What Age Is Preschool? Find Out When Your Child Should Start

What age is preschool, exactly? There isn’t a definitive answer. Preschool is most commonly designated for children between the ages 3-5, but many preschools typically serve children even younger.  The decision to place your child in preschool is on a family-by-family basis. That decision is typically shaped by the ages that your preschool of choice may serve, or the needs of your family. You may need to return to work, while other families may be looking for increased socialization and exposure to a classroom environment for their little one prior to Kindergarten. Regardless of the situation, you may be asking yourself: is it too early? Is it too late? What’s the point anyway? Let’s break these questions down. 

What Age is Preschool? 

Defined by the CDC, the preschool age range is typically defined as between the ages of three and five. But, there is no one single approach to enrolling your child that’s right. Some enroll their children at 6 weeks of age to get back to work, while others enroll their children at four years old. The average in the United States tends to fall somewhere between three and four, before the child is about to head off to Kindergarten. 

How Early is Too Early? 

The largest limiting factor to determining if it’s too early are the age restrictions that may be in place at your preschool of choice. Public preschools, for example, typically don’t allow attendance before three years old. On the other hand, Kids’ Care Club offers infant care starting as early as six weeks old. 

It’s common for parents to feel that they are dropping their child off too early to other caregivers. Research has demonstrated that care from a qualified educator can provide a nurturing and stimulating environment that will bolster their development and future success in class, in their social interactions, and in life. 

Positive effects from preschool are dependent on quality. While being enrolled in a preschool itself does not guarantee your success, placing your child in a high-quality early childhood education facility with a robust, developmentally appropriate curriculum, highly qualified and trained teachers with low turnover, and meaningful family engagement is shown to have strong positive impacts on your child’s development. By the time your child turns five, they are better equipped for kindergarten, know how to behave better in class, and have a strong foundation in their academic skills. We encourage you to use Kids’ Care Club’s Comparing Preschool Programs handout in your search for a high-quality preschool. 

Is My Child Ready for Preschool?

What if my child isn’t potty trained, still needs naps, is learning how to communicate their needs better, and hasn’t had much interaction or play with others? These are all common questions parents may ask before placing your child in preschool. If you are worried that your child is either too young or unprepared for the preschool environment, we encourage you to explore the child care services available in your area. Some facilities have age restrictions (most commonly 3), or other developmental restrictions (potty training is required before starting, etc.). 

Here at Kids’ Care Club, we accept all children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old. While you may have doubts that your child is ready to be in a preschool environment, Kids’ Care Club is here to work alongside parents to help children seamlessly transition to preschool in whichever developmental stage they are in.  

To ease the transition to Kids’ Care Club, we have two classroom visits with your child prior to enrollment for a smoother transition, and have an open-door policy for parents to check in on their child. We use Learning Genie as a convenient way to communicate and share information with our parents so that they know about the day of their child. Potty training, a common stressor for parents, is a pressure free collaborative effort between parents and teachers. For children that still may be learning how to communicate their needs effectively, we present children with positive models of acceptable behavior, as well as being taught problem solving and critical thinking skills to reduce conflict. 

What’s the Difference Between Preschool, Pre-K, and TK?

The differences between Preschool, Pre-K, and TK lie in the child’s age and their developmental abilities. Preschool aged children are between the ages of 2 and 4 (here at Kids’ Care Club). In preschool classrooms, teachers are focused on building a strong foundation in math, science, and other critical thinking skills through learning alphabet, colors, numbers, and shapes. We invite you to explore all that is taking place in our preschool classrooms

A Pre-K aged class typically has four to five year olds in their classroom. Pre-K classroom activities typically include activities that involve deeper learning and structured skill-building activities to better prepare them for Kindergarten. Examples of activities include understanding time in minutes, hours, days, and months, solving basic number problems, and learning complex patterns and geometric shapes. Learn more here

Transitional kindergarten, or TK, is a pre-kindergarten school readiness program offered through public school districts,serving children whose birthday is between September 2nd and December 2nd of the school year. For example, If your child turns 5 on September 6th, they are eligible to enroll in a TK class at a local public school. When a parent has a child that falls past the September 1st birthday cutoff, the Transitional Kindergarten school program offers their child the age-appropriate curriculum, after which they’ll move on to Kindergarten the following year. Program features vary by school district. 

Here at Kids’ Care Club, we divide our classrooms into five different classrooms. Depending on their ages, they are placed into either our Infant Classroom, Toddler Classroom, Two-Year-Olds, Preschool, or Pre-K classroom. 

There’s no specific age that is appropriate for your child to start preschool. First, consider your family’s individual situation and rest assured that enrolling your child in a high-quality program will support your child in their development. Interested in learning about how Kids’ Care Club, NAEYC-Accredited child development facilities, supports the growth and learning in your child from Infancy to Pre-K? Contact us today to schedule a tour. 

Additional Resources

Find more information and tools on our.  Parent Resources page »

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