered to students.
After perusing this sample schedule, you will see that we have divided up the day into small, manageable chunks of time to account for our little learner’s short attention spans. Our day includes group circle time, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon. In between these circle times, students can select activities from our learning centers or participate in small-group activities. We offer a STEAM-based curriculum, an educational approach that includes Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.
At our preschool for 2-year-olds, we also reserve a significant portion of the afternoon for resting or quiet work time, as many of our toddler students still need a nap or quiet downtime in the middle of the day. Of course, not all children will take a long nap, and a few don’t nap at all, so we have designed a variety of quiet activities for those who don’t typically nap during the day. We also provide plenty of time for outdoor play for our toddlers, providing an outlet for their boundless energy.
If you are still asking yourself if your toddler is ready for preschool, give us a call. We encourage you to take a tour of our preschool for 2-year-olds, and we encourage you also to bring your toddler to visit our school a few times before the beginning of the school year.