I’ve always known that my little girl would be eager to start play school. With two big brothers in the house, who she’s become accustomed to waving goodbye to each day as they leave for school, it’s really no surprise. She is more aware of the outside world and it’s magical offerings than the boys ever were.
I swear this child is so inquisitive and hungry to learn and explore, that she often just sits at the door crying to get into the car and go somewhere, anywhere. Or she will get her pram filled with all her dollies and wait by the door shouting ” I Go, I Go OUTSIDE!” and If I ask her where she’s going, she matter of factly replies “To shops, To see Laurel. To jump. To play. To Gaga. To SCHOOL!” I love her thirst for life and her dedication and longing to experience more and more of the world and all it’s magnificent delight. It’s truly one of the most incredible parts of watching her grow!
Which has gotten me thinking, at 19 months is my little Hunny Bear ready for play school? Is this eagerness a sign that she is ready to take on the next step in her development?? I mean, part of me just feels like she’s still too young and while I get that lots of babies start at creches from as young as three months this has never been my plan for her. I thought she would simply follow in her brother’s footsteps and start when she was 2 and a half, when she was speaking well and could communicate with me 100%. This combined with the fact that she’s my last baby leaves me feeling a little reluctant to put her in play school just yet. I wish she would just slow down and stop growing so fast I guess, I mean can I be at the point where I’m soon to be giving up our precious mornings together? HOW EVEN?
Anyway here are some things I think could be a good gauge for moms who are possibly going through the same dilemma or asking themselves the same questions. Here might some helpful questions to ask:
Is your child confident and independent? I think that while many children need to learnt this and adjust over time, its a good gauge as to how they will function independently from you? If they fear separation, perhaps they are not quite ready, or its a good idea to slowly incorporate some times art to prepare them for the change.
- Is your child good at communicating and telling a caregiver what he/she needs? Obviously this is age appropriate but i believe a child should be able to tell a teacher what she needs to avoid frustration and unnecessary emotional outbursts. Its also helpful that they are able to communicate with you about their day.
- Is your child potty-trained? I think this is quite a personal one because some schools allow it and even offer to assist with potty training. But sometimes it could be a clear indication of whether or not your child is ready. Or maybe more that, getting them properly potty trained allows them a better sense of independence and confidence. I know that having both my boys potty-trained certainly made the transition to play school that much easier. (For everyone!) *That being said, for those litanies that do start early, maybe the fact that are doing it together alongside their friends is the encouragement they need. Each situation is different.
- Does your child interact with other children reasonably well? Of course, kids will be kids but I guess you will need to know if your child is well-socialised and that on a good day can interact with other children in a loving and gentle way.
- Is your child in a good routine? If there’s one thing I’ve realise more an more with each child is that routine is so important when they are young. If their routine is good and they know what is expected of them everyday, they are much happier, calmer simply adjust easier to new things. I realise some kids adjust better than others despite everything, and that temperament plays a big part, but routine is what gives a child a sense of control and safety and so it only makes sense that this be an important
- Can your child follow simple instructions in the classroom context? To be able to listen to basic instructions is so important for them as well as the rest of the class. Keeping up with requests from teachers builds the foundation for them to later follow more serious instructions as they mature. its a taught behaviour that should be encouraged before they enter a school with system I place.
Obviously there are certain factors out of their control too. Do you trust the caregivers completely? Do you trust that they will communicate with you any concerns about your child and keep you undated with their progress? All these play big role in the transition for both parents and I think this certainly helps, knowing that Hunter will be going to a school that is so nurturing and eager to see her flourish. Whenever that may be.