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Great question! Thank you for sharing it. While my children are now older than three (they are 15, 12, and 9), your question brought me down memory lane and reminded me of thoughts and questions my wife and I had as we considered our children’s school readiness.
I am honored to be deemed an “expert” on the DCSchoolHub site, and I am fortunate to have my own experts within the school I lead (Grace Episcopal Day School). I shared your question with Pam Yarrington, our Director of Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Yarrington was the perfect person to field this question: in addition to having experience as an early childhood and elementary teacher, she is also a former preschool and daycare director (as well as a parent).
Here is what she said:
“It is great that your son is already so interested in counting and numbers! It sounds like both you and the family day care home are doing a good job of igniting his interest in learning.
I think most preschool teachers would tell you that for three-year-olds, the most important work is getting along with others, sharing, learning how to transition easily to new activities, and building vocabulary. If your son has age-mates at the family day care home, and is being exposed to lots of conversations and being read to, then he is doing great.
If you feel that he could use more stimulation and more exposure to larger groups of people, then your gut feeling about him being ready for the switch to a more structured environment is probably true. It might be really helpful for you to visit a few preschools and get a sense of what a typical day looks like and what the expectations are for the three-year-olds. Be confident that you know best for your child!”
Please consider writing back in a few months and letting us know how it turned out. Thanks so much for the question, which is sure to help other parents in the same situation. All of the best to you and your three-year-old as you begin this journey!
(Malcolm Lester is the Head of School of Grace Episcopal Day School in Kensington, MD, serving students age three through fifth grade)