Is preschool anti-AP? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 02-09-2003, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I sort of fell into AP by necessity although I do have granola roots being a California girl . I bf'd and my ds wanted to nurse every 1&1/2 hrs and I truthfully didn't want to put him down most of the time. Co-sleeping went naturally with the bf'ing. Not circin'g seemed the only logical decision to make, why put him through all of that pain? Anyway, most of my mainstream friends have put their kids into preschool as of age 2 so they could get a break. I am really enjoying spending time with my ds now that he is 3, we belong to several playgroups and moms clubs. My dh is pressuring me to put him into preschool so "we can get a break." I guess I would like for him to go two mornings a week so I could exercise or catch up with dr's appts and get my hair done. Ds doesn't want to go though, he is soooo very attached preschool has no appeal to him. We joined a healthclub last year (age 2) and ended up quitting because the childcare attendants didn't want us to stay with our ds in the kids room. We refused to leave him to "cry it out" as they suggested so he would learn that we always come back to get him. Did any of you put your children in preschool? At what age will they enjoy going? How do you take care of yourself in the meantime (dr's appt's, hair appt's, exercise or "me" time?) We don't have any extended family here to help us.
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#2 of 18 Old 02-09-2003, 11:51 AM
 
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I don't think pre-school is anti-AP - all things depend on the child.

I work part-time, and dh has the girls most of the time I'm gone. But we do have them in a nursery one afternoon a week. That was a necessity, and both girls adjusted really well...there was sometimes some reluctance for us to leave, but it was generally possible to plan ahead so one of us could stay that little bit longer with them until they settled in.

My oldest dd is now in the pre-school attached to this nursery, so she's with the same kids she's been with for the past year. She's signed up for 4 days a week, and I generally leave it up to her which days she goes (other than the one day her dad and I are both working...then she does have to go, but that's never been a problem).

Anyway - she's generally there every day, unless we've made plans to meet with a friend or something. She's 40 months old (almost), so not quite 3 1/2 years, and she really enjoys pre-school now. She's often quite quiet when we arrive (although never reluctant for us to leave), but when we pick her up, she's running around and having fun with the rest of the kids.

It's all very individual. I don't have any playgroups for kids dd1's age locally, so for her, preschool is a great way to meet and play with other kids. If you have those playgroups, perhaps preschool isn't so much a 'need' for your ds.

That said, if you would like him to go, it might be worth trying out. Any child is going to be reluctant to go to a new place with new people at first. I would try finding one that would let you stay for the first few days, just to let him settle in with you there. I know a friend of mine did that with her little girl, and by the end of the first hour of the first day, the little girl told her Mommy she could leave now!
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#3 of 18 Old 02-09-2003, 12:54 PM
 
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Hi....I understand how you feel!

*I* disagree with pre-school! Placing a bunch of socially inept kids together in order to learn social skills doesn't make any sense. Placing a young child in pre-school in order to learn doesn't make any sense either....they will learn much more at home! And using it as a way to teach them that *the parents will come back to get them* is in my opinion just plain cruel!!!! I have seen it done to children and just for that fact it isn't very AP. How the children are treated in preschool, IMO, is not very AP either, kwim?

We also don't use babysitters and we don't have family really to help us (for day-to-day things). For doctors appointments I bring the kids with me...and dh will come if he can....for hair appointments...I don't make them....I just get my hair cut whenever I can drop in (with my kids and dh) and as for "me" time.....I try to get that as much as possible when my children are asleep....and my dh spends alot of time with them after work and on weekends so I use that time to myself when I can too.

We also homeschool....so unlike my friends I don't get that time to myself either....so I do understand your frustration.

I'm not saying preschool is *bad*....it's just not for me or my kids, kwim?

Your ds will let you know what the right thing to do is...just follow his lead and you can't go wrong!!!
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#4 of 18 Old 02-09-2003, 02:01 PM
 
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I think AP is about being tuned into your child's needs. My oldest son loved preschool -- it was for *him* though and not for me. I tended to wait around at the preschool with my nose pressed to the window until I could have him back again! But he thrived there.

My youngest may not go until he is older than my oldest was. He is just a different sort of kid with different needs. KWIM?

You might try a regular playdate for "me time." I swap kids with a friend, and so have every Thursday morning to myself. I'm about to set up a 2nd day with another friend so that I will have a morning a week "off." He likes being with another child, and he is growing attached to the other mommies too. It is very differen than preschool, but gives him ample opportunity to play with peers and broaden his range of adult resource people.
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#5 of 18 Old 02-12-2003, 01:49 PM
 
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I second the babysitting exhange idea. We have done that for a long time, and it is nice to have a morning a week for things that are easier done without children (like naps! ), and my kids always really enjoyed such play dates.

Another thought is, if you want your child to go to a preschool, try to find one that jives with your philosophy. We have several options in our area. If you go to church, see if the church offers a preschool. Our town has a co-operative preschool that is staffed by one teacher and the rest are parent volunteers. For your child to got here, the parent *must* volunteer a certain amount of time each week.

My children always went to the preschool offered by the local arts center. It is a totally cool arts based preschool. No reading or writing....plenty of clay, painting, dancing, collages, stories, everything. They offer several sessions--my daughter goes three days a week for 2 1/2 hours a time. You can sign your child up for a once a week, 2 hour session, or they can go 2, 3, or 5 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. Also, for kids who aren't ready to leave their parents, they have Saturday morning parent-child classes that are an hour long. We did this with our first child for the semester before preschool--she LOVED it, and frankly, so did we. So much cool messy stuff to do, and *I* wasn't responsible for the cleanup!!! Each semester the art center has an "artist in residence" where the artist gives classes for adults, has an exhibit or show, has free studio space, etc...but part of the deal is that they come in and teach their craft to the little ones. Once it was a dancer, another time it was a percussionist, once it was a storyteller, and once it was a sculptor. The kids just love it!

I think that preschool can be a miserable experience, or it can be a very rewarding one. My children always loved their preschool. And, since there was not curriculum, I never felt bad only taking them for part of the time, or keeping them home if there was something else that we had planned for the day--it was never a big deal. I am just so thankful I found such a cool place for my children to play!

I hope you find some arrangement that works for your family!
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#6 of 18 Old 02-12-2003, 04:13 PM
 
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Having begun research into homeschooling I can definitely understand why some parents would feel that pre-school is not the best thing for their child. however, I personally don't consider this an issue that falls under the umbrella of AP. I don't think where you send your children to school (or not, if you unschool) is part of the AP philosophy.

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#7 of 18 Old 02-12-2003, 04:40 PM
 
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We opted out of preschool for many of the same reasons that we AP. The only people I know who don't send their kids to preschool either are APing or are planning on homeschooling (or both!).

But I also know several wonderful AP families that send their kids to preschool. Different things are right for different families. The only thing that really matters is that you do what it best for your child and for yourself.

I exercise before my kids get up, leave them with a friend for Dr's appts., and get my hair cut on Saturdays (have to make the appointment WAY in advance.)

Having time to myself is on going issue. Here is an ariticle that really helped me :
http://continuum-concept.org/reading/whosInControl.html
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#8 of 18 Old 02-12-2003, 05:55 PM
 
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I live in the same town as lorijds, and have heard WONDERFUL things about the art-based preschool she mentioned. My DS isn't quite old enough yet to consider preschool, but I thought I would share what a bunch of my friends are doing.

We are part of an AP playgroup. The moms with kids old enough have formed a preschool co-op. They are broken up into groups of 3 kids. The moms rotate who teaches each week (they meet 2 times a week) and whose house they meet at. A second mom is the helper for each session. The third mom has the morning off, and they rotate through these 3 positions.

I think this sounds like a superb system for moms who can get involved in this type of setup.

Lisa
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#9 of 18 Old 02-12-2003, 06:29 PM
 
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I suggested the playgroup co-op preschool idea to my playgroup and they all basicly looked at me like I had 3 heads I thought it was such a FABLOUS idea! Now this is the month that you have to sign up for preschool for the upcoming fall - and I am not sure what I want to do. Part of me really *needs* a break - please don't flame me for saying that - but I really do, I have felt on the edge of a breakdown for the past several months, and I know that it is not *normal*. That said, if I feel that ds is not ready then I simply will not send him - or if I do and he hates it I will take him out - I certenitly don't think he *needs* preschool - but I don't think it would hurt him either - and in fact he may love it! The way I see it it is only 5 hours a week - which could equal a nice break for mom and a good time to play for ds - if it dosen't turn out that way then we won't do it. Also, I do not see pre-school as a way for my child to 'learn' - I see it a mearly a time to interact with other kids. I 'teach' my son at home and have started a loose montessori type atmosphere for him (and dd!) so I am not looking for any 'educational' value in preschool. I LOVE the idea of an art based pre-school - I would JUMP on the chance to sign up ds for that (if he wanted to go!)

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#10 of 18 Old 02-12-2003, 09:48 PM
 
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We waited until my ds was four before sending him to preschool. We prepared him by sending him to vacation bible school last summer since it was at the same school that he would be going to. He goes to Catholic preschool and will go there for kindergarten next year. He absolutely hated vacation bible school when I took him, and he cried when I left, but he stopped as soon as I was gone. I made sure with the teachers that he enjoyed himself after I left.

I was nervous when preschool began but when we got there the first day he saw all the other kids and saw that he could paint -- his favorite activity -- and he jumped right in. It was actually my two year old that cried -- because he couldn't stay. He loves his preschool and talks everyday about how he can't wait until next year when he goes to kindergarten and will get to stay all day.

He was never left with a babysitter other than our friends with kids the same age, and very occasionally, a grandparent but that was rare since they don't live close.

I think that a lot depends on your child's temperment. I don't think that putting your child in preschool means that you are doing something non-AP. Eventually, our children will have to venture out on their own. By raising them AP we give them the foundation to deal with the experiences when they come, whether this be preschool or college. Being attached will someday make it easier to separate.

We have had a great experience, but we were prepared to pull him out if he wasn't flourishing. Let your child be your guide
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#11 of 18 Old 02-13-2003, 12:44 AM
 
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We aren't "doing" preschool either. My son will be 4 in Mar and he really doesn't want to go. He is very lonely for other kids. But, doesn't want to be away from me. But, I try to meet that need in other ways, lots of trips to the playground and we found an AP group for playgroups and playdates. I have some kind of AP friends, at least they started out that way, who are doing preschool and who are planning to homeschool. That didn't make much since to me. But, to each his own. I do worry that he isn't with other kids much and he will be an only child. He is so friendly and outgoing, any time we pass another kid, He always says "hi, what's your name?" So, I hope occasional playdates are enough. We plan on homeschool also. As for time for me, my Nurture by Nature group is starting to form a babysitting co-op. I think that would be nice, playdate for him and a little me time. I don't need much, but I do need some!
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#12 of 18 Old 02-13-2003, 10:06 AM
 
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For us, it's great. My 2 year old goes 3 days a week. He LOVES it. He is a super social kid and he loves the structured activity. He cries when I pick him up. He's happy to see me, but he wants me to stay and play, he doesn't wanna go. He comes out says hi, then runs right back into the play room. i think depending on your child's temperment, it can be great. My son gets REALLY crabby if he only sees his parents all week. He loves visiting and being with other people.

Carla
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#13 of 18 Old 02-14-2003, 01:14 AM
 
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Rather than sending our children to preschool, I would prefer to see our friends at the park or on the toboggan hill. I have super-social children and if we waited at the park for friends to come along and play, we'd never see anyone. The children who live next door don't go outside for days at a time. The children across the street only go outside to get in their minivans to go to activities. We issue invitations for skating parties on our backyard rink and nobody wants to go out in the cold. In the summer we make lemonade and set up the sprinkler and play by ourselves. We spend hours outdoors on our own. The fact is that in our community, the kids all go to preschool, so I visited a few and found a play-based one that, as the director said to me, "is all about social stuff." It isn't my ideal, but it works, so I go with it.

What I am trying to say is that a lot depends on your community.
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#14 of 18 Old 02-14-2003, 07:18 PM
 
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<<Part of me really *needs* a break - please don't flame me for saying that - but I really do, I have felt on the edge of a breakdown for the past several months, and I know that it is not *normal*. >>

Do whatever you need to to take care of yourself. Next fall is a long way off -- is there a way for you to get a bit of a break in the meantime? Sometimes I leave my kids with my DH and go out for a bit on Saturday or Sunday and just hang out at the bookstore and have a cup of coffee. It is amazing what 2 hours of peace and quiet can do for me I've also started going out once a month with a friend to eat dinner or see a movie.

I think it is OK to take a break from your child(ren) at home as long as you know that they are safe. One day, I parked my kids in front of the TV and took a bubble bath. I know it isn't perfect parenting BUT it was much better than falling apart at them

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
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#15 of 18 Old 02-14-2003, 07:37 PM
 
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It definitely depends on the school. I don't see preschool as an AP issue - because I don't believe being an attached parent necessarily means that you never spend any regular time away from your children. I think one of the reasons my dd separates so well at preschool (and anywhere else) is BECAUSE of AP.

The teachers at dd's school interact with the children in the same way that I do. They are gentle, attentive, and sensitive to individual needs and differences. They do not use time-outs and encourage the children to work out their difficulties with kind words. The activites at her school are very wholesome and well-rounded - there is no "academic curriculum," rather, there is a lot of art and cooking and reading of stories and planting seeds and singing and dancing and observing nature. They serve organic juice at snacktime, and it is a parent co-op, so each day a parent comes in to help and brings a healthy snack.

I'm thrilled with how the school has helped dd grow. Do I think she NEEDS to go there, that she couldn't thrive at home? No, I do not believe that - but I am thankful that I have such a wonderful program available in my area and that she enjoys it so much. And as far as getting a break for myself - I absolutely need that - without it, I wouldn't be able to be as patient and attentive as I strive to be each day!
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#16 of 18 Old 02-14-2003, 08:18 PM
 
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I too have been known to park ds in front of a video on more than one occasion, or I put on a computer game I know he loves. I started my own business and it takes some of each day, add that to a little me time and he does watch some tv each day, some days more than others. I often feel guilty, but have decided that it is better than him going to daycare. He wants to be at home, I am careful about what he watches and I am doing the best that I can. I try not to feel guilty, but sometimes I still do. I thought about preschool so I could work during those times, but the hours would be the same as the hours dh is home, in the morning, so it doesn't work out. Besides he really doesn't seem to want to go.

A happy mom is a better mom!
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#17 of 18 Old 02-16-2003, 08:23 PM
 
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DS was a late talker and "They" wanted to put him into public preschool. After visiting I turned it down, mainly because I didn't like the 'style' of the way they kind of forced the kids to do things, to participate, etc., at such a young age (3). So in that sense, I felt it was anti-AP. Other schools are the same way, but some are not.

For me right now, I won't send ds to school until next fall (one year before kinder) and even then, I'm not sure how it will work out. I'm kind of struggling right now to try to find a balance between his fear and resistance to preschool (he's shy and socially 'immature' I guess some would say) and then also trying not to 'over' protect him, and possibly make his shyness even worse. My hope is to find a preschool where I can stick around/help out for the first few weeks until he's really acclimated. Then, gradually stop going.

I'm so torn about the whole subject of trying to push academics early so he's not 'behind' and just letting him be, follow his lead until he's older (he's almost 4 now) and then the whole social thing, too. He's VERY much a home body.

I'm rambling... I guess the bottom line as far as the OP question is that IMO, it's A-Okay if the child is happy, but I don't agree in sending a 2 or 3 year old child, especially, who is crying when mom leaves and just really doesn't want to go.
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#18 of 18 Old 02-17-2003, 01:37 PM
 
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Please watch out for any dogmatic scheme of parenting (or anything else for that matter.) The most important thing is not that your practice AP, but that you realize what is unique to your family, your self, and your kids. A mom who stays home with her child out of obligation but denies her needs for space, to build her career, etc. can grow bored, unfillfilled, or exhausted while trying to do her duty. A child who has real quality time with parents who also work (and has a nuturing school/care environment at other times) will be far better off, in my opinion, than one who's parents are depleted or lacking. If a family cannot meet the stimulation needs of a highly active or highly social child, by all means check out other avenues.

You can always give it a go and you'll know how your child is thriving. If you love staying home with your children than do that. But you have to love it. That's at the heart of parenting well, loving it. If it's missing, do what you need to do to love yourself first.

Every family is unique, every person unique...who are we to judge another's choices? AP should not become a priority over respecting each's uniqueness.
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