Originally Posted by Bluegoat
I am not crazy about the use of the term school, because there is a trend toward lowering formal academics, and I think that is very negative, especially when we are already sending them to big school at quite a young age. I think it is better if everyone has clear expectations that early childhood learning is not "school' type academic learning.
I do have concerns about the way our day-cares are run. To really stand in for a family or village situation, I think small classes, mixed ages, caregivers that are consistent over several years, and lots of outside play in nature if at all possible are really important. But we tend to see kids grouped in same age groups; in bigger classes, even though the student teacher ratio may be good they group the kids and teachers together; a high turn-over among daycare workers; and outdoor play often seems to be centered on play structures.
I have read this thread with interest. Just up front, my DH and I both work full time. Both our kids started preschool/daycare/whatever you want to call it at around 9 months.
I wanted to talk about the question of what to call it. I think many parents call it school for a couple of reasons. First, sending your kids to "preschool" is regarded as good and helpful. Sending your kids to "daycare" is often regarded as neglecting them. Who wants to have it hinted that they are neglecting their kids?
We always say "school" and always have. We may have said it with a bit of a chuckle when the kids were quite young. On the other hand, we all leave the house in the morning for "school". My DH and I both work at a university so we are also going to school. And, I definitely regard what children do - i.e., play - as their "work". It's their "job" to explore the world doing the kid stuff: running around, painting, reading and chewing on books, learning how to get along with each other.
I quoted the above post both because of the school/daycare question and because that description of a family/village situation (mixed ages, lots of outside time, stable caregivers over time) pretty much sums up the "institutionalized" setting of our daycare/preschool.
Obviously each family should do what works best for them. But I do think we can help each other as women and as mothers by trying to reserve judgment about what other families are up to. Happy to see that that is pretty much the tone of this thread.