Almost all countries have legal clauses in place that demand every parent send their children to school; not doing so can easily see the parent behind bars and the children given away to foster care. However, these laws are in place often with regards to formal schooling – that is, the first grade or first year of school. The education facilities below this level – the kindergartens or Montessori – are not covered by the law. This means that it is often up to the parent to decide when to send their child to these facilities, or if to send them at all. But since the advantages of kindergartens are obvious (as well as due to societal pressure), most parents do send their children to kindergarten, which leaves us with the question of when exactly to send the child. How exactly do you know whether your toddler is ready or not?
To start with, most preschool in Hong Kong accept toddlers once they reach the age of two and a half years. This, of course, is only a guideline to stick to: whilst younger kids should go to day-care centres, the age limit does not mean you should send your child to kindergarten as soon as they reach two and a half years. Usually, the first grade starts at around five years (it varies depending on the country – there are countries which start at six years, and many of the developed nations prefer to start at seven years of age). This means that you can send your child to kindergarten in this age bracket: between two and a half years, and the limit at which they should formally graduate onto primary school.
You can start with breaching the topic to your child: explain the topic of schooling to your child, emphasizing the enjoyable experiences such as making friends within their playgroup in Hong Kong, or learning to read and write. Most children will naturally be excited at the proposal to get acquainted with new surroundings and experiences. Make sure to gradually introduce them to the topic, such as passing by a kindergarten on the way to the groceries, or buying a textbook for children.
Whilst you need to make sure your child is willing, you also need to factor their capabilities. Children grow and mature different speeds; everyone has a different pace, and as a parent, you should accommodate to their needs when deciding something as important as kindergarten. The emphasis is placed on the importance of this milestone, because if you end up sending your unwilling kid to kindergarten, there is a good chance of them growing to dislike the entire school experience (which will last for more than ten years of their future life), which can negatively affect their education.