Parent Talk: When is the Right Time to Send Your Toddler to School?

Preschool helps prepare your child for first grade. It equips your child with the basic skills essential for optimum learning when they start elementary, also known as the “big school.” More than the academics, there are social skills your child will need to be able to interact with their classmates, especially in a big classroom setup. But how will you know if your child is ready for their first step in education?

Studies have shown how crucial early childhood education for a child’s over-all success for both in school and in life. From birth to five, children make great strides in their physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and language & literacy development. As such, it is important for every parent to cultivate the holistic development of their child. One means of doing so is by choosing a preschool that caters to their child’s needs and development. 

Parents should consider several factors to determine school readiness. One, it is important to take time to know your child and his or her personality. Two, based on your child’s personality, gather data on the various methodologies and philosophies in early childhood education to gear yourself with what to expect from each approach and how this may affect your child’s development. Three, take time to visit different preschools and observe how your child reacts to the environment. Four, talk to the School Directress and even the teachers to understand how they execute their methodology, philosophy, and assessments. Take note of how your child interacts with the teachers, too. It is important that the early childhood educators establish a natural and cheery rapport with them. Last, if you see your child drawn to the preschool and you find yourself satisfied with the philosophy & teachers, knowing that it would complement your child’s over-all development, then that may be a sign that your child is ready for school. 

For parents who find themselves at a crossroad, here are factors and tips you can consider in order to prep your child for school:

1. How to deal with separation anxiety?

One of the hardest things to deal with when your child first attends school is their separation anxiety from you or their caregiver. At preschool, an objective for every teacher is to foster the child’s independence. Having this sense of autonomy allows him or her to become confident as he or she grows older and enters big school. 

The SchoolRoom is very particular in preparing their classrooms by enticing the students to lessen any anxiety on the part of first time preschoolers. 

“The environment plays a very big factor in early childhood learning,” said The SchoolRoom Directress and early child development specialist Miss Tiffany Yu. “If you set-up the environment in such a way that is organized and appealing, then the child will be naturally drawn into it. I truly believe that the classroom is considered a third teacher. By creating a carefully planned classroom, active learning will occur simply by interaction alone.” 

“Moreso, separation anxiety should be dealt with gradually and on a case-to-case basis. Every child is different so depending on the child’s needs, adjustments on developing independence will take place,” said Miss Yu. 

On the other hand, if you see that your child is comfortable being away from you for some time, then that is a clear indication of preschool readiness. 

But of course, as a parent, you will be playing the biggest role in preparing your child. Parent-teacher communication is vital for The SchoolRoom. They want to work hand-in-hand with you to help your child develop the pertinent skills.

“We want to make sure we know the parents’ expectations and we’ll strive to achieve them,” said Miss Yu.

2. How to prepare them in a different environment?

Determine if your child can handle not being in their own room. Observe their behaviour every time you leave them with a relative or take them out to the mall. Are they confident and at ease? Do they rush to go home? 

In a preschool like The SchoolRoom, their play-based learning rooms are conducive for children in their early age. Making the educational experience of the children fun helps them adapt easily from being at home with the parent to being in the classroom with their classmates. 

“You make them feel like they’re not in a typical classroom setting. This helps them appreciate learning through activities they like doing. The children will not get overwhelmed and it will be easier for them to adjust to big school,” said The SchoolRoom President, Raquel Perez.

3. How to foster their curiosity further?

Children, especially as they reach the age of two to four, will be naturally curious about the world. If you see your child asking more and more questions about topics of his interest, this may be a sign for him to start going to preschool to develop this hunger. 

The SchoolRoom’s curriculum is based on an approach called Developmentally Appropriate Practies (DAP). DAP is based on the idea that the best approach to teaching kids is by looking into their needs, interests, socio-cultural background, as well as the child’s developmental level. It’s a practice that is adaptive of the individual differences of children. 

“We value the importance of every child’s need to learn and put emphasis on facilitating their over-all learning based on topics that interest them. For instance, if a child is fascinated by dinosaurs, then the early childhood educator can find books or information that are related to the topic of dinosaurs and share it with that child within a preschool day. They can find time to learn new trivia and find ways to share it with his classmates too!” said Miss Yu.  

4. Are they ready to spend time with other children?

Much of the preschool experience involves interaction and learning to cooperate with other children in the same age group. This is one of the most essential parts of learning because this is a skill they will need once they enter big school with the other big kids. 

Unless your child has shown consistent disruptive behaviour towards other children, there should be no reason for you to not enter your child in preschool. All humans are social beings so it’s best to send your child in a preschool that can allow for growth in his or her socialization. But parents of introverted children might be asking — “Won’t being around that many children cause stress to my child?” The School Room has an answer to that. 

“For cases where children are having a harder time relating to other kids, I usually develop a buddy system. Once a week we try to buddy up certain personalities with each other and see if they would work together. And if they connect and they make a good bond, I would really encourage these two children to work together side by side. I'd even encourage the parents to host play dates just to really foster that socialization aspect for the introverted child,” said Miss Yu. 

5. Are you ready to spend time away from them?

Even with all things considered, the decision to send your child to school is still yours and based on how you know your child. So really take the time to discuss the idea with your partner if you’re already 100% committed to send your child to preschool. If you decide that you both are, the next step is to find the right facility to shape and educate your child during this momentous time in his or her young life. 

The School Room helps your child adapt to school based on his or her skill needs so as to not overwhelm them. Its progressive and DAP-forward learning scheme adjusts to your child’s growth in all domains of development. 

“If you put your child in preschool, where it’s appropriate and we adjust depending on their needs, then they can be ready to go to any big school you’d like to send them to,” said Miss Perez.

If you are interested in the progressive school and DAP approach, particularly The SchoolRoom, you may visit the facility at AIC Gold Tower Unit, 106 Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For more information, you can call up (02) 632-7754 or 09178365222. You can also visit their website via http://www.theschoolroom.ph/.