What Age Should a Child Go to Preschool?

Many preschools start accepting children as young as 2.5 years old. However, that doesn’t mean that every two-and-a-half-year-old in the nation is actually ready for preschool. It’s a big step in their little lives! So, if two and a half years old isn’t ideal, what age should a child go to preschool? Is your child ready? The answer is: it’s different for everyone. There’s no hard and fast rule for when a child “should” go to preschool; it depends on your child’s and your family’s needs. Maybe you didn’t go back to work after maternity leave and now, you’ve decided to get back into your career again. Or, perhaps your child is showing an overwhelming desire to learn and interact with other children their age.

Read on for the benefits of preschool and how to answer the question, what age should a child go to preschool?

Young sister and brother reading together on the floor

What Are the Benefits of Preschool?

Preschool offers many benefits for young children — these early learning centers help children build social-emotional skills, self-confidence, and more, and prepare them academically for kindergarten and all the big steps ahead. 

  • An Engaging Environment

    Each day, preschoolers will be engaged in different experiences that touch on all areas of development. They’ll play and learn in engaging environments — different areas of their classroom, enrichment zones, the playground, and more. And they’ll have access to interesting materials that contribute to their learning and development. 

  • New Skills

    A high-quality preschool curriculum includes math, science, literacy, art, outdoor exploration, movement, support for social-emotional skills, and more. Children in preschool benefit from curriculum and related activities that help them build new skills.  

What Age Should a Child Go to Preschool for the Most Benefits?

The answer remains the same — it depends! Consider what you want your child to gain from their preschool experience, your family’s needs, and more.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT STARTING A CHILD AT PRESCHOOL?

Should 3-year-olds go to preschool?

Preschools typically enroll children during the two years before they begin kindergarten. Your 3-year-old is likely eligible for preschool in your area, but the decision to enroll is up to you and should be based on your child’s and your family’s needs.

Should a 2-year-old go to preschool?

Just because your child meets the age requirement for your local preschool, it doesn’t mean you have to enroll. You will know what’s best for your child, and should enroll whenever the timing feels right for your family. 

mother holding child

Get Started Today

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Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.