Children begin learning and developing from the beginning of their life. Babies absorb information from the environment around them from their earliest experiences. Think of all the amazing things that babies learn within their first year of life. How to eat, communication skills with their caregivers, crawling, playing with objects and holding their body up. The incredible growth continues throughout their first few years of life as they develop fine and gross motor skills and interact with the world around them. Since babies are ripe for this development, you may wonder exactly how young a child can enroll in a preschool program.
What to Consider
Although some families depend upon child care centers from the beginning because of their jobs or other factors, others keep their child home for a time until they feel preschool is a helpful option for their child’s development. There is no right answer for when you should place your child in a preschool, but you can consider some factors to know when the time is right for your family.
- Will the child benefit socially or academically from a structured preschool setting?
- Is the child ready to be separated from their caregivers for a time during the day?
- Are the parents able to communicate the child’s needs to the preschool in order to feel comfortable leaving them in their care?
If these answers are “yes,” it may be time to consider finding a preschool for your young child.
Many daycare centers offer care for infants through school-aged children. At Fountainhead Montessori, our program begins at 18 months. In the Montessori method, we recognize this is a time when children are well-suited for a structured learning environment. These classes consist of children from 18 months-3 years old. While in this environment, children learn foundational lessons they can carry into the primary classroom that is for ages 3-6 years old. If you choose to enroll your child at this age, they begin learning grace and courtesy skills to get along with other children and many practical life lessons. Because children at this age are learning independence and enjoy helping in the classroom, they are given many opportunities to practice skills that cultivate this desire.
Many children wait until 3 years old to begin preschool, however. This is an important age because children move from a lot of open-ended activities to learn lessons that follow a specific process. The lessons in this classroom teach them how to follow instructions to complete tasks that grow increasingly more complex. They are able to learn foundational concepts such as letter sounds and math skills that prepare them for their future educational endeavors.
Whether you choose to enroll your child at 18 months or 3 years old, early education is an important piece of your child’s development. Studies show that children’s brains develop faster during the first six years than any other time of our lives. Our teachers at Fountainhead Montessori know that a nurturing and engaging environment for your child during this time is of utmost importance. If your young child is ready to enroll in a preschool, we would love to help you along that journey.