Nov 13th, 2018
For many a first-time parent this is a question that comes to mind, and there really is no quick answer. Why? Because there are many different factors that go into when a family starts their child in formal schooling.
The first factor a lot of families have to figure into their thought process is the parent’s career. For many families, caring for their child(ren) at home for the first few years is an impossibility. Some families have the luxury of extended family or close friends they can entrust their precious bundles of joy to, but in today’s society many live away from relatives, so some people rely on outside childcare.
This care can come in the form of a nanny, a family daycare, a daycare facility, a private preschool or a combination of these. A nanny can be a great fit for families with small children because the person can care for your child from your own home, where your child is most comfortable. Family childcare also gives the feeling of home, even though your child is in someone else’s home for care. Most daycare facilities are open for 12 hours a day, which is something that many working parents with young children need, and there are some great facilities out there, but some families do not care for the national chains that seem to be dominating the daycare market, nor their one-size fits all standardized approach to care.
Lastly there are private preschools. The Westboro Learning Center falls into this category. We believe our preschool is a better fit for many families for a few reasons.
• First, we appreciate and understand all that families of young children are trying to juggle—and it’s a lot! That is why we are a family-oriented center. For more on just what that means to us, be sure to check out our blog post “What Does it Mean to be a Family Oriented Learning Center?” here: http://www.westborolearningcenter.com/6233-2/
• We value and cherish each student for the individual that he or she is. We understand that all children will develop and grow at their own pace and we appreciate and respect where each is on their path of development.
• Preschools are inherently a “school environment.” This means that by being in a preschool your child will be exposed to rich conversations filled with new vocabulary related to the topic of study, opportunities for discovery-learning during center time, introduced to school habits such as turn taking, social skills, listening skills and all the myriad of skills that kindergarten teachers are hoping children will come to school understanding. Unfortunately, the kindergarten of today is very different from that of years past. The expectations are high, and your child needs to have some experience with “school culture” before they attend kindergarten.
But how much preschool is enough? Again, this may depend on individual family needs and values. Many a child has started preschool at 15 months old for 5 full days a week and has thrived. In fact, some research studies have shown that early preschool can lead to later school success. The Westboro Learning Center is happy to partner with your family, to care for and educate your child(ren) for as many days per week as you desire, but to share our personal experience with our own children, here’s what we recommend as a minimum: At two years old, we recommend two to three days a week, at 3 years old we recommend 3 to 4 days a week and at 4 years old we recommend 4 days a week. Full days or half days are up to your family’s needs and preferences, but following this format we found that our children were gradually introduced to being away from home for school, and by kindergarten they were ready for the 5 full days away from home. In addition, they had a solid foundation in readiness skills and a good understanding of school culture.
With all that being said, we should mention that we do “practice what we preach.” We respect each child’s individuality, and hence, what we did for our oldest children for preschool is not the same as what we did for our younger daughters. Our oldest daughters started preschool together before they were 2 years old, right in this very building! We started them early, because they were ready and our families were ready. They were two precocious, verbal little toddlers! Our younger daughters, as fate would have it, were not ready before 2 years old. Stephanie started her youngest with 2 days a week at 2.5 years old and Betsy started her youngest at 3 days a week at 2.11 years old (at Stephanie’s preschool play group, which was the first seed to The Westboro Learning Center).
There are so many factors to consider in deciding when to start your child in preschool, but no matter when or how many days you choose, you have options. The Westboro Learning Center is open 5 days a week and is happy to support you and your family for as many days a week as you may need. Our experience in early education and care has also shown us that there are lots of creative ways that families provide for their child(ren)’s care. Just as each family is unique, families have created unique combinations of preschool, nannies, friends and family to cover all their child care needs. The Westboro Learning Center would like to be a part of your plan. Call us today to see what we can offer your family!