Preschools will allow children to enroll at various ages. Some preschools are only for kids who are four and up, others start as young as two, others say the child simply has to be potty trained, etc. So, how can you know when to start preschool for your child? Consider the following:
It depends on child. Just like kids potty train at different ages, they are also ready for structured learning at different ages. Of course this does not work well for the public school system, which is why it is usually determined by age, however, with preschool, you can do a little better by judging your child’s readiness for yourself. You know your child. Are they going to be able to handle preschool?
Social readiness. You do not want to start a child in preschool who isn’t socially really. That is one of the big parts of preschool, interacting with other kids, and taking turns, etc. If your child is not yet only enough to understand how their actions impact others, or is not ready for the required social interaction, it might be best to wait.
Toilet trained. If a child is not able to go to the bathroom by themselves yet, they are not ready to start preschool. Most preschool teachers are not going to be willing to change diapers, or even help kids wipe. So, your child should be out of pull ups and diapers, able to get their pants down, and back up without help, before they start preschool. If they are a late bloomer in that regard, a teacher may be willing to allow them to come in a pull up, as long as they still make an effort to use the bathroom, and as long as a parent is available to come in case of an accident.
Depends on what they teach. Some preschools are going to be more about getting kids used to school, having class time, having a teacher, etc. Other preschools are very structured and teach a lot of mini lessons on math, science, language, etc. Most preschools cover the basics like the letters and numbers, but some focus on art and creativity, while others focus on facts, etc. So, if you enroll your child in a school that focuses on facts, drawing in the lines, etc. it might be best if your child is a little older.
Traditionally two to four years is when a kid is ready to start preschool. Some children can really benefit from two full years of preschool before they enter kindergarten, while other kids are soaking up the information, and would be just fine entering kindergarten after one year. When in doubt, enroll your child at age 2.5-3, and allow them a year or two of preschool that is only a couple days a week for a few hours at a time. As your child gets older they can handle longer classes, and more days a week.