Raising little people is hard work. There are also so many questions. If you have a preschooler, you are probably wondering when your child will be ready for preschool. Preschool can be part of your homeschool, or at a local school. The readiness skills are the same. Here are 10 benchmarks your child needs to meet before beginning preschool.
Preschool Readiness Checklist:
Playing is children’s work! Knowing how to play is an important skill. Can your child play independently? Can he play with other children? Does he initiate his own play? Does your child enjoy group activities and participate on some level?
Speech development is very individualized, however, there are some benchmarks to look for. Can your child be understood by others? (especially those outside your home) Does she use language to express ideas, wants, and needs? Can your child use a variety of language that is appropriate to the situation? Does she tell you short stories? Does she use “polite words” like please and thank you? Is your child able to control her volume and tone?
Talking is only half of communication. Understanding and listening to other people is another readiness skill. Does your child understand basic directions? Can he follow a conversation? Does he understand basic concepts? Can he associate words with their appropriate category, for instance, toys, food, clothes, or pets?
Especially for preschool outside the home, independence is key. These skills will be useful for homeschool preschool as well, though. Is your child okay with being away from you for short periods of time? Can she do basic self-care on her own? (get dressed, put on shoes, brush hair, use the toilet) Does she enjoy being independent and learning new “big kid” skills?
Preschool is a time for social growth. It’s not only about learning how to be in school, but learning how to be in the world. Does your child know and thrive on routine? Can he anticipate the next step of a daily routine? Does she enjoy being with others? Is she eager to make new friends?
Gross Motor Skills:
Gross motor skills allow children to participate in games and sports. They also help develop the brain for future learning. Can your child kick a stationary ball? Can he run and jump? Is he able to stand on one foot? Does your child have good balance? Can he ride a tricycle?
Fine Motor Skills:
Like gross motor skills, these prepare the brain for learning. Fine motor skills are also essential for writing and independence. Can your child hold her pencil with just her fingers, not a full fist? Can she stack blocks on top of each other?
Preschoolers may be small, but they can have big emotions. The important part is how they handle their emotions. Can your child express his emotions appropriately? Can he contain his tantrums? Is he able to recover from upset quickly and easily?
Preschool is a great time to get those creative juices flowing. Imaginative play and art & crafts, are important parts of preschool development. Does your child use ordinary objects for creative play? Can she role play, such as playing house or pretending to be a favorite character? Does she know how to use various art supplies–paper, glue, crayons, paint?
Children learn first from their environment. Being able to recognize objects, landmarks, and routines is the first step in academic learning. Does your child recognize local landmarks and locations? Can he break down a task into a sequence of steps? Is he familiar with features of your home or neighborhood? Does he recognize familiar people? Does he know about “community helpers” and recognize what each does?
Do you have any preschoolers in your home? Here is a great set to get you started on home preschool. This set of free copywriting worksheets will help your child learn to write and spell their own name, phone number, address and more. Click Here.