Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preschool

This is another question-regarding-Adelay post. Maybe I should eventually delete these so she doesn't think she was my main source of worry as a child?!

Anyways, it's about preschool. To do or not to do, basically. All summer long, people have been ASKING and ASKING us if she's in preschool yet, and assuring us that she's going to be so behind if we don't get on it and get her in a good school! And I'm all, "She's still only three, you know." Which... won't be true as of Saturday, but it was true when I was saying it! Is preschool considered mandatory now for school preparation?

I've always planned to put her in some kind of preschool program next year, when she's five, because our school doesn't offer half day kindergarten and I feel that going from being with Eli and me all day to being at school all day would be kind of a big transition without some stepping stone in between. But does she need to start it now? (For the record, she can't start kindergarten until she's almost six due to her birthday. In this state you have to have turned five by August first to start when you're five.)

I know that a lot of kids start preschool around three or four, but for most of them isn't that because they were in daycare already anyways, and at that age it automatically transitions over to a preschool program? If she's here with me (FOR FREE, I might add) and reading books, going to the park, coloring pictures and practicing letters with Jim and painting and all that stuff, is it really necessary to take her somewhere else and PAY someone else to do that stuff?

I'm kind of gathering that the main concern is socialization and structure, more than perhaps actual education, but in my opinion she's getting plenty of that, as well. She goes to Sunday school once a week, and now sometimes on Wednesday nights too. She goes to the Y childcare program whenever I work out, she's taking dance class this year, we go to the playground pretty frequently, and she sees her cousins quite a bit. She doesn't seem to me to be antisocial or to be having any problems relating to others, sharing, listening to other adults, etc. I watch her through the windows at the childcare and at her dance class, and she seems to be responding well to her peers and taking instruction from her teachers just as well as the other kids.

I guess our decision is pretty much made for this year, and I'm just kind of looking for validation. However, I know sometimes as a parent your kid seems fine to YOU, but you're not seeing things objectively. I certainly don't want her to be behind or at a disadvantage in any way. On the other hand, it's kind of too late for this year anyways, and also, TEH MONEY, geez, especially when there's no reason to pay for childcare since I'm here.

Do you guys think preschool is necessary at this age, or that she'll be behind in some way if we hold off another year?

22 comments:

Jess said...

I don't have kids. But it sounds to me like the situation you've got going on right now is working out pretty well for her in terms of learning time, playing time, and social time. I see no reason to mix things up at great expense to yourself for no real gain.

d e v a n said...

I'm in a mom's group with over 100 moms and,if they have 4 year olds, ALMOST all of them are in a MMO or preK program. Except my 4 year old. He will start kindergarten next year since he turns 5 in March. However, he was learning NOTHING in PreK (they were working on recognizing their name and the first letters and he can read already - somewhat)
and it was $200 a MONTH for 3 half days a week and it was a PITA. Seriously.
He goes to play dates every week, he's OK with going to other people's houses without me and he does not have social anxiety. I think he'll be fine in K next year, even though it's a full day program ( I do wish it were half day...)
Phew. That was a long comment and possibly not at all helpful.

LoriD said...

Preschool isn't necessary. Kindergarten is mostly about socialization. My mom was a kindergarten teacher and she found that the daycare/preschool kids were obvious at the start of the school year (better-socialized), but that everything kind of levelled off by Christmas. Adelay is getting a lot from being at home with you and going to other childcare situations.

Just and observation: We start school way early here - Maggie is in Junior Kindergarten and she won't turn 4 until next month.

Hillary said...

Preschool is over-rated. The Boy will go because, as you point out, that's what happens when your kid's in daycare. But if I were at home with him, I think we'd skip it.

Pickles and Dimes said...

I don't have kids either, but I think if your situation is working out and A. is learning things on her own and is happy in social situations, you're just fine.

Giselle said...

My eldest just started Kindergarten, and let me say, it is just glorified pre-school. Adelay will have plenty of opportunity to learn how to follow directions, sit quietly in a group, do things according to a class schedule, etc etc. in Kindergarten. If she is happy, let her stay where she is. A year of pre-school will prepare her for the physical and emotional fatigue that comes with school...but again? She'd catch up in the first few months of Kindergarten anyway.

And academics? Ugh...anyone who sends their child to pre-school for that is delusional. You can TOTALLY teach the "academics" of pre-school by reading books and going on field trips. ;)

CAQuincy said...

I know! Folks act as if you're just plain DOOMING your kids if they don't go, right?

My humble opinion is that what you're doing sounds just GREAT and that you should follow your gut and save yourself the expense and the hassle. I don't think preschools are necessary, and I think they are ridiculously over-priced.

Perhaps this opinion will bite me in the butt years down the road when my children (who all went to a small at-home daycare except for that ONE year I got to SAH where I did NOT send my 3-y.o. to preschool) don't get some big, free-ride scholarship because they didn't socialize with all the other uppity-ups at preschool. Ah well....

Jana said...

My son (almost 3) goes to MDO twice a week so that I can get a break. Not so he can learn or socialize or whatever, just because I'm selfish and I want a break from the crazy 2 phase (and so his 18 month old brother can get some alone time with me).

If she's doing well, learning and having fun with you, then don't sweat the whole pre-school thing. As long as she knows her alphabet, colors and numbers by kindergarten, you're golden.

Mommy Daisy said...

We've been getting asked the "preschool" question since this summer, since Zachariah turned 3 in the spring. My answer as a mother and teacher is NO, it's not completely necessary. We're even debating whether or not we'll want to send him next year (which would be the earliest I'd want to) or even the possibility of home schooling. I agree that Addy (along with Zachariah) is getting enough socialization already for her age. Do some kids need it? Yes. Do most kids who's parents work with them at home and are already socialized? No.

Marie Green said...

She totally doesn't need preschool, especially not this year. My twins did 2 years of preschool for 2 reasons: 1) so I could have some one on one time with their newborn sister, and 2) so I could have a break from them.

Your lifestyle and family style is such that, without anything, A will be fine in Kindergarten. She comes from a stable, loving home with 2 parents, lots of cuddles and stories etc. With that alone she will be MILES ahead of probably about 50% of the other kindergartners in a public school setting. (sad, but true).

That said, I agree that next year some sort of preschool class might be a good idea, for the simple reason, as you stated, of helping her adjust to time away from home.

For now, just enjoy all the sweet time you get with her!

bananafana said...

I'm going to preface this by saying I think it's totally unnecessary. That said, my mother is a kindergarten teacher and she says she can always tell where the kids came from - whether home, daycare program or even which particular preschool. I think she would agree it is unneccessary but she'd also be quick to point out that it can be a lot easier/less stressful for kids from the RIGHT preschool to adjust. Not just for socialization but in getting used to how they go through their day. I don't think you need to do preschool but I don't think it would hurt to do a mom's day out type of thing either. No matter what she'll be absolutely fine. Academically it's not worth it (although my son finds it to be fun and fascinating). If she adjusts to settings and circumstances well I'd probably just skip it.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am also a SAHM with 3 kids (and a 4th on the way). We have sent our older 2 so far to a MDO program starting at age 3 for 2 days a week. They then moved on to a PreK 4 program at age 4 for 2 days a week. We did it for a few reasons none of which were academic. We felt that they would benefit from the extra socialization and also the "classroom" environment would help prepare for kinder. And selfishly I wanted to have some one on one time with the youngest one.

With that said...

Our oldest (who is very shy) benefited most from the time away from mom. She is now in 1st grade and doing great.

Our 2nd kid (who is very social) benefited from all of the socialization with kids his own age instead of hanging out with his sister's group of friends and their siblings.

We also are involved in our church groups, they go to the gym's play area and we are in playgroups.

We also found that depending on the PreK program you choose it can help prepare for kindergarten. Our kids attend parochial school and that's where they go to PreK ( but not where they did MDO). The kindergarten classes at our school end the year reading chapter books and doing book reports on them and we found that the PreK program prepared them to enter into kinder. They learned a lot more than their letters/numbers and how to write their name in PreK.

Mimi said...

My Oliver turns 4 in January. I have him in preschool this year because I thought he needed the social outlet. We don't have many fun things to do in our small town, so preschool was like the only way I could think for him to be able to hang out with a variety of other little kids. It sounds like you have plenty to do with Addie, so I wouldn't worry about putting her in preschool. I tend to think that kids learn more from their parents at that age, anyway.

Mimi said...

Oh, I guess I have more to say!

My plan is to have Ollie go to preschool 2 days a week this year, 3 days a week next year, then of course all-day kindergarten the following year. My town only offers all-day kindergarten too. So I guess this feels like an okay way to transition him from being at home all the time to eventually being at school all day. But then again I'm sure I wouldn't feel like he needed the transition if we had the social stuff going on that it sounds like you have with Addie.

So anyway... I am long-winded. Also! Just trust your mommy instinct. You know what's best for her anyway.

Sarah said...

I definitely think you're right. I'd put her in pre-school before Kindergarten just to ease the transition and get her used to school, but I don't see any need to do it now. She's got plenty of learning and social time. Little Man will go to pre-school, but that's because he's in daycare.

Katy said...

I gonna weigh in and say that mommy knows best. For some kids that means preschool at an early age and for others that means holding off for a bit. I'm sure she's learning plenty with you guys at home.

nevermelts said...

I think you are right. I have been answering this question since my kid was 2. She started K last month without ever experiencing preschool... maybe 12 days of Y daycare under her belt. Lots of people justify it one way or the other. Lots of K teachers claim to be able to tell who did what, but as the parent side of the equation I merely smile and wish them good luck, because I really don't give a flip. They all catch up by the end of K, which is kind of the point of K. She is very social and bright and friendly and adaptable despite having been stunted by being alone with me most days :) She is doing brilliantly in K and has made several friends already.

Swistle said...

I am willing and able to validate your opinions. I put one child in preschool, but it was on the recommendation of three professionals: he was borderline autism spectrum and they felt preschool would Really Help. Another child went to preschool for ME: I had baby twins. The other three aren't going to preschool.

Shelly Overlook said...

Am I the only one who likes pre-school? I hear all the time about how pre-school isn't necessary, and maybe it isn't, but I think it can have value. We are in 2 playgroups, go to the library weekly, are constantly around other kids, but for us it wasn't enough.

My 2yo did 2x/wk MDO last year and it was essential for her development. Even though we've been in playgroups since she was tiny, after a move, all she wanted to play with was me. MDO gave her the ability to be more confident, learn to play with other kids again, and I never regretted sending her.

This year I am sending her to pre-school (she started at age 2, just turned 3) 3x/wk for 2.5 hours each. She loves it. She learns so many things and every day she looks forward to school. I know I stay home with her for a reason, but I think it's important to both of our development to have this time with her at school. I wouldn't have it any other way, but that's just me.

I think every child and every family is different and you have to do what's best for you. If your kid will be able to enter kindergarten "cold turkey" and it's what you feel works for you, then do it. My kid just wasn't that kid.

Saly said...

I think that as long as you have the availabilty to teach your kids, there is no issue. Because I work, my kids go to daycare/preschool. Because I get a reimbursement from work, they are in a very good program. Bud started Kindergarten this year and seems to be well ahead of ther curve. ("Moooom, I've been writing my name for YEARS now..." in response to his weekly homework) But if he had not been to preschool, I think he'd be doing just fine as well. He's a smart kid, and we are decent parents who feel the need to educate them all the time, not just when they are in a school setting.

I say keep doing what you are doing; it seems to work out well for you.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

oh for pete's sake. however well-intentioned people are, that question totally pisses me off. why do people think that the ages of 3 and 4 automatically necessitate the kid attending a non-mandatory school program? ugh.

and with all due respect to jana, kids don't need to know numbers, letters or colors before kindergarten. they'll learn them there and by the end of the year, it will be next to impossible to tell who knew, who didn't.

that being said, my 3, nearly 4 year old is going to a preschool co-op 2x /wk with some other friends and families. each mom or dad teaches once or twice a month so it's free. while she LOVES it, I realized that she loves every chance she gets to play with friends.

addy will do WONDERFULLY no matter what. she's got you as a mom, ya know? the fact that you care enough to ask says it all.