Transitioning from Daycare to Preschool

Archived Responses: 

What age did you change from daycare to preschool?

March 2015

What age did your kids start preschool? Did you transition from a daycare you loved? How was the transition? Why did you choose the preschool?
Preschool Transition Mama

My daughter started preschool at 22 months. She had been in a home daycare that was safe but not stimulating at all. I found her preschool seriously in the yellow pages, because location and cost were my top criteria. The preschool was fantastic and she stayed until she started kindergarten. good luck

When to transition 19-mo-old to preschool?

Dec 2010

My husband and I are not in agreement about when to transition our almost-19-month old to preschool. She has been in a small, loving, home-based daycare since she was 3-months-old. It has become a second home to her. She's comfortable, happy, loved, cared for, and is always excited to go in the mornings.

In looking forward to preschool, I've been doing some research and have noticed that most preschools begin after 3 years of age. Fine by me. My husband thinks our daughter is going to outgrow her daycare and would like her to begin preschool at 2.4. We have baby number two on the way, and I would love to minimize major changes in all our lives and would welcome having both kids at the same place for a year. Anyone have words of wisdom? We are both educators and agree that we want preschool to be a play-based, developmental experience, so to me it seems silly to rush that next step. I'm curious if anyone feels they made the switch too early or too late or if anyone has any resources or advice to share. THANKS! :)

don't rush it. I know everyone around here is gaga over preschool but having done both daycare and preschool for my kids, I think a really good day care is way better for young kids than preschool. I started my oldest in preschool at 3. Most preschools are much bigger and instead of handing him over to the care of a specific person it's much more of a free-for all. Frankly I was shocked. That said the year worked out well for him and by the time he was close 3.5 / 4 it was definitely the right environment for him. Now with my youngest, I have an opportunity to start her at the same preschool at 2. I am not going to do it - I am going to wait til she is almost 4 (probably a little too late, but given her birthday that's the way it works out). I've had this conversation with several friends and we all agree that the rush to preschool is way over-rated. Small day cares maintain way better ratios and take on much more of a ''caring role''. Preschools in my opinion take on much more of a ''supervisory'' role. so over preschool

My ''mama's boy'' youngest son who was 2 in August started the 2yo class in September @ Hearts Leap Pre-School. My husband was sure he'd never go. He went half a day four days a week and loved it from the onset. He's now in 3rd grade and we've never looked back. It depends on your kid, the school and most importantly the ''fit'' between the two. mom of many

I think 3 is a better age than 2.4 to go to pre-school. Both of my kids were in a lovely home day care until 3 1/2 or so and there is no reason for 2 1/2 year-olds to be bored in day care. You said she loves it! Two is young for the sometimes overstimulating pre-school environment with many more personalities to deal with. Especially since you have another baby on the way, it makes sense to keep your child in her familiar, loving home day care setting until she's 3. my 2 cents

We also struggled with when best to move our daughter to preschool. In the end we chose to leave her at her daycare until 3. It was a great decision. She went from being the youngest when she started to the oldest when she left. She learned to love younger kids, to be kind and gentle with them and to be extremely confident as well. The reality I have seen since then is that 2 year old preschool is not much different than daycare and at 2 the transition is harder than at 3. My daughter is happy, confident, social and intelligent and for us this was the right decision. Waited for preschool

Rule number one: don't make major life changes in coincidence with the arrival of a new baby. Adjusting to the presence of this new interloper will throw your daughter for a major loop. She will need to emotionally and cognitively accommodate this new competitor for mom and dad's love. Rule number two:let your daughter guide you in picking a time for preschool. Perhaps she is a genius, but maybe she is not yet ready emotionally. You will know when the time comes. She will be capable of doing directed activity for a set period of time, capable of participating and cooperating in group activities, she will have the necessary focus, etc. I can't imagine that at 19 months, she is already exhibiting signs of being a good little student.

Take it easy! Unless she asks to be in ''school'' herself at 2.4 years, go slow as you add on a new baby to the household. Anon

If she is happy where she is, why move her? Also, many preschools will not accept children before they are 2 years, 9 months old.

I would also consider a few other factors. When will she start kindergarten? Do you want her to spend more than 2 years in preschool? (From a teacher's perspective, one year of preschool is probably sufficient to be ready for kindergarten). Also, what are the ages of the other children in her daycare? If she is the oldest by far, then perhaps it's time to move her to preschool. If there are other children close to her age, then I wouldn't be in a hurry.

I'm in the middle of searching for preschools for next fall, and I can tell you that there is a huge difference in preschool environments. Some are large and structured a bit more like kindergarten, whereas some of the smaller, home-based preschools have the warm, intimate, homey feel of home-based daycare. Why not visit a few different types of schools that accept children at the age you are thinking of sending her, then see what your gut tells you about when and where to send her.

Also, based on my experience, the search for preschool is a very time- consuming affair. There are SO MANY different preschools, each with different environments, schedules, etc; and most only accept a handful of kids each year. So you need to visit a lot of them and apply to several.....It's a lot of work, and you should do it now if you are thinking of enrolling her for next fall.

Finally, do not underestimate the value of convenience. If your child is happy where she is, and it is more convenient to have her and your newborn in the same place, then I'd see no reason to change the situation right now. Good luck. T.


Transiitoning 2-year-old from family daycare to preschool

Sept 2009


Our 2 year, 2 month old has been going to an in-home family daycare since she was 10 months old. Now she's headed to pre-school. How many weeks ahead should we start prepping her? Any advice on transition (goodbye to daycare providers and friends there)? Her new school has a nice plan for entry--I'm more concerned about the goodbyes at her wonderful daycare. I'm probably more anxious about it than she will be. Thank you! CK

I actually think it's wise to start prepping your child for preschool, perhaps a week or two in advance. My son, who had little trouble in daycare, had a traumatic transition to preschool, because I did not prep him (took him 6 weeks to get adjusted, and there was a lot of crying). I just assumed he was fine in daycare, so he'd be fine in preschool. Turns out he was very much attached to the daycare provider and upset that he was no longer going to her. We finally had to write her a letter, telling her how much he loved her, and see her one more time to say goodbye, before he was able to really transition to preschool (where he ultimately did very well). So I think that working with the daycare provider to decide on a ''goodbye'' routine, as well as visiting the new preschool to get used to it, would be a very good idea. Karen