Talk to me about pre-school - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 3, will turn 4 in September and at that point, will still have 2 full years at home with me before she will start kindergarten.  My question is "Do I send her to pre-school this coming Sept or do I wait an extra year?"  Our regular playgroup is slowly desolving as the parents are starting to send their little ones to pre-school.  I am really the only one who isn't positive that 2 years of pre-school is necessary.  I will definitely send her for one so that kindergarten doesn't completely overwhelm her (its a full day in our town).  I'm just wondering what people think about this, especially others who have children that miss the kindergarten cut-off date by just days.

 

Here are my thoughts:

DD loves being with other kids and I think it will be hard to find other kids her age to play with regularly next year because it seems like all 4 year olds get sent to pre-school.

Every parent I meet who sends their child to school says their child loves it and has really thrived there.  I feel this would be the case for DD too.

 

On the other hand, I feel like DD will only be little once and once she's in school-that's it.  It's school for many years and then work!   Also, if she is in pre-school, I don't think she would be able to do anything else (like the weekly gymnastics class she takes now or the swim lessons that she is begging me to sign her up for).

 

If it matters, I am a mostly SAHM (I work between 4-8 hours a week).

 

Looking forward to hearing other parent's thoughts about this topic!


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#2 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 10:33 AM
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We chose a play based co-op preschool that required a lot of parent involvement. My DD loves it. It's play based so it doesn't take away from my DDs play time. It's a co op so it's less expensive and I know the teachers, kids and other parents really well. The classes are 2.3 hours 3 times a week so there is plenty of time for other activities. DD is going for two years. She has a Nov. birthday so she was almost 4 when she started. If you have any good play based preschools that allow parent to be in the class room, I'd go ahead and send you DD for 2 years of preschool.

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#3 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaluvs View Post

  I am really the only one who isn't positive that 2 years of pre-school is necessary.   

 Well, it's not necessary. But, for my 2 kids, it has been a great experience. I chose non-academic/play based preschools - thinking, like you do, that's there's plenty of work and school in their futures. Both of my kids have LOVED preschool. They do fun crafts, learn alot socially, sing songs and just generally do activities that I wouldn't do with them at home. Currently, ds, just turned 4, attends a small preschool 5 mornings a week. He looks forward to going, and, has a great time. They have an awesome outdoor space and he always comes home singing some cute rhyme/song carrying an neat art project. It's not necessary, but, for us, it's been something I'm really glad my kids have gotten to experience. Personally, I would trade it for once a week gymnastics, etc. However, if they had shown any resistance, forget it. But, for us, that hasn't been the case.

 

ETA: Just read the above post. I do not attend with ds, but, for us that hasn't been an issue. And his school is very small, run by loving grandmotherly types, and inexpensive. Why don't you check out your local options? That might help you make a decision.

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#4 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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We started part-time preschool (8-12, 3x per week) when both of my girls were 3.  It has been a great experience for us, and we've loved our preschool experience.  Their "preschool" is actually an in-home daycare that follows a preschool curriculum in addition to taking weekly field trips, etc. It's a small group of kids, and we are able to be very involved.


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#5 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Same boat last year with DD2, I never did preschool with DD1 and it was fine. I wanted to have some more time to work so I elected to send her. Amazing little free-play school but she wasn't ready so I pulled her out. We will try again this fall I suppose but I am won't push it if she doesn't want to go again. And actually it was a huge sigh of relief when we dropped it, we do have fun just hanging out a home and doing other things. 

 

So I guess my advice is if you want to then try it, but if you don't, I also see nothing wrong in keeping her home. I feel there are so many years for school despite how fun the school may be. 


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#6 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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Both my kids did 2 years of preschool.  But, I work full time and they went to a very nice, very small daycare/preschool.  So it was just another part of their day.  And they've both done extremely well with it.  If I was sahm, it would depend on the kid.  Unless you get a super strict, full day preschool, I don't think it hurts most kids to go if they enjoy it.

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#7 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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Preschool is fun and it is only 5 hours a week.  I'm all for it!


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#8 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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My son loved his art/play based preschool and that is where he met his BF and I met one of my now closest friend. I don't think any child "needs" preschool (nor 2 years of it) but it sure was a lot of fun!


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#9 of 15 Old 01-10-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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Preschool is fabulous as far as I'm concerned. Our 4 yr old preschool program is only three days a week for 4 hrs, which leaves plenty of time for any other extra things-play dates, lessons etc. Its a lot of fun. There is very little that's structured, she's not forced to do something she doesn't want to do. If she doesn't want to do the letter workshop that day, she doesn't have to. She's gently encouraged to do so, esp if that's something she skipped last time, but its never a forced issue. There's a lot of free play time and what is structured is mainly group events like music class. She comes home happy, showing off cute little projects and singing fun songs I know she would never have learned otherwise. She's also learned a lot socially and made quite a few friends. I like the fact that she's doing fun crafts and art projects, learning songs and dances that I know she would not be learning or doing at home. She is also learning the building blocks of reading, writing and math that in all honesty, I just don't have the patience to sit down with her and do. I've tried, it didn't work. She will have been in preschool for two years by the time she starts kindergarten.

 

I say if you think she's ready and will enjoy it, go for it.

 


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#10 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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With my DD1, I put her in part-time preschool for two years. With the twins this time, we're waiting the extra year, and only doing one year of part-time preschool. For us, the decision was all about what felt right for each kid-- when DD1 was three, I was at home with infant twins. I was housebound a lot of time, because of their needs, and DD1 didn't have many opportunities for making friends, which she DESPERATELY wanted to do. Also, she struggled with a lot of social development and emotional development issues, and it was so comforting to have other adults who cared for her and were involved in looking for solutions. I was overextended and badly needed some support, and the preschool was great for that.

With the twins, they have each other, and also I'm not tied down by a younger child anymore, so we have more chances to get out and do things and meet people. They do gymnastics, and DD is in dance, and they go to Sunday School, and preschool for two years to me seemed expensive and unnecessary. We are going to do a pre-K program, for 7 1/2 hours a week next year, though. Mostly because they really want to-- their older sister is in school, and they really want to "do school" too. It's a small church-based school, very casual and caring.

I've gotten some criticism for "keeping them home" this year. Most of the three year olds around here seem to be in some kind of preschool. But they're my last babies, and I really am cherishing this last year home with them full-time.

My position on preschool is that a good preschool programs can be awesome, but it's not necessary, and especially two years is not necessary. It's really all about your individual situation and preferences and about the child's needs.

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#11 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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Different families are different, and we each have to do what works for our families.

 

DH and DS both needed more structure and more socialization in their days together.  DS is another September baby, but we started him with 2 half-days / week of preschool when he was 2.5.  I chose a Montessori school because I want DS to do the work he likes.  I do not want to push him into academics early, but I do want the opportunities to be there as he develops interest.  He had already been obsessed with learning to write, before he ever started preschool.  He switched over to wanting to draw for a while, but now he's trying to write again.

 

Just after his 3rd birthday, we increasedto 2 full days of preschool per week.  On his three days off, he had a one-hour class each day.  Science, music, and gymnastics.  All very preschool-oriented, so that he had fun.

 

At some point next summer/fall (around 4 years old, his second year), I plan to increase DS to 3 full days of preschool per week.  When he's 5, we can increase to 4 or 5 days of preschool.  I'm not sure what that'll do to his extracurriculars, a lot depends on what he is having fun with and wants to focus on.  He's also obsessed with basketball, so we'll probably get him into his-age YMCA sports leagues as he qualifies.


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#12 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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Ds and I did a play-based parent participation preschool and it was a great experience. Three days a week (one day for me), 3 hours at a time.  It was fun for both of us and honestly, I learned a lot about dealing with preschoolers, and the value of providing routines, structure and a schedule.  If such a preschool is available to you I highly recommend you check it out.


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#13 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input!  I will be taking all these posts into consideration  during the next few weeks.


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#14 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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Preschool is awesome.  Fun for the kids and a great break for the parents.  What's not to love?  :)


DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#15 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post

We chose a play based co-op preschool that required a lot of parent involvement. My DD loves it. It's play based so it doesn't take away from my DDs play time. It's a co op so it's less expensive and I know the teachers, kids and other parents really well. The classes are 2.3 hours 3 times a week so there is plenty of time for other activities. DD is going for two years. She has a Nov. birthday so she was almost 4 when she started. If you have any good play based preschools that allow parent to be in the class room, I'd go ahead and send you DD for 2 years of preschool.


We chose a co-op like this, too, although ours is 5 days a week. Attendence isn't mandatory, so there is no pressure about how many days they need to be there. I love the co-op environment, very community oriented, you know all the families (not just kids) and we've become close with several families there. DD is thriving, it is giving her WAY more than I could have ever provided keeping her home. It's really helping her blossom, too, because she's shy. But now she can stand up in front of the class and do a report, and is so proud of herself. We've had many tears on Saturdays when she realizes it's the weekend. She loves the fact that I work there once a week, and that I can come and stay with her any day I want, and no one blinks twice.

It certainly has never stopped us from going on outings and taking classes. In fact, DD took both swimming and ballet in the fall and is now in gymnastics. Last year I kept her home all the time to go to museums or the zoo or have playdates. The teacher actually encourages that sort of thing (like playdates with other students, even if it's during school hours) because she understands that at this age, that is really important too. And because it's a co-op, the tuition is way lower so I don't mind missing days. Some co-ops are only 2 or 3 days, so you'd have days off to have outings, classes, and playdates.

Don't rule out preschool next year until you've looked into it with her. Go visit the ones in your area, look at regular ones and co-ops, see what you think.
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