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Thread: What's the ideal age for starting pre-school?

  1. #1

    Default What's the ideal age for starting pre-school?

    In your opinion? I would like everyone's personal and professional opinions please

  2. #2
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    IMO 3.5-4. DD1 has an August bday and had turned 3 right before she would have started. To me she did not seem ready. She was barely potty trained, still napping, heck she was still in a crib! By Feb we had gone to shop around to start her in Sept (when she would have turned 4) and there was an opening so we put her in then because I had DD2 who was a major high needs baby and I was very overwhelmed and felt like I could not provide what DD1 needed. She was 3.5 at the time and the 6 months had made a HUGE difference.

    DD2 has a Feb birthday so she was already 3.5 when she started and again I saw a huge difference between her at 3 vs 3.5.

    That is my experience with my own kids. I really think it depends on the child and family but I don't agree with starting before 3. They are just too young and I don't think it's fair to the other kids in the class. As I said DD2 was 3.5 and some kids in her class had not yet turned 3 but they let them in. I was kind of annoyed that they did that. They were so babyish. It's fine if it's a day care but this was a SCHOOL.

    So that is just my two cents
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  3. #3

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    Yes, definitely not before 3. My DD was exactly 3 and 1/2 when she started, and she went for two days, 3 hours a day a week that year. The following year she went for 3 days a week. Perfect amount of time for her to interact with other kids, learn the classroom structure and behavior, etc.

    Sara (35), wife to Nick (34), mom to Ainsley (2/22/09) and Raegan (1/15/12)
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  4. #4

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    I would also say 3.5-4. My son started just after he turned 4 and it seems like it was the perfect timing for us. He was (still is) like a sponge, ready to take in all the new skills and subjects they didn't offer in a normal daycare setting. Also, I think a lot of preschools prefer that the child can use the restroom by themselves for the most part.
    ~Andrea~


  5. #5

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    3 and 4. My son did it for two years at that age and then he went right into kindergarten.

  6. #6

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    Cody was 4 and we have a new free public school program while we were are the waiting list for it he attended the YMCA for about a month or two. He is the youngest with his b-day two weeks before the August 1st cut off in his class but, mature for his age. If we would have been potty trained by 3 it would have 3 because I had Sophia at home and I think it would have felt like a the big boy going to do big boy things KWIM? For Sophia she'll be closer to 4 because of how her birthday falls in November. She can't go this year because she won't be 3 until November 15th and the YMCA here follows the same age guidelines but, they are the most affordable for us. I think it depends per child on readiness. I have a friend her daughter is really bright and she is also very mature for her age but, due to the cut off she can't go to Kindergarten until this fall when she is closer to 6 but, I know this girl would have done great even being younger. I don't like age cut offs for school but, I guess they have to be in place.
    *** Lindsay ***



  7. #7

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    Preschool 3.5-4 depending on the child.

    If you want to start a younger child for whatever reason - more me time, difficult siblings, work, development or whatever, I would go in developmental school which is tailored for young children. I was not planning to go back to work when DS2 was 2.5 but my old boss offered me a very part time position (well paid too) and I could not say no for fear that it would fill and a year later I could not find anything part time (and I have never seen another part time position in my field since then). So I enrolled DS2 in "toddler preschool" which is really not preschool but a very nice developmental program where they work on songs, reading books, messy play, building blocks, and similar activities and they have their own yard so the LOs are not with the big kids. But they did not do any academic activities, there was a ton of free play & DS2 really liked it. They also helped a lot with PT. He went for 3 days 9-1 p.m.

    However, I have seen local schools with academic programs for 2 year olds and I would never enroll one of my kids there.
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

  8. #8

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    The triplets started at almost 3 1/2...Jericho will be almost 4. So I think somewhere between 3 and 4 is great.

    ~*~Katrina~*~ Momma to Xander, Hayden & Lily (6) and Jericho (3 1/2)

  9. #9
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    I agree with all of the above. DD1 started just before she turned 4 and DD2 was 3. She was very verbal, social and potty trained so I had no worries about her starting as a young 3.

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


  10. #10

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    Perfect, thanks! I was thinking about starting DS next year when he is 3 but talked to someone who was pretty passionate about starting their child at 2 so I wanted to get some others' perspectives.

  11. #11

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    I think it can vary widely according to the child's personality, the home dynamic, etc. IMO there is no set perfect age. Some kids can benefit from more time at home or in a small setting with a caregiver, and some are really ready for more social interaction earlier. I've had different experiences with both of mine. One was happy at home and in small groups for short periods of time all the way til K. The other was just itching to get out in the world without me by 3.
    If your gut tells you 3 is the right age for your son, you're likely right.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  12. #12
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    I think it is highly dependent on the needs of the child and how good a "fit" the school is. As a general rule of thumb, I agree that four or older three is best. I do have a student right now who attends a two-year-old room at a church preschool three days a week, half days. I LOVE the teacher and the classroom is really relaxed. But in generally I am strongly opposed to "school" for two-year-olds. Given a choice between a poorly run daycare and a well designed developmentally-minded preschool, though, I would pick a good preschool, but I would generally feel that small group care is best.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  13. #13

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    I personally would not send a child to preschool more than a year before he/she starts kinder. We are not doing preschool out of the home at all with our kids.

  14. #14

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    My 2 yr old is still at home with a nanny but in sep I will be sending her for 2 days a week to a preschool/daycare type of a thing but in combo with nanny on other days but I work full time and for our kids it's been really beneficial. I think if you are at home with your kids it's very different and in that case I would definitely wait till late 3. Most preschools start at 2 yrs 9 months around here.

  15. #15

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    Assuming your child is not challenged in any way (i.e., developmental delays, handicaps/differently-abled) then I would agree with the not before age 3. In our case with Erin, who was a micro-preemie and at age two had a major developmental delay in speech, she started special-education preschool at 2 years and 4 months. Laura, on the other hand, never did any preschool. She went to a daycare/preschool for all of three weeks when she was 4, and then I took her out. At the end of the first week, she came down with --something, I don't remember what it was NOW. At the end of the third week, she came home and over the weekend came down with chicken pox and in turn gave it to the other two. So I kept her home with me after that until she started kindergarten.

    Katie went to head start preschool starting at 3 years and 4 months (she turned 3 in May and started school in September) and Nathan will be going to head start this fall just after he turns 3 in August.
    Lynne, Grandma to three beautiful girls and one handsome little man!


  16. #16

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    I agree with those who said it depends on the child. My child started preschool just before 3 (2 yr 10 mo?), because she needed to. I'm a SAHM, and it was just the two of us all day. Even though I kept her very active and got her a lot of experience with peers and taught her a lot, she just NEEDED to be away from me. Not just in a group with other kids, but away from me. We came to this conclusion after speaking her pediatrician and a behaviorist, and even asking on here.

    Despite being the youngest there, she thrived. The teachers often told me they "forgot" she was so young because her speech, development, and even her size were much more that of an older 3 / younger 4 year old.

    So, it could be that is part of the reason the other person was so passionate about it. As for me, I never wanted to send her to preschool at all. I would have been happy homeschooling! But alas, she had her own ideas.



  17. #17

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    DD turned 3 in August and started preschool 2 full days a week that September. We put her in because we wanted her to get used to a classroom setting and get socialized with other children her age. She has learned so much and made so many friends. I love her school and all they do with/for the kids. DD will start kindergarten this September and we decided to put DS, who is turning 2 in May, in preschool 1 full day a week in September. He loves it there. When we pick DD a teacher lets him go play in her room and he cries when I get him to leave. I'm nervous with him being 2 but I think he will do great. I think, like the previous posts said, it really does depend on the child. I never would have put my DD in at 2 but my son is a different person.

    Kristy (32), Kirk (39), Jodi (4), Joey (16 months) and our dogs, Oreo and Wiggles

  18. #18

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    I think 3 is a good age to start. But as others said, I also think it has to do with the child. I sent DD to a 2 1/2 year program last year for 2 mornings a week. It started end of August and she turned 3 early November. But it was considered a "bridge" class and not actual preschool. They changed diapers if kids weren't potty trained and designed the class toward the younger kids. I knew DD was ready for it. She had done a baby ballet class and thrived in the class environment.

    DS is an October birthday so I am considering the same for him when he is just about 3, but I will have to see where he is at that time. If I don't feel like he is ready, we'll wait to do any type of school environment until he is actually 3. Both will do 2 full years of actual preschool on top of the 2 1/2 year old class.


    Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceBabe View Post
    Assuming your child is not challenged in any way (i.e., developmental delays, handicaps/differently-abled) then I would agree with the not before age 3. In our case with Erin, who was a micro-preemie and at age two had a major developmental delay in speech, she started special-education preschool at 2 years and 4 months. Laura, on the other hand, never did any preschool. She went to a daycare/preschool for all of three weeks when she was 4, and then I took her out. At the end of the first week, she came down with --something, I don't remember what it was NOW. At the end of the third week, she came home and over the weekend came down with chicken pox and in turn gave it to the other two. So I kept her home with me after that until she started kindergarten.

    Katie went to head start preschool starting at 3 years and 4 months (she turned 3 in May and started school in September) and Nathan will be going to head start this fall just after he turns 3 in August.
    I actually feel very strongly about the benefits of special education preschools for children with delays, and in those cases the younger the better. But I don't think a regular preschool is an equal alternative. A classroom with a special education teacher, trained aides, and integrated peer models with good speech/language is ideal in that case. Didn't want to mislead anyone!

    I am actually getting tired of being assigned kids who will be on my caseload for five weeks and then graduate to kindergarten. Legally, they qualify so we have to offer it but I don't know how I'm going to help them seeing them once a week for a month driving to their daycare. For anyone with delays...don't wait! Early is key. I've seen so much change in the kids I've had all year.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

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