Are there any Requirements for children beginning preschool?
Usually the only requirement is that the child be potty trained and two years old, but it depends on the specific school, the amount of staff they have, and whether or not the child has any special needs that would make potty training difficult. Most preschools have only the minimal amount of staff necessary to meet the state requirements, so that is why they tend to want children potty trained first. It also depends on the individual school's philosophy... if they believe that children each have their own learning time frames, and allow for children who may not have potty training down or not. It also depends on if the school is at a center or in a home daycare.
Home daycares tend to be more lenient about potty training restrictions, since they have the ability to spend more time helping children become competent. If a school tells you that there are "academic" restrictions, such as that your child needs to be able to say their abc's or count to a certain number before they can "allow" them into their program- RUN! This is not the kind of center or childcare you want. You want a program that is going to be sensitive of your child's individual needs, and will work with you on helping your child develop to THEIR best potential- not some arbitrary standard they have set up. Now, there is a difference between what I just said and a center/daycare that keeps assessments/evaluations on a child. These are good... you want the center to closely monitor how your child is developing and be able to spot any potential delays or problems. What you don't want is them telling you that your child must meet a certain criteria before they can be admitted into the program. Your child shouldn't have to pass a test before they can be accepted.
A good preschool should aid your child in getting to the next level of development, but shouldn't be pushy. They should learn to do things with experimentation, not just shown how to do it. They should have teachers who provoke thought- not tell you how to think. Above all, it should be FUN!
-Written by a preschool teacher of 14 years