To go or not to go to pre-school

My husband and I have 4 kids; 17, 12, 10 and 3, all girls!!  I never sent my older girls to preschool. But since then it seems as preschool has become more and more popular. Or is it just offered more? I’m just not sure what it is.

I know it would be good for her to go.  She could meet more kids in her class and learn how to interact with a teacher and the other kids.  On the other hand, I’m not sure who could take her. I work full time and so does my husband.

My other girls adjusted fine just starting out in kindergarten. I’m not sure what to do.   Some parents put their kids in as early as 3 years old, 3 mornings a week.  The program is offered.  It’s not the money issue either.  I think it’s more at what age should you put them in it and who’s going to take her and pick her up? You have to have them dropped off at 9:30 and picked up at 11:30.  Is it worth it or does she get enough interaction she needs being at daycare 5 days a week?

What did you or are you going to do?

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9 Responses to To go or not to go to pre-school

  1. SKL says:

    I have this unexplained feeling against it. But, I might change my mind as my kids get older.

    I feel kids have a lot to learn from less structured, more hands-on, real-life experiences, and if we put them in preschool, they will miss some of these experiences. There will always be more opportunities to learn how to sit still and cut and paste. Most of the things kids learn in preschool could be learned in a much less structured manner. I feel giving kids more time to develop their own sense of organization will actually make them more successful in an organized environment once it really counts.

    My kids are around 2, and I’ve recently started them in “mommy-and-me” type classes. We attend two per week, each for about an hour. After just three weeks, they are already really good at listening and doing what the teacher asks. I don’t think they need a year of preschool for that. They get a lot of enrichment at home as well as in these classes, and from being out-and-about and exploring nature. The only thing I am not sure of is their ability to interact with other kids and adults. I will keep my eye on them and decide later if they have additional needs in that respect.

    I am ambivalent about preschool because they get a mixture of “bad” and “good” there. They see a lot of negative behaviors and maybe pick up some bad habits. Their own negative behaviors may not be checked as effectively as they might be at home. Parents have little say in structuring the curriculum according to their values and their child’s unique needs. And creativity – I don’t agree with the early childhood folks on that. I don’t feel that my kid is being creative when she sits and follows directions with a glue stick, randomly smears finger paints, or kneads play-doh. I also don’t think that’s very stimulating, compared to alternatives in the home environment. I understand why they do it – e.g., to have something to show for the time spent in preschool, and to substitute “safe” materials for “real” stuff in the environment. But I’d rather have my kids working in the garden, helping prepare a meal, etc., if that is feasible.

    I never attended a single hour of preschool nor even a playgroup, and I entered KG early, yet I somehow learned to read fairly well before the school year was out. I see today’s kids studying the alphabet for years on end and still not being able to read much before age six. So I wonder if “preschool” is all it’s cracked up to be.

  2. mssc54 says:

    We enrolled our 4 yr old boy in K4 this year.

    His most difficult problem is socializing and emotional “melt downs”. He was born on drugs and we are trying to figure out what we need to do to help him adjust.

    I really wish there was another way to do this but I think that at this time it OUR best option.

    These kinds of things are really “child specific”.

    Don’t buy in to the cookie cutter, everything should be the same for every child.

    Follow your gut.

  3. nikki says:

    Being that Bailey was an only child we felt it was important for him to have some interaction with other children. He only went one year before starting kindergarten. I know of kids not being ready for school until kindergarten. One child I know in particular wasn’t ready for it at all, didn’t want any part of it and now he’s in kindergarten and he loves it. I don’t think it’s a huge deal if she doesn’t go, if you’re able to figure out how she will get there then I think she would benefit from it. The mommy and me classes that SKL is talking about I would highly recommend if you are able to do that. But if all that just doesn’t work out because of work or no way to get her there, she’ll be fine with out it.

  4. Amber says:

    Psychological studies show that preschool is a very good start for children. It stimulates them at a young age and prepares them for school mindset. Kindergarden these days is starting on the track of preparation of curriculum. Not like the old days where it was play, songs, and art stuff. Maybe learning letters and numbers. Now, kids in kindergarden have homework, and are being kept longer hours because of working parents.

    I think a preschool of 3 hours is a good toe dip for children. Doesn’t overwhelm them too much, but gives them a new adventure. Plus I think it gives Mom a little bit of time to recharge too.

  5. Joy says:

    I really feel this is about what you feel your child needs. Jason didn’t go but it was different back then and most kids didn’t go. It was pretty much unheard of or only the “privileged” went. When Toby came along he did go but it was at our church and he went when he was 4 and mainly to interact with other kids and it was for 2 hours a day twice a week. Jason was in school and he really needed to be with kids his age but he didn’t go when he was 3. I really do feel 3 is young. Emily is going to daycare so what is her daycare like? I mean if it’s only about playing, you may want to consider it for next year and try and make it work. I wouldn’t worry about it until she’s four.

    The other thing is kids all learn at different ages and if all the other kids are going to preschool, will it put your child behind? Will they be the only ones learning things in kindergarten that all the other kids learned in preschool?

    I’m playing devil’s advocate here. Back when we were all in kindergarten, we learned our phone numbers and colors, letters, numbers and very basic things. But kindergarten has changed now. Not only is it everyday but it’s all day. I know both my boys only went half days. Do we need to keep up with the Jones’s here? I’m only asking. I did teach my kids most of these things but what about the parents that don’t? What happens when all the kids know the alphabet but a few. Then is it just a review for the kids who know or will the teacher think her class can “skip” those things?

    I guess what I’m trying to ask is preschool now a prerequisite before entering kindergarten?

  6. SKL says:

    I don’t think we’ve gotten to the point where they aren’t teaching letters and numbers in KG. More likely, they will keep reviewing it up to 2nd grade. In addition, even though some kids are now reading in KG (this was always the case actually), the standards at the higher grades don’t suggest any lasting benefit of this.

    Also, it is pretty easy to teach kids those basics at home, if you set your mind to it. It’s true that some people won’t, but why should that create a requirement for those who do? And if a child is not ready to learn at home, a school setting won’t make him ready. My step-nephew attended two years of Head Start and still had to repeat kindergarten because he didn’t know all of his letters at age 6.5. He has a sister one year older who didn’t go to preschool but was reading in KG. Who knows, maybe the activities in Head Start are not as beneficial as what the kid would be doing at home – or, maybe his brain just needed more time to prepare for literacy. And if the latter was true, was it a waste of his time to be drilled in letters at age 3? Could that time have been spent more productively in a less structured environment?

    I wouldn’t put my child in preschool just because others are going; it would have to be because I found it the best solution for my individual family.

  7. Sue says:

    Both my kids went to preschool b/c I wanted them to get into the routine of school b/4 kindergarten. Here, we do have all day every day kindergarten, but not every district does. I would wait until they are at least 4 though. At 3 they should be able to just be 3! Kindergarten has changed; they are expected to know their letters and numbers b/c they want them reading by the end of the year and if you have to spend half that year learning letters they are behind for 1st grade. I’m not saying I agree, that’s just the way it was for my daughter. I was also told that if I don’t do all day every day kindergarten she would be behind the other kids. Nothing like a little pressure for a little 5/6 year old!

  8. Jennifer says:

    My daughter just turned 4 last week. My son will be 3 in February. I don’t intend to enroll either of them in preschool, although I swear that it’s at least once a week someone asks me where my kids ‘go’….which also makes me wonder how much of a status symbol it has become in our culture as well…

    Programs like Head Start were created to try to help children who would be falling behind their peers because they may not have the same opportunities available to them to prepare them for school….then it seems suddenly others felt that it wasn’t fair they they didn’t get the same opportunities as well and suddenly we have tons of privately owned preschools, some with pricey fees and every child is suddenly expected to go and once again kids are falling behind.

    As so many others have mentioned here…I think the key is it depends on your child. One cannot argue that social skills are important to learn, and that letters, numbers, writing etc are all skills that must be mastered. I’ve seen friends enroll their kids in pricey preschools that supposedly were the best in town but when I look at them all I see is a pretty website, nice playrooms, and people that are no more qualified to work with children than any other parent…they just play the role so well that everyone thinks they have these highly trained teachers.

    I’ve also seen friends keep their kids at home and teach them the basics they needed to know, let them socialize with their friends and explore the world and everything is wonderful and fine without cause for alarm. No preschool police show up at your door. No mommy brigade arrives on your doorstep eager to prove you’re a bad parent. Nobody notices. All is well.

    I’ve seen friends that do a mixture…this is kind of where I am. My kids are in daycare each day because my husband and I are working, but while they’re there they work on those basic skills and I know they’re socializing, playing outside, learning to cut with scissors etc. But they’re in a tiny in-home daycare with a total of 6 kids. Much different than the giant center. There are also infants around too and I’ve watched them teach the younger children how to do things, and watched as they learn compassion and patience for those younger than them. If I can’t be their family structure during the day I’m happy that they’re part of a little family while I’m gone.

    I think the key above all else it to look at your child and figure out what skills they need to learn and figure out where they’ll get them from. You’ve done it before and if you’re ready to do it again then don’t worry about it. You’re a veteran parent, don’t let anybody make you second guess your choices! 🙂

    I’m not sure if your school does this or not but mine has the skills needed for kindergarten on their website. My daughter starts next year and I’ve been re-reading the skill set now a few times…

  9. Jane says:

    I put Dylan in preschool this fall, he turned 4 in July and the only reason I did it is because I felt he needed the interaction with other kids and I wanted him to get the feel for school. I’m not sure if I’ll send him to K next year yet or not though but I probably will. That late birthday makes it tough but do feel he’ll be ready to go.

    We live so far away from people we know who have kids his age so he spends a lot of time with either dad or I while we work and he needed it. You do have to know your kids and if he were in daycare learning and being around others, I wouldn’t have it either Jennifer.

    There is a “competitive” group of parents who thought I was crazy for not putting him in last year. I felt like Sue, let them be 3! For some, not all but some do view this as a social thing.

    K had really changed. Our district also expects kids to know most of their numbers and letters by sight and they work on them slightly and then group up into reading groups. Ours also go all day here which is another reason I just wanted him a little familiar with the routine of it. It’s a pain in my backside though. It’s really a chore to take him twice a week. I know what you mean Lisa. Those two mornings a week have ended up with me killing time in town because it’s 17 miles one way and I don’t really get enough done to go home before it’s time to go back. It’s really altered the way I do things and animals don’t accept a change in routine well.

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