Attending Preschool at 3yrs: seeking advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-10-2010, 03:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I am a stay at home with a 3 year old boy and 6month old daughter.
My son has always been happiest when he's right there beside me and now that he's three he's as 'clingy' as ever. He has recently been accepted into the neighborhood preschool for just one morning a week.
My son is very concerned about being left at the preschool without me. He simply will not leave my side and has shown no desire for preschool.

My question is: What exactly is the purpose of preschool? Is it really necessary at the age of 3?
I am trying to decide if I should I follow through with my current arrangements or try again in 6 months when he might be a little more ready for the bigger world.

What to do?
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#2 of 12 Old 09-10-2010, 12:12 PM
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I'd try again in a few more months.

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#3 of 12 Old 09-10-2010, 12:19 PM
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For us 3 was too little, however at 3.7, omg, he cant wait to get there and he goes 4x a week no problem whatsoever.
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#4 of 12 Old 10-22-2010, 02:53 PM
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I think three IS too young...however my three year old has been in a parent participation preschool since a few months before turning 3.
What happened is here we have a program called Hi'ilani which starts from when the mother is pregnant to pre-preschool. It is one day a week for an hour and a half, and it is always with both parent and child.
I started my daughter at one, and it was great. At first they are just interested in the toys, but as they grow they advance in class along with them (they are age specific) and they start to socialize more and the toys become more for interactive play between two or more. What happened is my daughter got used to going to "school" and when she finished up there (they only go up to a class called "off to preschool") she kept asking to go to "school"
I didn't know what to do! I didn't want to put her in preschool 5 days a weeks for 7 hours! and I was not liking the preschools I was checking out. But she was sad because she missed it. I searched and searched and I came on here and someone suggested a parent participation preschool and she's there now. It's been great.
She started off with two days a week and now she is doing three and even stays for nap time. there is usually 2 teachers and one or two parents during the day and I can go with her any day I wish, so no separation anxiety. If she had not wanted to I wouldn't have forced her.
I think preschool is for the kids who like it and are ready, and it sucks when some parents just have to leave them because they have to work or just want time out. I see little sad faces that stay like that all day long for a while. Socialization, imo is so important for them, but at 3 if he is not ready (which sounds like he is not) there is other ways like play groups and such.
If you can find programs where they function as a preschool but you get to stay with him you should see how he likes it, it will probably make it easier later on when it is time for school.
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#5 of 12 Old 10-23-2010, 09:33 PM
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moving into the general Learning at School forum.

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#6 of 12 Old 10-24-2010, 03:21 AM
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The purpose of preschool, IMO, is to expose children to playing with other kids and getting along in a group, to teach them they can separate from mom/dad, and to provide activities/toys that they might not be able to get at home.

That being said, I don't think it's necessary, especially at 3. Eventually, your son will want to play with other kids and be part of group activities. It might be a year, it might be two, it might 4.

Three is very young for preschool and many 3 year olds aren't ready for it. I'd also hesitate to send a child to preschool just one day a week. That's not often enough, in my experience, for the child to become comfortable in a new setting, especially without the parents around. I like programs that are 3x a week for a couple of hours.

Are the co-op preschools near you? That might meet your needs better in a year or so.

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#7 of 12 Old 10-24-2010, 10:03 AM
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At 3, preschool would be for the kid who is constantly wanting to play with other kids and can't get that enough through other outlets.
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#8 of 12 Old 10-24-2010, 01:38 PM
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I think one morning a week is REALLY hard for young ones. It does not give them enough of a routine to feel comfortable at school; it's like everything is new each week all over again. I would choose to increase the number of mornings (maybe 3 mornings a week minimum) or cut it out completely. Both my kids went to preschool at 3 but it was Montessori and routine is extremely important; 5 days a week (half days) were expected for 3 year olds. They both love(d) preschool but my younger one had a rough 2 weeks when he first started there last year. After those first 2 weeks, though, he seemed to understand the routine and to trust his teachers and friends, and he started to run into school excited to see everyone each morning. I think it can be very beneficial for young children to have the knowledge that they can be safe and cared for by someone other than mommy... not saying it's for everyone, but that's what worked for us.
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#9 of 12 Old 10-24-2010, 09:15 PM
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I agree with the pps. From everything I've heard, one morning a week is not good for the little ones. 3 plus days is best to create a routine and comfort level with the school.

Both of my kids started preschool by 3. Ds started at 2.5, and is now almost 4. He loves it. Even asks to go when he can't due to a cold, holiday, whatever. But, if he wasn't comfortable with it, I wouldn't hesitate to pull him out and wait until the next school year.

You might want to try it, though. Some initial anxiety is normal, IME. After all, it's something new! But once they actually go and see what it's about, many 3 year olds end up loving school.

Let us know what you decide!
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#10 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 12:38 PM
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My dd did a one morning a week preschool when she was 3. It was just perfect for her. I chose that place because they let me stay with her until she was ready to stay by herself for the 3 hrs. It took me 2 weeks of staying in the building (not in the exact room) and she was comfortable. She was very clingy and sensitive. I do feel that it was enough time to get into a routine. She loved her teachers and fellow students. She knew every Wed was school day. It was perfect. (they have since closed so she doesn't go there anymore). IMO, it was just enough for a shy, sensitive 3 year old. It helped her come out of her shell quite a bit.

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#11 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 01:11 PM
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No, it is not necessary. My state does not have universal preschool, and my neighborhood has a lot of SAHMs, so a lot of ds' Kindergarten classmates had no preschool, or even daycare, experience.

Ds was a very attached momma's boy, but he was one of a very few not crying at parent drop off the first day of K .

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#12 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 09:44 PM
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I think preschool at 3 is only "necessary" for one of 3 things

--For a child with delays, EI preschool can help them, AND the parents. The teachers have *a lot* of experience and can help give ideas on how to help the child at home as well as the child getting things like OT, PT, speech through the school. I used to work with this program, and my oldest attended it from age 3. I have seen it help children so that they go to kindergarten no longer needing services and totally ready for school. I have also seen many children who will pretty much *always* have needs have a wonderful experience participating in an integrated environment...the teachers understand and accomodate their needs so much better than what I have seen in other preschools. (probably because they are people who have gone to the effort to obtain a degree in special education and *really believe* in integration and love working with *all* children. And the teacher assistants--what I was--sign on KNOWING that they will be working with children with disabilities and are working in an environment that is set up to include *all* children. Also, the staff is given training in specific areas, like working with children with autism, or adapting activities for physical disabilities, etc. etc. that people in other preschool settings don't usually get access to.
I'm coming from having worked in a daycare before that where I was informed we were not there to 'educate' a child we had with a disability, we were simply to feed, change, and other than that....nothing. Sad.)

2--Moms who work outside the home obviously need somewhere for the kids to be.

3--The child who is not happy just staying home, wants to be around other children and can't get this need met in another way.

Otherwise, I think it's perfectly fine for a child to stay home. My DD is 3 and did not get into preschool yet this year, she will be 4 in January. She does ask to go but mostly I think because she has a brother in school--and she remembers her visits to his preschool. As long as I take her regularly to play with other kids, she seems happy enough. And *I* am perfectly fine to have her home. She has a full year next year before she will go to kindergarten, and now that I have seen DS's K especially, I realize there is really NO need for 2 years of preschool.

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