While most of our children start with us as babies, many join us later. Children in our Blossoms class range from 34 to 50 months of age and for some, this class is their first step towards their educational journey. Kids within this age range are usually ready to attend preschool or nursery school in Dubai and in other parts of the world pre-kindergarten.
It’s very common across the world to start nursery or school at the age of three. The preschool curriculum considers this stage in a child’s life as essential and therefore plans accordingly to promote independence, improve communication skills, and develop problem-solving skills. All of these are the skills your child will eventually need when they arrive at primary school or in Kindergarten.
If your child is starting in a nursery setting at a younger age — one or two or even younger — expect them to be provided with a stimulating environment that will engage them and help nurture their emerging skills. Children should also have the opportunity to become increasingly independent when they are ready and willing: feeding themselves, putting their shoes on, etc.
Whatever age your child starts nursery, you will almost undoubtedly have one big question: is my child ready for this?
Stepping into nursery
Starting nursery or preschool is a big step for parents and their children. Many parents worry about whether or not their child is ready for nursery. Rest assured that any fears you may have are completely normal, and almost all parents go through the same to some degree.
A good nursery has a flexible approach. This means that they understand that every child is a unique individual and they are prepared to meet the needs of each child, whatever their stage of development. With this in mind, you do not need to worry whether your child ticks every box of what a child of their age is typically able to do.
However, there are a few signs to look out for that show your child is almost ready to begin preschool or nursery and fully enjoy his time there.
1. They can comfortably separate from their parents.
If a child attending nursery has not been apart from their main caregiver before, they will need to cope with two different things: firstly, a new, unfamiliar environment and, secondly, the separation from their parents. Many children find these changes overwhelming.
It is easier for a child to settle into nursery school if they are used to spending short periods of time away from their parents. If possible, try to leave your child in the care of someone you trust regularly, perhaps a grandparent or another family member or a good friend. Your child will benefit from building their relationships with these people, and you both will feel more at ease with spending some time apart.
If separation anxiety is a concern for you, talk to the nursery staff. All nurseries have experience with separation anxiety and will happily talk through options that work for you, your child and for them. It should be straightforward to come up with a settling-in plan for an anxious child. They may be able to bring a soft toy from home for comfort, for instance.
2. They are used to a certain degree of routine.
All families are different, and some prefer a stricter routine for mealtimes, naps, getting dressed, etc., and others prefer to go with the flow. In a nursery setting, some routine is essential in order to ensure that all children have all their needs well-met.
Experienced professionals also agree that children generally find comfort in the nursery routine. They quickly learn what is going to happen next and the signs that an activity is about to change. This predictability builds confidence and lessens anxiety. As your child grows and moves up through the nursery classes, the level of routine typically increases. This helps to prepare your child for primary school.
You might like to find out how the nursery day runs so you can begin to prepare your child before classes begin.
3. They are generally healthy.
Being in a new environment with many different children in close proximity inevitably means that your child will almost certainly pick up a few minor illnesses, no matter how clean the nursery environment is kept.
If your child has underlying health issues, especially auto-immune problems, you should carefully consider whether your child is ready for nursery school at this time. It may be wise to wait until they are a bit stronger. You should seek professional medical advice if you are unsure.
There are other questions you may have about your child’s readiness for nursery.
For instance, should my child be toilet-trained? Or, can they socialize well with other children? Remember that a nursery setting is used to welcoming children from 6 months to 4 years old, and there is often flexibility as of when your child moves up to the next class.
However, regardless of which nursery you choose, keep in mind that a good setting should have staff who are patient, kind and follows a flexible nursery curriculum. So, whatever your child’s ability in any area, you should find that your child’s needs are well-met and that they are encouraged with kindness to reach the next level.