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Preschoolers Need Structure ... or Don't They? (page 2)

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Updated on May 11, 2009

Choosing a Preschool

Nowhere is the balance between structured and unstructured time as important as when choosing a preschool or daycare program. Some children need more structure than others. This can be personality based, or it may be a result of turmoil and uncertainty at home. Children who are going through a rough situation may crave the comfort of a regular routine to offset the unpredictability of their home lives, and may prefer highly structured programs, with little time to sit and think. Preschoolers who are easily bored or who get into trouble when they have time on their hands may also need a more structured curriculum that keeps them occupied and busy. A dreamer who prefers to do things at her own pace, however, will do better in a school with a more free-flowing, flexible schedule and plenty of unstructured time. Matching the school’s style to your child’s needs will result in less frustration for everyone involved.

Too much structure can hold preschoolers, or any child, back from discovering their passions, talents, and abilities. It can also prevent them from learning to amuse themselves. On the other hand, no structure at all can lead to chaos. The trick is to balance your preschooler’s daily schedule to give him the structure he needs to feel secure, but still allow enough time for him to dawdle, daydream, and discover his inner resources.

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