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Do kids need preschool?

18356 Views 84 Replies 47 Participants Last post by  RCHOUDH
I'm having doubts about sending my DD to preschool next year. She's going to be 3.5 yo in the fall. The school we would probably send her two would have 20 kids and 8 adults (1 - 2 teachers, 6-7 parents) each day. If it makes a difference in you opinion, when she is 5.5yo, she will be going to a part time school (3 days a week for 3-4 hours a day) and then she will attend the same school (3 days a week 6.5 hours a day) from there on out.

Do you think it's harder for kids to adjust to kindergarten if they didn't go to preschool? The preschool she would attend doesn't do "academics" though they do write down stories the kids dictate (which i do at home) and have educational topics (they were discussing metamorphasis the day I visited). If we don't send her to the preschool we will be sending her to an art enrichment class that will be 2 hours a week and is very similary in style philosophy to the preschool she would attend. Both include parent education classes for better or worse.

My biggest reasons for not sending her are that I'm not sure that I want her surrounded by 20 3yo's. She's quite the follower from being bossed around so much by big sister and I'm afraid of what she'll pick up. Also she loves dance and gymnastics and I feel doing both of those along with a 3 day a week preschool is a lot for a three year old. I know others will disagree with me, but I like the little ones to have tons of time to just play instead of being shuffled from one activity to the next. And while a strict schedule may be perfect for your family so far this has worked for ours. I just don't want to make a decision that will make things harder for her when kindergarten rolls around.

TIA for any advice.
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Personally I don't think preschool is necessary but then I am planning on homeschooling so I'm in a different situation. I think if your child will be attending kindergarten then preschool may be a good introduction to school. It really depends on the preschool and teacher as to whether or not it is truly beneficial to your child.

Here's a previous thread that may interest you as it had all different opinions about preschool
I don't think 3 yo preschool is necessary but I do think 4 yo pre-K has some advantages: when it's time to start K, your dd will understand a little bit about being with other kids the same age, following rules, listening to an alternate authority figure, etc...

As an aside, I'm really interested in the elementary school you described. It is only 3 days a week? Can you elaborate?
My 7y/o DS never went to preschool. The only reason I would have considered it, is for the socialization aspect of it. I'm a total homebody and we didn't get out much, in a social sense, w/ other children. It seems like you wouldn't even have to worry about that, since your DD is already in dance/gymnastics.

Academically, my DS is beyond grade level. I didn't do any sort of preschool curiculum w/ him. We just spent our days playing and learning through play. I miss those days w/ him. I'm doing the same thing w/ his little brother. I just couldn't imagine sending my boys away so young. It was hard enough when he was almost 6.

Now, the summer before he started K, I did put him in a 4 week long Pre-K program (he was 5&1/2). I wanted him to get used to being around a bunch of other kids. There was, of course, a little bit of an adjustment for him. Overall, he did great and he and I both felt confident that he was ready for K.

I think the fact that you're having doubts is reason enough not to send her to pre-school. But, maybe when she is 4&1/2, you'll feel diferently. Or maybe not.
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts!! And you are all right that I do have another year to reconsider next year.


Originally Posted by jkpmomtoboys
IAs an aside, I'm really interested in the elementary school you described. It is only 3 days a week? Can you elaborate?
The school is pretty unique. It's just part time and goes all the way through high school. It tenny tiny (~60 kids and going to grow to about 100 kids) and mixed ages. The kids have to register as homeschoolers since they don't meet enough hours to not, but most of the "structured" learning happens at school with more projects coming home as they get older. My older DD is a kindergartener there now and is in a group of 5-8 year olds. Everything is based on developmental learning. It's almost exactly what I'd want to do if I was homeschooling, but it's at school which suits my extremely extroverted older DD perfectly.
Please share even more about the school. A website? PM if you have anything you don't think the school would want on the Internet. I am really interested in the program and whether there are others like it.

Barney & Ben
I think your reservations are really valid.

All of my twins' peers are starting preschool next year, but I want to have time for swimming, art and just playing and going outside. Plus, I want to control their peer group as long as possible.

As long as they have some experience being separated from you with other children (like a class that the parents don't attend with the child), I think they'll do fine in Kindergarten.
I don't think kids need preschool. Ds knows all his colors, some numbers, some letters, almost any animal you could think of, knows about books, etc. He's 2.5 and he hasn't been "pushed" at all, it's just what he's picked up from life. Academically, he doesn't need the preschool curriculum. However, he hasn't been around other littlekids much so I have him in gymnastics for that. I like that he learns to take turns, get in line, share, etc. there. If your dc is in art and dance, she's getting that. What would you hope she'd learn in preschool?

Now, I might sound like I am contradicting myself because ds will start school in the fall! My "nanny" (grandma) is going back to work so rather than daycare he will start at a Montessori school. I think he was fine at home, but rather than daycare, I think he'll like the 1/2 day, 4 day a week Montessori thing.
Well, I don't think kids NEED preschool, but I think for many it can be a good thing. We sent out DD to Montessori preschool 3 days a week starting just before she turned 4. She really enjoyed it and I think got a lot out of it. Now that she has started kindergarten, I feel really glad that she did have the preschool experience. I think her transition to kindergarten has been very smooth because of the preschool experience. Our DS will be starting preschool 2 days a week in the Fall, when he will be 3 and a half.
I don't think they need preschool, but it can be beneficial for some. It depends on the child and the situation. If they have plenty of time to socialize with other kids and have no trouble separating from Mommy, probably fine without it. My dd is 3.5 and doesn't want to go to preschool. (she wants to go to Kindergarten with her sister). She has an October birthday, so she has an extra year to go and will be almost 6 when she does go to K. I told her she doesn't need to go now anyway. Or next year either, if she doesn't want to go. I may try to get her to go for 2 mornings per week the year before K, just to get her used to being without Mommy and to give her a chance to socialize with other kids her own age. She mainly plays with her older sisters and their friends. But that's still a year and a half away and she may really want to go before then.
To answer your question, I don't see any need to start preschool two years before kindergarten to prepare them to attend it.
my 6 year old dd never went to preschool...she is now in kindergarten at a public school and doing great....she was with me and grandma all through her younger years...lots of playing at the park and with older cousins...she was so happy and excited to start school this year! not even a little scared...i was probably nervous enough for both of us....she made friends right away and the teacher couldn't believe she never went to preschool...
I think that kids from attentive homes don't need to be prepared for kindergarten. Remember, kindergarten used to be preparation for 1st grade. I think 5 year olds are more ready to go. And that makes sense, they are older. That have had that much more attachment with their parents. I think shy three years who stay home for those two year old will be better able to handle kindergarten entry than the same kid who was helped and prodded along through difficult preschool years. And if they aren't eager to go at 5, heck, they don't need kindergarten either! I think the less we do to "prepare" kids for things that will happen in the future that will come developmentally with time anyway, the better. And it is easier when the kid is actually at that developmental stage.
Need? No. And many preschools today have unnecessary and stressful pressures for no good reason. See this Call to Action on the Education of Young Children - endorsed by over 150 educators and researchers about that alarming trend.

But if there's a nice little preschool that a child can go to a few times a week just for fun, it can be...well...a fun thing! If it's not fun for the child, there's no point. Childhood is too short and fleeting to be wasted on innappropriate and stressful nonsense, in my humble opinion.
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I don't think it's necessary at all. For some kids it can be fun but I think the art class you mentioned would serve the same purpose. I've seen plenty of kids who didn't do preschool before K. Some of them took a week or two to get into the swing of things but by the end of the first month of K they were all doing fine.
I have a friend who sent her daughter to a developmental, parent participation preschool and her daughter is doing catching up in K . . . but the things she is catching up on are a bit absurd (speed writing was the topic of conversation). She is doing fine now though. Most other kids I know who went to the same pre-K are doing great in K (their schools are a bit more sane). I also know lots of people who did not do pre-K and their kids are soaring in school.

I'm a homeschooler and trying to keep that out of my suggestions above, but I must say that my kids do great at home. There are lots of opportunity for play. I had my oldest in a parent participation for 2 months, but it was too many kids (30) and they were too young (the older kids went to the other class and left my 3 y 3 month old with a LOT of 2 year olds - I love 2 year olds, but they are on a different plane). I'd put my other kids in a preschool if I found a fun one with a short commitment (I'd miss them too much if they were gone 3 days a week), and they were interested.
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Originally Posted by wildmonkeys
Please share even more about the school. A website? PM if you have anything you don't think the school would want on the Internet. I am really interested in the program and whether there are others like it.

Barney & Ben
I would love to know where this school is as well. Thanks!
I had both a child who went to preschool and one who did not. I have seen absolutely no difference academically between them, and socially? The one who did NOT attend preschool has less social problems than the one who did (which I have also attributed to her being one of the youngest in her class whereas he's one of the oldest...another thread

They are in 4th and 7th grades now.
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mamatokay, thanks for this thread - it's very timely for me. It sounds like our dds are the same age. I have mine signed up for preschool in the fall (she'll be 3.5 by then), but only b/c I had to reserve a spot early. I don't know yet whether I am going to send her. This thread and boongirl's have been helpful.

Some of my reservations are similar to yours.
1) The class my dd would be in is about 18 kids + 2 teachers. Not a very good ratio.
2) The snack will be juice box and store-bought cookies.

3) I am not sure I want my dd socialized by 17 other 3 y.o.s whose parents' values may or may not be similar to mine.
4) And, the ultimate reason for not sending her: I don't expect her to separate well. I guess, all other things aside, if she went willingly, happily with no tears, I would probably send her. If there are tears, I don't think I can do it.

But then come the nagging fears... what if I don't send her now and then it's even more difficult for her to separate at 4 or 5 (we are going to use public school)? What do I say to all the neighbors and friends who wonder why my 3 y.o. isn't in preschool? It's what everyone's doing, you know. Heck, most people are doing preschool for their 2 y.o.s.

As you can see, I have a lot of issues to work out here. Just wanted you to know I'm right there with ya, and ITA about not shuttling kids to and from activities and just letting them play, play, play + hang out with family (if it's possible, that is).
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I think that kids from attentive homes don't need to be prepared for kindergarten

Although my dd preschool was pretty nice and the teachers were wonderful. In fact, we still visit one of her teachers periodically. I think sometimes it really depends on the preschool. Since I am a single mom, our options were pretty limited. But the preschool she went to was very good. Also, my dd LOVES to learn so preschool just pretty much emphasized what we were doing at home. I remember her telling me so excited that the "Library Man" was at preschool and she was the only one that knew him (we go to the library quite frequently).
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