Originally Posted by richella
I think the distinction between day care and school is very significant. MIL is on a preschool board and she says it's "just semantics." But I think that's very misleading. I'd be so much more comfortable with dd in day care a couple half days a week than in the preschool she's in. I like to keep things clear --who benefits, and how? Why should I do x,y, or z? What are the goals? I'd even go so far as to say that school should NOT be expected to fulfill the requirements of day care, that is, it should be designed with the best interests of the students rather than the convenience of the parents. I'm in favor of low cost day care, but I want it to be clear what the purpose is.
From what I've read, there is no proven benefit of early formal education, except for children who are otherwise at high risk. I absolutely believe that we need to do everything possible to help those children, but to lump all children together and say everyone needs to be in a classroom from 3 or 4 or 5, or any age, really, it's just sadly ignorant. Because the biggest thing I've learned from parenting is how truly individual all children are, in their needs and their abilities, and as a society we are so poor at addressing this individuality. Not just in schools. To stay on topic --for kids who are not at risk, there is no need for preschool.
(And everyone can stop telling me "Put dd in preschool, you'll want the break!" cause I get no break, I have a 17 mo at home anyway!)
I hate the way preschool and daycare are getting blurred. They do serve two distictly different purposes, and the children who go to one often have very different needs than the children who go to the other. A lot of the preschools that I looked at for DS were so focused on trying to fulfill both school and daycare needs, that they over looked many of the needs of the children attending.
When I first called the preschool I did send DS to, the person on the phone started to explain all the things that made the school an extremely inconvienient daycare. I cut her off with "don't worry I'm looking for a preschool not a daycare, I work from home."
So many of the "schools" we looked at had a strict drop and go policy, long nap times (DS can nap at home why should I pay for him to do it somewhere else etc.) These things are convienient if you need daycare, but then I would want something less activity driven then most of them were, since they were trying to also fulfill the "school" roll. Except for the nap time, most of these places had almost no down time. They rarely provided the warmth and freedom that I would want DS to have if he needed to spend all day
somewhere. They often had school like vacation scheduals, that would leave parent needing back up childcare anyway.
If I needed daycare I would probably look for a WAHM/D who provided in home daycare while they were staying home with their own kids.
The schools that really fill the preschool roll well, would all make terrible daycare options. Like the school we chose for DS has tons of off days, wants parents involved, is only 2 1/2 hours for his age group, etc. I rarely even bother to drive home after dropping DS off since I'll be back so soon, I just hang out in a nearby coffee shop or go to the supermarket. One of the other schools we looked at (and wanted to send DS to, but couldn't afford) would be even less convienient as daycare.
I do feel that everyone should get the opportunity to have high quality daycare if they need it, and access to high quality preschool if they want it, but by trying to lump the two together niether is fully realised. Ofcourse if one doesn't need daycare, and ones child doesn't want to go to preschool, then there is no need to go to either.