When should we start preschool? That questions is pretty personal to every unique family. Starting preschool usually happens because of two reasons.
Reason number 1- You need to go back to work or your other life commitments.
For our San Diegan families, this timing looks like the end of your maternity leave. Maternity leaves are often taken first for 3 months by one parent, then the following 3 months by another. This means the majority of our infants start coming to school around 6 months old.
There are some great pros to starting school before one. The number one pro is that these children usually adjust to school seamlessly. They know they are loved, care for, and their needs are met. We find that they don’t cry at drop off, and settle straight to playing.
Easy drop preschool drop offs are a huge pro in our book.
Another pro is that you get a network of experienced, educated experts. This can be especially great during what’s often called ‘the toughest time of a parent’s life”. The first year can be so turbulent, having your teachers to ask for support can feel like a life raft. Especially since your teachers thoroughly know you and your baby, not the way the facebook moms group do.
The cons are for this age are also unique.
They mostly have to do with the emotions of not being with your baby. These emotions can be an entire range. You might feel sad that you don’t spend your day with them. You might feel relief to be back to work. You might feel guilty about feeling relief. Emotions are complicated. When emotions are paired with the hormone swing, and sleepless nights you’re likely still living with- it can feel challenging.
The next option is starting school with the focus on educational, or social benefits.
We often see these children starting school sometime between age 2 and age 4.
The positive peer pressure that comes from starting school feels almost magical. I’ve seen children go from not eating vegetables, to chowing down on carrots telling me “I’m a bunny!”. The wonders that can happen while sitting at a table with friends who eat a variety of foods.
I’ve seen children who were only using 2 or 3 words, go to speaking entire sentences about complex science. Again the biggest change is being surrounded by other kids who are doing it.
We also use school as a place to teach manners, social skills, math, science, literacy, and explore emotional intelligence.
Deciding when to start school can be a simple question, or it can be more complex. If you’re looking for a school in San Diego we recommend looking sooner rather than later. Talk to some schools, and get yourself on the wait list everywhere you can.
If you are looking to start school before your child turns 2, you’ll likely need to get on a wait list before they are born. Start looking while you’re still expecting. Spots for children under 2 years old are slim pickings, and we want you to have the most options of care for your child.