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I agree somewhat. But there are many reasons that preschool can be good to prepare for kindergarten. A major one is that the kids get used to being left somewhere and get used to a daily routine with someone other than mom. Preschool isn't required so if you drop junior off there and they throw a fit you can always just take them home. But kindergarten is different. It's suddenly real school and you can't take them home every morning they decide they want you to keep them home when they are scared to go to school. By going to Preschool they are more prepared that way. There are quite a few kids in my DD's kindergarten class that cried every single day when being left at school earlier this year and for some that lasted for several months, whereas the others could just be dropped off and they were fine. There are also kids that can't have their parents chaperone field trips without going beserk when mom or dad leaves them to go back to work. These are primarily kids that weren't in preschool. Kids who find it hard to adapt make the class move slower in a lot of areas, and get their teacher behind each morning when they are begging mom to stay and crying their heads off.
The kids also get a head start on things that will be done in a classroom in kindergarten like reading, writing, computer, socializing. Not that all those things can't be done at home because they can be done at home. But some kids just benefit a lot more from being around other kids and another adult each day. I know my daughter did.
I would like to gently point out that early childhood educators do much more than teach kids how to stand in line and raise their hands to go to the potty. I am not an early childhood teacher, but I greatly admire them. Too often, they're viewed as glorified babysitters. Not the ones I know. These are women with masters degrees that teach fine and gross motor skills, phonemic awareness, stimulation of the five senses, comprehension of the world around them, communication skills, independence skills, I could go on and on. The kids in our inner-city school cook, paint, even practice some Montessori strategies. Our preschool teachers are teachers, occupational/physical therapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists rolled into one! Our parents are very happy with our teachers.
Some kids do fine without preschool, but implying that they will be better off is kind of a slap in the face to dedicated, highly trained professionals who choose a low-paying field in the already low-paying world of teaching because they care and truly love children. That's saying that preschool teachers are generally somehow destructive to children.
Here's a list of what our preschool has done so far this year as of the end of November:
1. Seen a play of Leo Lionni's books.
2. Been to the local zoo.
3. Been to a farm and picked some apples.
4. Gone to the aquarium.
5. Went to a science museum.
6. Learned about color mixing with paint (blue and yellow make green, etc).
7. Practice art every day to help motor skills.
8. Have learned songs in both English and Spanish.
9. Have made their own puppets.
10. Have learned both English and Spanish from each other.
And that's just the stuff I've seen when I've not been in the library! For some parents who are unable to take their kids to these places due to money or work, our preschool teachers are a godsend! And they love kids. They really do.
Maybe our children aren't just "sitting around at home".
My child and I bake together, go to museums, read books, play with toys, visit friends and family, go to the park, ride bikes, paint, play with play-doh, play basketball, play board games (this is probably DS's favorite activity), etc.
Maybe if all we did was sit at home and stare at the walls, pre-school would be a better alternative.
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