Leaving your 3-4 year old crying at preschool - Isn't it the same as Crying It Out? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My younger daughter's preschool gave me an info pack, and in it is a note about how some kids cry when they're dropped off at preschool, even for a few weeks every morning. They said not to worry about it or stay because of it. I don't know how I'd feel about that if my child cried when I dropped her off. I think I'd feel like I was leaving her to Cry It Out (CIO) if I left and she was like that.

What are your thoughts?
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#2 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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I suppose it depends on the response from the preschool teachers and assistants. IMO, it isn't CIO if there is a compassionate, caring adult tending to the crying child. If the child is left sobbing alone and uncomforted, that's different. How staff handle distressed children and separation anxiety are good questions to ask when researching and visiting preschools. 

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#3 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 12:33 PM
 
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for my dd's personality yes it was CIO. there were compassionate adults but she did not want them. she wanted her mommy or daddy. this was daycare and we did not have a choice. 

 

what was hard was after 2 years of this she stopped crying. but then she told me just coz i dont cry mom doesnt mean i'm not sad. i am always sad but sometimes i can divert my mind and be happy at times crap.gif thankfully after 2 years she went part time. but she still did not want to go. my stubborn child.  

 

however having said that not all children are the same right? some were just criers at the momentary separation. i worked for that ps/dc for a while and discovered some kids cried but the moment the parents disappeared they happily went off to play. and then they did not want to go home :eyesroll

 

some kids need a little pushing. dd's friend was that way. the mom KNEW he would love that ps IF he could separate. so she brought him crying. all it took was the first week. after that he would cry if she kept him home on a ps day. 


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#4 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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I don't think that preschool are daycare are the same thing.

 

I don't think that leaving my child with another caring adult is leaving them to cry it out.

 

I don't think that an infant is the same as a 3 year old.

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 04:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

I don't think that an infant is the same as a 3 year old.

 

I started to write something about this in my first reply and then deleted it. I'm still mulling it over. 

 

Last month, DD helped out as a junior counsellor at a day camp at the zoo for a week. Most of her stories about the campers were hilarious but there was one sad little 4 y.o boy who frequently cried for his mom and dad. DD spent a lot of time comforting him. One day, she was trying to distract him and get him to focus on happy things. She asked him "What was the best thing about zoo camp yesterday?"

 

His answer: "When Daddy picked me up at the end of the day!" :-(

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#6 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 05:03 PM
 
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It really depends. I taught preschool for several years. There are different cases. There are some that cry when mom is present but immediately turn to smiles when she's turned the corner. These kids are happy and engaged in school but they simply want mom there... They don't need mom there. It's not a nasty manipulation but a manipulation none-the-less. Not a good idea to stay in these cases. trust the teachers when they say your child turns around emotionally quickly. Then you have others who are truly fearful and insecure. Having mom stay the first week or so can ease the transition greatly. Giving them a picture of family to carry around when mom leaves helps. Eventually, they start losing their picture and you know they are feeling good about being there. These are the kids who will cry for hours and will reject comfort from teachers for weeks or months. The trick is, figuring out which category your hold falls under. I will say that not that many kids cry though. We only ever had 1 or 2 per class a year.

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#7 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 05:13 PM
 
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My outgoing social butterfly dd1 was happy to run off into preschool without a second thought about me, but would often cry when I would come to pick her up, because she didnt want to leave :/
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#8 of 95 Old 09-05-2013, 08:36 PM
 
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A lot of kids cry at drop off time right at first, it is a big transition and the teachers help them through it. You might think you are helping your child by putting off leaving but I've only seen it make things worse because each time the parent says they are leaving the child escalates and the parent typically realizes they will have to accept that only after their child is past a point of being easily consoled. It doesn't matter how long you stay but saying goodbye only when you mean it is very important for your child's transition. If you don't trust that your child will be comforted when she cries then you should choose another preschool.
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#9 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 08:08 AM
 
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As a preschool teacher I have held many a crying child.  That's not CIO.  It's not CIO if your baby is crying in a parent's arms because they want the other parent.  It's not CIO if the baby is being held by a babysitter put still wants a parent. Its not CIO if *you* are holding your baby and they are still upset.

 

At the school where I worked we would usually establish a time limit with new families.  How long is too long for *your* kid to be upset?  Some families said, "don't call unless it is an emergency I need this childcare" and others said, "if they are still crying in 10 mins call me and I"ll come back."  Usually we would be able to send a quick text to a parent after 5 mins stating that the child had moved on and was no longer crying.  However, we would also call if a child seemed "off."  We spent a lot of time with the kids and we were often the first to notice sickness coming on or ongoing emotional upset and would call parents to suggest an early pick up.

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#10 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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A lot of kids cry at drop off time right at first, it is a big transition and the teachers help them through it. You might think you are helping your child by putting off leaving but I've only seen it make things worse because each time the parent says they are leaving the child escalates and the parent typically realizes they will have to accept that only after their child is past a point of being easily consoled. It doesn't matter how long you stay but saying goodbye only when you mean it is very important for your child's transition. If you don't trust that your child will be comforted when she cries then you should choose another preschool.

 

This is really spot on. Parents that say they are leaving, and then don't, or drag it out, do their kids no favors. It makes it worse for the kid. Be consistent. Give a hug and kiss and say good bye and then go. It is not CIO, by a long shot, as long as a caring person is there to hold and comfort your child. I'd work out a plan with the day care and then stick to it. In our case I said goodbye and left, but the first 3 days I was really upstairs, in a closed room. This way if my kid was still bawling their eyes out they could quickly come up and get me. I also started slow. My kids started the first few days with only 1-2 hours, and then we increased the time. This made it much less overwhelming. Kids also vary a lot. My DS was fine after a week, my DD took a month to now howl when I left. 

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#11 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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This is really spot on. Parents that say they are leaving, and then don't, or drag it out, do their kids no favors. It makes it worse for the kid. Be consistent. Give a hug and kiss and say good bye and then go. It is not CIO, by a long shot, as long as a caring person is there to hold and comfort your child. I'd work out a plan with the day care and then stick to it. In our case I said goodbye and left, but the first 3 days I was really upstairs, in a closed room. This way if my kid was still bawling their eyes out they could quickly come up and get me. I also started slow. My kids started the first few days with only 1-2 hours, and then we increased the time. This made it much less overwhelming. Kids also vary a lot. My DS was fine after a week, my DD took a month to now howl when I left. 

Yep, don't drag it out. Give the hug or kiss, say goodbye and go.

I work at preschool with 20 month olds. A lot of the time, the tears are just temporary. The minute the parent is out of sight, the child will stop crying, wriggle and squirm to get down out of my arms and go play.
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#12 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 03:00 PM
 
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Oh, definitely, it's heartbreaking, but dragging it out makes it worse. I have two polar opposite kids - DS1 I could drop off at 2 years 7 months; he went running off and didn't want to leave when I came to pick him up three hours later. DS2 is shy and clingy, and even though he loves preschool, he clings and cries when I drop him off. I know to some degree he really feels it, but I think there's also an element of habit to it. The teacher says he stop crying right away and gets into the crafts, which I totally believe. And it's definitely not CIO in my eyes when you have a caring teacher who knows what she's doing.

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#13 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 03:16 PM
 
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As a preschool teacher I have held many a crying child.  That's not CIO.  It's not CIO if your baby is crying in a parent's arms because they want the other parent.  It's not CIO if the baby is being held by a babysitter put still wants a parent. Its not CIO if *you* are holding your baby and they are still upset.

:yeah

 

CIO is letting them cry in order to "teach" them something, mostly to self-soothe. CIO is when an adult is available and ABLE to soothe, but chooses not to.

 

I don't mind if my kids cry. Crying is ok. We all need a good cry sometimes. I remember when ds was 2 and was crying for some reason that I forgot; I asked him if he wanted a hug. He told me: No, I just want to cry.

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#14 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 04:15 PM
 
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I definitely think there is a major difference between an infant and a 3 yr old. The main difference??Something called "object permanence" from child development research. A baby who has not achieved object permanence believes his/her mother to be GONE when he cannot see her. Literally, gone.  After a time, the baby achieves the developmental milestone known as object permanence. When mommy is not in my sight, she still EXISTS!! Hooray!  So any baby that has achieved object permanence is in a better position to be separated and reunited with mom.

 

 

You can explain things to a 3 yr old. A 3 yr old knows you are coming back. A 3 yr old can be told, "this is  your teacher and you will be with her for the next ## hours. I will be back at lunchtime. See you then!"  Too often, we don't want our children to experience any discomfort, any sadness, any disappointment. But this is how they learn to be stronger individuals. We all learn by doing something that felt a little hard, and then finding we were o.k. with it; that we actually liked it. Most 3 yr old children do get a little clingy when starting preschool, but with the help of a caring teacher, they do fine and do adjust to their preschool environment.

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#15 of 95 Old 09-07-2013, 07:39 PM
 
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i think a 3 year old can also act like an infant under certain circumstances. esp. if they have anxiety. intellectually they know doesnt mean emotionally they can accept it.

 

looking back dd talks about ps/dc as so much fun as well as a place which contains so much sadness. even to this day she still remembers all those years of sadness. 

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#16 of 95 Old 09-08-2013, 05:13 AM
 
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I agree they can act that way. And Separation Anxiety Disorder is a very real thing for some children.

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#17 of 95 Old 09-08-2013, 10:02 PM
 
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When my daughter went to school for the first, I stayed until her classes ended. I wanted to avoid letting her cry when I'm not around. I stayed with her in school for three weeks, I guess. And then, I slowly told her that I would just stay thrice a week. Eventually, as time passes by, she is already used to the idea that I will be just around to pick her up :)!

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#18 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 03:45 AM
 
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If I understand, is there no familiarization phase in preschool in the States? I do feel the parents should stay at least for the first week while the child at least gets used to the environment and all the new faces. Here, typical is two weeks, and during this time, children usually tend to pick out a favorite caretaker and the parent progressively leaves for longer periods. I felt a bit anxious leaving her but I could see the caretakers held and comforted those kids that had a hard time separating.  I'd ask specifically how do they handle a crying child.

 

DD is like some other posters mentioned here, she does not want me to leave (she does not cry - anymore) but when I come to pick her up, she does not want to go home. Actually, she threw an embarrassingly loud tantrum the first two days I came to pick her up shrug.gif.


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#19 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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If a child is showing signs of being distressed at being left for the first time, then I think a familiar caregiver should be encouraged to stay with them until they show signs of forming a bond with a new caregiver. Even if a caregiver is kind, loving and responsive, they are still a stranger at first. I realize that this approach isn't always realistic for parents or for daycares/preschools, but I think it would be a more gentle transition for some children.
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#20 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 04:22 PM
 
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Some of these answers make me weep, especially in this forum. I would never leave my child somewhere they were scared or uncomfortable. I certainly wouldn't leave them with care takers that thought is was not okay for me to be there if he was having trouble transitioning. I get that all kids are different and that some will be sad at the moment of separation but then enjoy the rest of day and they might benefit from not having a parent stick around for too long. However, allowing a child to transition to a new environment with help from a parent should be encouraged for those kids that need it and any school that doesn't recognize the fact that different kids have different needs and is making these types of blanket statements is no where I would trust my kids being.

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#21 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 05:31 PM
 
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DD started preschool/daycare last year a little while after she turned 3. Initially I wasn't sure it was a great idea but she's so social and loved it so much when we went to visit I figured it would be good for her. The first few months were great, then I guess the excitement wore off and she started crying when we took her in to drop her off. I think part of it had to do with dropping her off early before most of the kids and other teachers showed up. I did keep her home some days because I felt bad, but sometimes I had no choice but to take her and when I picked her up she always had exciting stories to tell about the day and sometimes she didn't want to leave. When I started working part time later in the year she cried a couple times but DH said that she would immediately get distracted with something else. 

 

She stopped school in December and had been practically begging to go back so we signed her up at an actual preschool for fall. Now that it has been a year the experience is much different. She's always excited to go to school and never worries about us leaving. The other kids cry though and it's really hard to watch. I don't think I would want to take her if we had to go through that - it's only for a few hours anyway and it doesn't seem worth it to me to have to go through so much separation anxiety. 


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#22 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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This is a complex situation. It seems like some feel the issue is that CIO is bad and it is important to determine if leaving your 3 year old crying with strangers at preschool is an example of CIO. I think the important issue is if it is in the best interest of the 3-4 year old to be left at preschool. The young child can learn socialization skills and anything else she or her needs to learn while with a parent, family member, or primary caretaker. I would never (and never did) leave my child at a preschool. 

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#23 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 06:18 PM
 
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I don't see how this is the same as "Crying It Out" at all.  It was hellish when I first had to put my son (then 18 months) in daycare, but his father had to go out of town for several weeks and really, it was becoming too difficult for him to both work and entertain/teach an 18 month old everyday.  The first day I stayed an hour and he wailed when I left, the second day 30 minutes and he wailed when I left....then we didn't even go on day 3.  But I read that day that the best thing to do is stay no longer than 5 minutes and leave in spite of the crying.  The advice that made sense to me said that the child needs to learn to trust their new caretaker and that trust can be built very quickly if that caretaker is the one to comfort them when Mommy leaves...the one to reassure them that Mommy will return and that they will have fun all day.  My son stopped crying completely by the end of the second week.  I know every child is different, and my son was already a social butterfly with an independent streak, so this worked for us. 

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#24 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 06:19 PM
 
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Speaking as a mother of 3 ages 12,7 and 5 all of them went to preschool I am also a nursery directory at my church and have worked in both a moms morning out type program and in a preK program all of which have criers.  YES the best thing to do is to kiss them goodbye and promptly leave.  The crying will stop and your child will learn a very important lesson in life.  Mommy is not the only person I can be with, have fun with, learn from and be loved by and safe with.  You are not leaving your child with strangers that you do not trust.  Your child needs to learn this independence and social skill.  It is essential to life and the most importance lesson is yes mommy leaves but she always comes back.  Trust me it is much harder on you then your child. And yes I had a crier too.  But I have been on the teacher side of many more criers and if you stay and make it long and drawn out it only makes it worse on the child and you and the teacher.  Make sure you talk to your child in a positive way about you leaving them at preschool.  Concentrate  on the fun and the friends not the leaving part.  Then on the first day kiss her and say good bye and remind her that you will return in just a little while.

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#25 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 06:46 PM
 
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My kids started full-time daycare at an excellent infant/toddler program when they were still babies, so you'd think that preschool crying wouldn't be an issue for us, but it was.  Some mornings are just rough, and even kids who are comfortable with the care providers and enjoy preschool can melt down at drop off.  Heck, sometimes DS melts down outside elementary school. 

 

I don't think handing a child to another caring adult is CIO.  The child's needs will still be met.  And sometimes children have needs that parents can't necessarily meet by being primary caregivers 24/7.

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#26 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 09:44 PM
 
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At one preschool, tears and fear. At another, super warm teachers, warm, well-planned environment and happy to run in every day. Same parents, same child.

First grade at one school, tears and fear. At another, super warm teachers, warm, well-planned environment and happy to run in every day. Same parents, same child.

For a child who is sensitive to whether there is chaos, whether there is warmth, whether there is security, for that child it has been worth it to look for the right situations. Was that child permanently damaged by that first preschool and the first grade school? Uncertain. But I am positive that there is more learning going on for a child who is happy and not stressed out. It was worth it to find the right place and the right people.

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#27 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 10:35 PM
 
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I understand that this comes from an incredible position of privilege, but I've never left my children crying for me anywhere, and it is very hard for me to imagine doing so.

Honestly, I wouldn't just walk away from a crying child if the reason for the crying was because they didn't want me to leave them. (Again, I am very fortunate to be in the position not to need childcare outside of myself or DH - so I've never been forced to leave one of the kids. If they don't want me to go, that's okay - I'm willing to stay or say we can try again later when you're ready.)
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#28 of 95 Old 09-10-2013, 11:48 PM
 
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I think this is one you need to trust your gut on.  My daughter has anxiety. Even before I knew this I knew she would not do well if I left her, where she would feel alone, insecure, and betrayed.  She would panic.  Her preschool teacher was so warm and welcoming and willing to work with us to make sure my daughter felt safe and loved at preschool.  The three of us worked together to ensure everyone was comfortable, which did require me staying for the first week.  She is a veteran at preschool now and still needs me to stay sometimes, and drop-offs are never short.  While she is gregarious and social, she also needs time to transition.  

 

My second child would do fine with the quick good-bye and a trusted, compassionate caretaker.  In that case, I agree with most of the advice here: a quick good-bye is fine and she'll probably be happy in about 30 seconds.

 

You know whether or not your child is like this.  ;)  If so, don't let other people convince you otherwise. Choose an environment that meets your and your child's needs. 

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#29 of 95 Old 09-11-2013, 02:33 AM
 
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My daughter is very sensitive, and we made a HUGE life move (to another continent) just months before starting preschool.  I knew she would not be ok to be dropped off in a new environment without me or my husband there especially in a new culture where people treat children very differently than what she was used to, so we were able to take her to a "holiday club" for 2 weeks before school started where I stayed with her the whole time.

 

When school started, she did fine the first week but then regressed.  She would start crying in the morning at the first mention of school and cry all the way to school.  She also started waking up at night.  It was clear that it was just too much for her, so we pulled her out (she was 3.5).

 

When we tried again a few months later (just after turning 4), I stayed with her the first few days and then a beloved babysitter stayed with her a few more days.  There were still tears for a few days when she started staying without us but I stayed within earshot to make sure she calmed down quickly.  She calmed down within minutes and was fine the rest of the morning.

 

She just started in a new class where she already knew and loved the teacher and there have been no tears.

 

I think it all depends on the child.  For my daughter, I think it would have been too overwhelming for her to be expected to adapt to such a new environment without me or another familiar caregiver.  I was very grateful that we were able to make it more of a slow transition for her.


Loving wife to DH and buddamomimg1.pngmama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12)

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#30 of 95 Old 09-11-2013, 06:11 AM
 
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I have never understood the developmental value for young children in pre-school. I know Head Start was a program designed to take under privileged neighbor hood kids out of a unstimulating home environment and give them some needed early childhood learning.  Day care was created to assist single parent children babysitting while Mom had to work. But intentional pre-school for the children of educated, financially stable families makes little sense. The stress doesn't balance with the so-called benefits.  Crying upon seperation does not foster independence, just emotional trauma and stunted development of trust.

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