As back to school is headed into to full swing, you may be thinking about the time your child might be ready for their first steps in education. You may be asking yourself: how do I know if my child is ready? Is it ever too soon to think about preschool? Do I really have to send my child to preschool? There are great and wonderful questions, and we hope this brief article can help ease your mind just a bit. One of your questions might be: what’s the difference between Preschool and Daycare? Which is an excellent question. While daycare can certainly mimic and use elements of education, it can differ in several ways. When your child is enrolled in daycare, he or she is certainly receiving the love and care they need to be happy and healthy, but they may lack the structure and social aspects of what “pre-school” prepare your toddler for. It’s important to note that daycare and preschool are similar in the idea that there is education present and your child is always learning! At Small Wonders, we perform regular screenings to make sure your child is on track developmentally and to be vigilant of possible developmental concerns. One of your questions may be: is preschool important for my child? And the answer is YES! As a matter of fact, quality early education is so important that about 40 states now offer state-funded pre-K programs. Preschool can offer many important lessons and beginnings, such as a firm foundation for structure, discipline and learning, social skills like manners, etiquette, potty training, emotional maturity and problem solving, and can begin to build confidence – especially when it comes to group participation, bravery, making decisions, sharing attention, going to the bathroom, and even learning to ask questions. What will my child learn in preschool? At Small Wonders, we follow a weekly lesson plan that teaches preschool foundation elements recommended by the state of Ohio through Step Up To Quality. Your child will master lessons like ABCs and 123s, express themselves creatively, learn by doing, playing strategic brain games, playing dress up, and building forts. Your child will form bonds with teachers and children. And while all of that is important, it’s also imperative to note that kids don’t succeed by hitting traditional milestones – they need to play! Kids need to be imaginative and to socialize — that’s what fosters creative, well-rounded people. Lastly, Preschool will prepare your child for Kindergarten, the official first step into public education. Studies have shown that children who attend high-quality preschool like Small Wonders enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not. And the easier the transition is your child, the easier the transition is on you as a parent. Although we can’t say it’ll be easy the day you blink and notice how much your little baby has grown.