In this day and time more and more children seem to be rushing off to school at earlier ages than ever before. Children are being enrolled into preschool as young as two years of age. While discussing this with some friends earlier today I was wondering is preschool necessary? Here are a few things for you to consider when trying to decide if you should send your little darling off to school before the age of five.
Reason – The reason that you want to send your child to preschool, or will not send them to preschool, is completely different from family to family. Some parents work and have no other choice but to send their children to daycare and preschool every day. Other parents merely need some time alone a few hours a week. While others will send their children to preschool in order to get a headstart on the acedemics of it.
Many stay at home parents will not send their children to preschool because that is why they are stay at home parents to begin with. They chose to be there to teach their children everything that they will need to know before starting kindergarten. Stay at home parents can enjoy arts and crafts, abc’s, numbers, socializing with other parents, nature walks and anything else that they want to teach their children. They feel that there is no need to send their children to preschool when they are home all day teaching their children the same things that they might learn at a preschool.
Cost – The cost of a good preschool will greatly vary throughout the country. There are public preschools funded by the government, there are religious preschools provided by the churches and then there are privately owned preschools that can sometimes feel like you are trying to get your child into a university. The cost that you can afford will, basically, determine what type of school you will be able to afford.
The parents that don’t send their children to preschool will not have to worry about these costs since they will more than likely be doing any teaching in their own homes. A child can learn their ABC’s just as well for free as they can at a $200 a week preschool.
Amount of Time – The amount of time that your child will spend in preschool will vary almost as greatly as the cost. Some preschools will go five days a week for several hours a day. While others will go two or three days a week for the whole day.
Parents who are stay at home parents and do not send their children to preschool will most likely tell you that their children are learning all day every day. There’s no set time to “go to school”, there’s no strict schedules to adhere to, there are no strangers for your children to fear or for you to worry about.
Family Beliefs – Whether you decide to send your child to preschool or you decide to keep your child home with you it comes down to your family beliefs. If you are a religious family and you want to send your child to preschool then you may like the preschool that your local church offers. If your family belief is centered more around attachment parenting, like mine, then you may be more keen to keep your child home with you in order to provide what your child needs. Either way, when making this decision always consider your family beliefs before deciding whether to preschool or not.
Social Interaction – Many parents who send their children to preschool do so because they feel their son or daughter needs more social interaction before entering “real school”. You don’t have to send your children to preschool for that. There are many alternatives available in today’s society when it comes to social interaction. The easiest route would be simply the local playground. Many, many children get their “social interaction” on the playground. Kids can learn give and take, sharing, playing well with others and many other items that go hand in hand with social interaction simply by playing on the playground under the watchful eye of a parent or caregiver. Just taking your child out into everyday life will provide many opportunities for social interaction. There are many other ways to get your child involved in social interactions other than preschool. There are classes like the Mommy & Me classes. There are scheduled playgroups that meet a few times a month. If you can not find anything in your area, how about starting up a group yourself. There are probably many other moms in your area looking for just the right playgroup for their kids too.
Education – Education is another top reason for sending your children to preschool. While many children will need an extra boost of education before starting kindergarten, it isn’t always necessary to send them to preschool for it. Some kids DO need preschool but many others do not. If you look at a preschool curriculum though, you probably will not see much more than what you already do with your child at home. Learning their ABCs, numbers, colors, how to write their name, playtime, arts & crafts, naps, snacks, music time, etc. Isn’t this what most of us already do with our kids? I know it is with mine.
For the majority of children a structured preschool environment is not a crucial requirement for learning. You, as the parent, can be just as good, if not better, a teacher to your child as someone who gets paid to teach your kids how to write their name and say their ABC’s. For these children preschool is not a necessity.
On the other side there are children out there that will need preschool for a jump start on learning. Some will require the socialization that preschool offers in order to be prepared for the everyday learning in kindergarten. For these children preschool is necessary.
As a mom to three daughters who have never, and will never, attend preschool, I have found that the decision to choose whether or not to send your child to preschool is like any other parental decision….based on personal experience and ultimately a personal choice. Only you can decide if preschool is necessary for you and your child. I’ve been doing this “mom thing” for over a decade now and I can assure you that there will always be someone who will criticize your parenting style and choices.
You must do what is best for you, your children and your family. Whether that’s to send your children to preschool because you need some time to yourself a few days a week or you choose not to send your children to preschool because you don’t agree with doing so, it’s ultimately all up to you. Do what you feel is right for your child and ignore everyone else.