Sending babies/toddlers to preschool: a new trend? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 124 Old 09-17-2010, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, just curious: Is it the "thing" nowadays to send children as young as 12 or 18 months to preschool?

I am flabbergasted at all these stay-at-home moms I'm running into IRL who think that they are giving their babies an advantage by sending them to preschool before they're even 2! Some think that they have let their children fall behind if they weren't in preschool by 3!

After staying home with my first 2 kids, I went back to work full time when my DD was 18 months and I put her in a preschool. She has liked it a lot. I'm happy with it and I think it is a great place for her. I would even venture to say that she is learning a lot (it is an awesome Montessori preschool.) But, were I not working, I would never have dreamed of putting her in school before age 3. Am I just an old fogey with an outdated mentality? Is this really the new normal?

Is there some new research out that demonstrates the benefits of preschool for 1-2 year olds that I just haven't heard about?
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#2 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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I send my 16 m.o. to preschool on the same schedule as her 4 y.o. sister, three mornings a week, but I really do think that any notion of measurable "benefit" to the toddler themselves is total hogwash in most cases. It may well benefit the at-home parent - I think the respite makes me a more patient and engaged caregiver. In our case, it most certainly benefits my homeschooled first grader who gets some blocks of peace and quiet to do seat work. I am a supporter of preschool/play school experience in early childhood when finances allow, but also a little freaked out at the idea that it's going to become a must-do for parents who want their children to succeed in life. My toddler would develop just fine if we lived on an isolated farm, or on board a ship, or in a freaking CAVE. The parental and sibling bonds really are enough at this age.
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#3 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ITA with you, Smithie, on the benefits for the mom. I never had a break with my older 2 kids and it was so hard. It would have been a welcome relief to have had a trusted caregiver in a safe place for a couple mornings a week.
It's the idea that the babies will fall behind without it that puzzles me.
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#4 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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I agree that sending a toddler (or preschooler) to school is generally more for the parent's benefit. Totally. Which, isn't a bad thing! I also don't think kids who wait until they are older to start school are necessarily at a disadvantage. My DS that started school at 4.5 and only went for half a year (then we moved, and he didn't go back to school until kindergarten) is a super bright kid. He is in in 2nd grade now and far ahead of his peers in most areas. It really depends on the kid, too. My youngest is 3 and just started Montessori - I will be interested to see how he does in the years to come.

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#5 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:19 AM
 
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I went to a playschool at 18 months. So I don't know how new it is.

In my state, preschools can only accept kids at 2 years 9 months. There are a lot of in-home playschools that are licensed as daycares that take 2 year olds. It's usually just one day a week and they do some craft projects and sing some songs. State licensing for in-home daycare requires a 1:6 adult child ratio, and I don't know of any that have helpers so all the ones I know of are max 6 kids at a time. Many of my friends used them, and had good experiences. I sent my DD to a toddler Montessori program when she was a bit over 2, but it's the only preschool I know of around here that takes kids that young (they start at 18 months). It gave me a break, and she really enjoyed it.

I don't know of any preschools that take 12 month olds, though.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#6 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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My mom works in an early childhood development center, and they have been steadily increasing enrollment all around, but this year they saw a huge influx of parents wanting to get in the 2YO program. They are maxed out, with many kids on the waitlist.

My mom doesn't know what to think. She said more parents than ever wanted to know what exactly the "curriculum" would be for their 2YO, as in "you will be teaching them the ABCs, right?"

And, no, I don't think there are any studies out there that have shown benifits to starting preshool early.

It breaks my heart when my mom describes peeling each crying child away from their mother everyday to fingerpaint and sing songs. My mom says that with the 2s, they spend about 20 minutes getting everyone to stop crying, 45 minutes changing each of the kids' diapers, and it takes about 10 minutes to put their coats on for recess in the winter. Although, when everyone stops crying and they are not taking care of the babies, it sounds like they are having a lot of fun.

FWIW I am a SAHM of one 2YO and I feel an enormous amount of pressure to put DD in more activities including preschool, esp from my ILs who live in NYC. My instinct is to hold her close and closer.
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#7 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:21 AM
 
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I have no idea if there is any greater benefit to preschool than there is to being home or in daycare. But, as a sahm, I did consider putting my 2 yr old in preschool. I didn't end up doing it because I felt she was too young and I did not feel it was the best choice so I kept her home full time and found some other activities to do.

But the reason I considered it was that she could have a bit more socializing time with peers. I also thought she would really enjoy and thrive on the structured activities (crafts, story time with friends etc). Also, I get NO time to myself and haven't even been on a date with dp in 2.5 yrs and I was pregnant with my second when I considered it and also worried about how I would handle 2 kids under 2.5 years....

I could have used the help and thought 2 mornings in preschool would be better than daycare or a crazy sleep deprived negligent mother!! BUt we managed and I won't reconsider preschool until she is 3. That said, I plan on homeschooling.

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#8 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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My mom works in an early childhood development center, and they have been steadily increasing enrollment all around, but this year they saw a huge influx of parents wanting to get in the 2YO program. They are maxed out, with many kids on the waitlist.

My mom doesn't know what to think. She said more parents than ever wanted to know what exactly the "curriculum" would be for their 2YO, as in "you will be teaching them the ABCs, right?"

And, no, I don't think there are any studies out there that have shown benifits to starting preshool early.

It breaks my heart when my mom describes peeling each crying child away from their mother everyday to fingerpaint and sing songs. My mom says that with the 2s, they spend about 20 minutes getting everyone to stop crying, 45 minutes changing each of the kids' diapers, and it takes about 10 minutes to put their coats on for recess in the winter. Although, when everyone stops crying and they are not taking care of the babies, it sounds like they are having a lot of fun.

FWIW I am a SAHM of one 2YO and I feel an enormous amount of pressure to put DD in more activities including preschool, esp from my ILs who live in NYC. My instinct is to hold her close and closer.
Wow. That sounds really awful. At my DD's 2s program, I think there was only 1 boy who had problems with separation after the first few weeks. And his parents worked, so she didn't have a choice. After the first week, where separation was tough because she had never been apart from me, DD didn't even turn around when she shouted "bye momma!" to run off to play with her friends. It was a Montessori program, so they also made the kids put on their own coats... which definitely made my life easier when she brought that skill home!

What do you think your mom's place is dong that there are such extreme separation issues? It's so interesting that they have that problem to that extent. 2 year olds with working parents get dropped off at daycare all the time, and children that age seem plenty happy in the babysitting room at my gym. It's kind of horrifying that her school had such a consistent problem with separation.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#9 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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I put DS in Mother's Day Out two days a week at 1 year. I freely admit I did it for my benefit, at a year I don't know that he learned anything there that he wouldn't have learned at home with me. BUT *I* needed the break. Those few hours were PRECIOUS to me. It allowed me to breathe and begin finding myself again and be a better mother, wife, friend, etc. I caught alot of flack from friends IRL who were shocked at the decision, at the end of the day it didn't matter what THEY thought. We had to do what was best for our family and what anyone else thought just didn't matter.

DS is now 3 and still attends the same MDO program, now 3x a week. He HAS learned so many new things and is able to do things that we just couldn't/wouldn't think to do at home. He's also made friends, his OWN friends, is learning how to interact with other kids, and is adapting to the care taking provided by other adults.

the teachers at MDO have become part of our "village" and it's something I am very grateful for.

ETA: before having DS I thought I'd never put him in that type of situation until 4 or 5. But that was before, the reality of DS and our situation (no family/limited support network) was completely different than I'd expected.

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#10 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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maybe i'm just out of touch, but i consider kindergarten what you go to when you're 5. it's your first required exploration into "what is school?" preschool is the optional thing parents send their children to at 4, maybe even 3 years old. but really it's mostly just playing. anything before the age of 3 is just a care provider.

i guess i just assumed that any place that called themselves a "school" was just doing so for marketing appeal???

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#11 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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Wow. That sounds really awful. At my DD's 2s program, I think there was only 1 boy who had problems with separation after the first few weeks. And his parents worked, so she didn't have a choice. After the first week, where separation was tough because she had never been apart from me, DD didn't even turn around when she shouted "bye momma!" to run off to play with her friends. It was a Montessori program, so they also made the kids put on their own coats... which definitely made my life easier when she brought that skill home!

What do you think your mom's place is dong that there are such extreme separation issues? It's so interesting that they have that problem to that extent. 2 year olds with working parents get dropped off at daycare all the time, and children that age seem plenty happy in the babysitting room at my gym. It's kind of horrifying that her school had such a consistent problem with separation.

I should say that this is not a montessori but a very highly regarded place in a not so crunchy area. Also, they have been in session for 2 weeks now. I dunno, my mom says that they are just so young this year. Also, they are supposed to have 10 spots, but the director gave them 12 because there was just so much demand. My mom has one aide. So they are 2 on 12.

My mom has said in the past that the crying is just contagious. Maybe only 3 or 4 are crying at first, maybe 1 stops, but then another one, who was fine starts crying. She does believe in the whole rip the baby away and redirect theory which doesn't jibe with me. It is rough right now, but I know it gets better as the year goes on, I am just going by what my mom is talking about right now.

She also has told me that almost all the parents claim that their kids are potty-trained and bring them in pullups, which makes it twice as hard to get the baby cleaned when they have an 'accident', and it seems the setting brings out the poop in all of them . On one day my mom said, only 1 is really potty trained in a class of 12.

With having a 2YO now, I pay a lot more attention to my mom's stories. I have to admit sometimes I wish my DD was in her class. The do the sweetest activities, and my mom is the most loving caring person ever.
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#12 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 05:13 AM
 
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Here its common to send children to preschool at 18 months and when I say school I mean a school type setting. From what Ive been told between 18 months and 24 months it can be up to 2 hours/3 days per week and they concentrate on sitting still (not a skill I think my 1 1/2 year old needs to learn per say) and potty training (which is why a LOT of parents send their kids to the school, so they don't have to deal with the initial potty training). After that they do "lesson" time which from what I told is language (its usually a Japanese school and they teach the children Japanese), alphabet, numbers, with a little art and craft thrown in. They do get 1-2 recesses. The times are usually 4-5 hours 2-3 times a week or more if you want it.

Personally I thought about sending my first when I had my second mostly from pure exhausion. My first is very high energy and I love her but she can be very draining. I ended up not because one I thought it might build resentment (she would tie the school to her sister) and two it would be tiring getting her ready, walking her to school (we only have one car so I would have had to walk her there and walk her home), getting her to stay at the school (she doesn't like strangers so this would have to repeat any time someone new started working there) and then walking home just to walk back again. It just wouldn't have made life any easier.

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#13 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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I sent my 2 year old to our Montessori. I spent a good few nights crying about it too before we sent him off, thinking I was a failure as a SAHM not being able to help him through this problem and how awful I was sending my non verbal child to preschool. And this was a school I knew and loved and trusted, having my oldest attending there for a year. Part of the reason why we sent him at two was that he was going to be enrolled in our Montessori in September, but we (Parents, teacher, language pathologist and Directress) thought that it might be too much change for him at that point as we were welcoming a new baby at the end of August. The speech pathologist also believed that it would help with his language. The other part, yes was for my benefit as I was going through a difficult pregnancy. He spent the first two weeks crying, I waited while he was carried in and listened for the minute he crossed the corner into his classroom and couldn't see me, he stopped crying. After two weeks, he marched in confidently and nowadays he barely remembers to give me a kiss. Just the skills they worked on with him and his sense of accomplishment (one of his first phrases was "I did it!" followed closely by "I do it!") helped his confidence tenfold and the language seemed to follow behind.

In the 6 months he's been there, he's gone from pretty much no vocabulary, frequent frustration temper tantrums and absolutely no confidence except at home, to an extremely confident, cheerful and very chatty little guy who was just yesterday discharged from speech pathology, "happily and enthusiastically", which I owe in a big part to his teachers and school. So while I got to spend part of my pregnancy with my feet up, the benefits to DS2 have been immeasurable and we still cannot believe the change in him. Which reminds me, I will be writing a letter to the staff at our school to update and thank them.

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#14 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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DS started at Montessori when he was 2.

For us it was all about the socialization. Prior to that we had done several of the mommy and me classes at the park district so that he could be around other kids but by 2 he was getting a bit bored there. I was having zero luck finding a mom's play group. So we started at Montessori with a mommy and me class and he loved it. Also, by getting in then you are a returning student and don't have to deal with the mad rush and waiting lists for the 3 yr olds.

He never cried. Bizarre. We got there the first day and I just could.not do the drop off thing so I walked him in. He immediately went to play and ignored me. I remember one morning he did cry. They called me about 3 minutes later to let me know he was happily playing. It did great things for his socialization and his independence. And it gave me just a little bit of alone time which was much needed.
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#15 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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I think what's new is calling daycare "preschool". Around here, kids start going to "school" at 6 weeks old. That's what they call my nephew's daycare.
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#16 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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I hear that as well, "school" for a 8 month old. I am not a big fan of early school for my family, if I had a less flexible work schedule then I'm sure I might feel differently. I believe that children have years ahead of them to sit in a classroom, and the schools that we have tried have been very fun and amazing programs. DD1 attempted preschool for one month at age 4 and then she didn't go back until 1st grade because I am working more, I enrolled DD2 this fall in preschool for 2 days a week. She turns 4 next month and it is too early for me, I have spent the last 6 months talking myself into it and the decision is still not sitting well with me. I'm giving it through the end of the month and then I am leaning towards abandoning preschool once again.

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#17 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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In my area "preschool" for the under-three-years-old crowd is just a fancy term for daycare, and is designed to hook parents who want to think their babies will be getting an early education instead of just care.
A while back I applied to work at a childcare center, and they were very insistent that their program be called preschool. Um... I was applying to work in the infant room! 2 months to 12 months old.The woman in charge was very careful to ask if I had experience designing a curriculum for that age group. It was all I could do to keep from laughing in her face. Like infants need a lesson plan! What ever happened to letting babies just be babies?!
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#18 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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What do you think your mom's place is dong that there are such extreme separation issues? It's so interesting that they have that problem to that extent. 2 year olds with working parents get dropped off at daycare all the time, and children that age seem plenty happy in the babysitting room at my gym. It's kind of horrifying that her school had such a consistent problem with separation.
My 2 year olds (I've had two so far) were awful at seperations. I just think some kids are, you know?
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#19 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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maybe i'm just out of touch, but i consider kindergarten what you go to when you're 5. it's your first required exploration into "what is school?" preschool is the optional thing parents send their children to at 4, maybe even 3 years old.
In my state, there is state-funded universal pre-k. What it has done in effect has lowered the start school age to 4. Kids that start kindy are expected to know the "group rules", so to speak. How to sit in a circle, stand in line, not cry for your mama, stuff like that. And, pre-k classes are increasingly academic, as well. You have to really, really hunt for one that is play based.
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#20 of 124 Old 09-18-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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We were planning on putting our 2 1/2 yr old into montessori this fall. We did think it would benefit him a lot, specifically because he is very advanced for his age and we thought that the oppourtunity to learn in that type of environment with children of different ages would only help him develop his love of learning. And the particular learning materials they have there we thought he would really take to. But, we are expecting a baby any day now and we decided not to put him into it because we dont want him to feel like he's being sent away because of the new baby, or feel like the change is in any way related. So we might put him in next year instead in the spring, or maybe in the fall. I think it would be a great chance for him to make friends too, as we don't have any playgroups where I live and I don't have a lot of friends with kids his age.
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#21 of 124 Old 09-19-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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IMO, it reallly depends on the individual child and the school they attend. Dd started preschool at 3. She loved it so much we started ds right before his second birthday at a playbased preschool - no lessons. He loves it! He does fun activities, has caring, wonderful teachers, and gets to go to school like his big sis! He had no separation issues - but I did see a few kids crying the first week. For us, it works. If he had shown any signs of not being ready, we would have waited.
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#22 of 124 Old 09-19-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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My 4-year-old isn't even in pre-school yet :-/ I am still undecided about whether I am going to homeschool or send her to school next year - and, apparently, I'm holding it off until the last minute. That being said, I want to enjoy my kids as long as possible. If she's going to start school, I want to keep her home with me until she's 5. Maybe I'm crazy though

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#23 of 124 Old 09-19-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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I'll admit I got caught up in this and started looking at "preschools" when DD was around 18 mo. I thought I had to send her, that it was what was done. When I went to tour a school, I was filled with this overwhelming feeling of, "Why do I need to send her here? I'm home with her. I do art projects with her. I read with her. We watch movies together. We dance. We sing. We go for walks. We play outside."

I left scratching my head.

The 3-4 year old room was neat. They had computers and structure. It felt and looked more what I used to think of when I thought of preschool. We are definitely waiting until at least that age to send DD.

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#24 of 124 Old 09-19-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Here Preschool starts 2 yrs prior to Kindergarten and the child must be out of diapers ( no pullups) before that it is designated as daycare.

We do preschool 2 or 3 mornings a week at 3 and 5 mornings a week at 4. They have a moms day out program that starts at 12 months but because its only one day a week it doesnt have to be licensed by the state -- im not willing to do that.

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#25 of 124 Old 09-20-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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Maybe I am completely out of touch but I have never heard of sending an 18month old to preschool and frankly the thought of leaving my 19month dd with anyone beside family that much makes me totally

I understand why some moms might want a break but why not just call it what it is, day care. I feel like they are trying to justify why it's so great for the kids when in reality its just for the mom. Because most sahm wouldn't put a child in day care, but preschool, oh that's different.

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#26 of 124 Old 09-20-2010, 06:27 PM
 
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I take DD to preschool but here it's not until 3yo. It is not for me at all. 2 hours is not a break, it's too short to do much when you have to add in travel time--and I picked a school as close as I could to our house to reduce travel time. In fact, I don't go home, I pack my laptop and work at a local coffee shop, which is nice, but not why I send her to preschool.

I was just telling DH today that I hope DD really enjoys it b/c it's expensive, it's a hassle (our days start so early.) She's well-behaved/ able to entertain herself enough now that I can get stuff done at home so I don't need her to go. We send her b/c she does get bored, she's social and she wants to play and I like that the art mess is on their turf, not mine.

Now at 18 months, I would've totally sent her. THAT is the age where I could've used some help keeping her busy and would've loved the break as she was still up a lot at night and clingy during the day. And as clingy as she was, she has always loved being out and doing things so I doubt separation anxiety would've been an issue.

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#27 of 124 Old 09-20-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by c'est moi View Post
maybe i'm just out of touch, but i consider kindergarten what you go to when you're 5. it's your first required exploration into "what is school?" preschool is the optional thing parents send their children to at 4, maybe even 3 years old. but really it's mostly just playing. anything before the age of 3 is just a care provider.

i guess i just assumed that any place that called themselves a "school" was just doing so for marketing appeal???

that's what I thought too. My coworker started sending her kid to full day preschool at 18 months. Isn't that just daycare?

However, apparently they do projects and have show and tell. from what it sounded like, his wife (sahm) was sort of pressured into the full day by the school. I was thinking... don't they get double the money for the time? How can they take the schools advice on something like that?


I do kind of agree with pp-- call it what it is. I know that this particular couple looks down on us for being a two working parent household.

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#28 of 124 Old 09-20-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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Honestly, I can't call anything before age 3 "preschool." I have no problem with people sending their kids to programs before that age, but for myself and my own kids, I wouldn't be able to call it anything but daycare before age 3.

Kinda like how I just can't bring myself to call our duplex a "paired home" or "duet."

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#29 of 124 Old 09-20-2010, 08:39 PM
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Honestly, I can't call anything before age 3 "preschool." I have no problem with people sending their kids to programs before that age, but for myself and my own kids, I wouldn't be able to call it anything but daycare before age 3.
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Anything before the age of 3 is just a care provider.

i guess i just assumed that any place that called themselves a "school" was just doing so for marketing appeal???


Well, I do agree to some extent; however, I think the label "daycare" vs. "pre-school" is also sometimes based on the qualifications of the care providers. For example, dd went to "pre-school" starting at around 18 months. It was totally play-based and could legimitately be referred to as daycare. BUT the care providers were all trained in early childhood education, some with masters degrees and teaching credentials. They ALL held at least a BA and had completed a certain number of required education courses. For that--out of respect for the caretakers' training and qualifications as teachers--I believe it was referred to as a pre-school, rather than a daycare.

Just my two cents....

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#30 of 124 Old 09-20-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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My 4-year-old isn't even in pre-school yet :-/ I am still undecided about whether I am going to homeschool or send her to school next year - and, apparently, I'm holding it off until the last minute. That being said, I want to enjoy my kids as long as possible. If she's going to start school, I want to keep her home with me until she's 5. Maybe I'm crazy though
I totally agree with you. I didn't send DD to school until last year when she started kindergarden. She did great and had no issues with me leaving her. I stay home to take care of my kids for as long as possible before they have to start school. It seems strange to me to send a 18 month old to "school". They have the rest of their lives to be in a school/work type of setting.

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