How to Know Your Child is Pre-School Ready

Knowing when your child is ready for pre-school can be a tricky one. Whilst you might feel pressure from your friendship group, family or others to send your child to pre-school as soon as they are eligible, that might not always be the best for them. It really depends on the child. Some children are ready way before they are eligible, whilst some not for some time after.

As their parent, it is up to you and you alone to make the decision that you think is right for them. Try not to get too caught up in what others might be telling you or what the expectations are around that.

Imagine you drop your three-year-old off at a new pre-school and they burst into tears and this happens day after day. Whilst this is perfectly normal and something lots of children go through, as a parent you can feel heartbroken, not knowing if it’s too soon or too late for them to start such a big transition in their life. For many parents (especially first time parents) this can feel as difficult as treating bunions without the help of the professionals at northwest surgery center!

You may be questioning your decision and you probably have a million questions flying around your brain – that’s ok. Does your child have all the skills they need? Are they emotionally ready? Perhaps you are concerned about their toileting?

Understanding what milestones children need to meet before enrolling them in school can help set parents on the path of success so that both parent and child feel confident and prepared when it’s time for them to begin this new journey.

Communication skills

First and foremost, your child should be able to communicate effectively. Being able to express their needs, wants and thoughts is incredibly important for them to be able to participate in group activities, as well as build relationships with other children and adults. Consider if your child can hold a conversation, respond to simple instructions, and use appropriate language.

Having said that, don’t worry if this isn’t the case. Simply speak to the pre-school and explain the level your child is at, or discuss your concerns with your health visitor. There are always way around this and don’t forget, being around other adults and children is a real benefit for children’s communication skills.


Your child will benefit from also being able to express their emotions in a healthy way. Pre-schoolers can be overwhelmed with thoughts, frustrations and ideas they don’t yet fully understand. It’s important that they’re able to express their feelings. If your child has difficulty with this, some help from a professional may be beneficial before enrolling them in pre-school. Equally, discuss this issue with the pre-school as many pre-schools are excellent at supporting this aspect of children’s development.

Basic personal skills

Finally, your child should be able to engage in basic self-care. Can they feed themselves? Do they understand how to dress and undress appropriately? Are they able to go to the bathroom on their own and do they know to wash their hands afterwards. These are all key skills for pre-schoolers, as it allows them to participate in the everyday activities of the classroom without relying heavily on adult assistance.

Overall, these are only some of the key signs that can help you determine if your child is pre-school ready. Every child is unique and develops in their own way, so use these guidelines as a way to evaluate where your little one is developmentally. With the right preparation, pre-school can be a fun and highly beneficial experience for your child!

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