Modern society often emphasizes the need for children starting preschool to be autonomous. It is believed that toddlers should be independent in many areas, such as self-care and separating from parents. However, is such autonomy truly crucial for a child's adaptation to preschool, or is the ability to communicate their needs to teachers more important?

Myths about independence

Traditional views suggest that a three-year-old entering preschool should have a range of self-care skills – be potty-trained, sleep alone, and easily part from parents. These kinds of expectations can put pressure both on children and their parents, creating unnecessary fear of the new environment, which should primarily be a safe and friendly place.

Importance of psychophysical development

It's important to remember that every child's development is individual and much of the "independence" required is not solely dependent on the child's will but on their stage of psychophysical development. Forcing independence can lead to stressful situations which, instead of supporting, will hinder a child's adaptation to preschool.

Communication of needs more important than independence

Although independence is an important aspect of every child's development, the ability to express their needs to a teacher is equally, if not more, important. Children who can communicate their needs, such as feeling hungry, tired, or wanting to use the toilet, can gain teachers' trust more quickly and adapt better to the new environment.

Examples from preschool life

Practice shows that children who are not fully independent but can ask for help often feel safer in preschool. Preschool teachers are prepared to support children in their needs, which is crucial for building a sense of security and belonging.

While independence is a significant element of a child’s development, the ability to express and communicate their needs is the foundation for safety and well-being in preschool. Instead of focusing solely on teaching children independence, it is equally important to support them in communication skills, which are crucial for their overall development and adaptation in preschool. Preparing a child for preschool should thus include support both in terms of independence and communication of needs.



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