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Maybe this belongs in education?
So, dd is turning 3 next month and I get asked all the time "Is she in pre-school?" My usual answer is, we can't afford it. But really, I don't think it's all that important, I'm not in a rush to have my dc have to deal with icky school type stuff.
Dh thinks it's important for social interaction.
I took a semester of early childhood education, and the stories I heard didn't really make me want to send my dd to pre-school. ykwim? And the one's I am interested in, reggio-emilia type, are too pricey for me.
Is my dc really missing out? Will she not be ready for school when the time comes, another 3 yrs, but still.
I thought about doing a home schooling group with one of my friends, but she already enrolled her dd in 2 schools! And the one she sends her dd to sounds great, but again, the money, the worry.
And words?
 

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Well, I do not think it is important at all.

I have a great link to an article on socialization I should find. It essentially says that traditional school is not the real world--being forced to interact with people solely based on age. That never usually happens. You are dealing with all kinds of people--baby to elderly. This is what NOT going to school does. Your child will see you in the real world--getting groceries, talking to adults, doing laundry, running errands, doing chores.

Quote:
In order for children to become assimilated into society properly, it is important to have a variety of experiences and be exposed to differing opinions and views. This enables them to think for themselves and form their own opinions. This is exactly what public education does not want; public education is for the lowest common denominator and influencing all of the students to share the same views ("group-think") and thought-control through various means, including peer-pressure.

Quote:
Meanwhile, in public school, children are segregated by age, and have very little interaction with other adults, except their teacher(s). This environment only promotes alienation from different age groups, especially adults. This is beginning to look like the real socialization problem.

My wife and I like to bring our son with us when we are visiting with friends and other adults. How else will he learn to be an adult, if he never has contact with adults? He knows what kind of behavior we expect from him, and the consequences of his actions. He is often complimented on his good manners by friends and adults.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/zysk1.html

This is a funny read
http://www.tnhomeed.com/LRSocial.html

These are not the links I was thinking of. I will have to look. But you get the idea.

Follow your gut, if you do not want to send your child don't. My son is only 22 months, but I do not plan on sending him any time soon.
 

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My career has been in early childhood education, and I would say definately hold off until you and your child are ready.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
My career has been in early childhood education, and I would say definately hold off until you and your child are ready.

Ditto. I can't say it's been my career, but as a former preschool teacher, I don't see the big deal in it. If you change your mind, you could always send her the year before kindergarten. Education-wise, I think I teach my 4 year old a lot more than she would learn in preschool. We go to museums, go to the library, do projects at home, etc. There are other ways of learning to sit still for circle time and walking in line with other kids, too. I really wouldn't worry about it.
 

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I used to teach K in an alternative public school program very similar to Reggio Emilia programs. I got asked the preschool question all the time. I don't think kids whose parents read to them, play with them, take them to the park, look at nature, sing songs, read nursery rhymes, etc. need to go to preschool. They get all the school readiness they need from their family. They were not in my opinion, behind their classmates who went to preschool. As far as the socialization thing, the preschool kids did know a little more about morning meetings, recess, other things that were repetitive things that kids do at school, but it didn't take very long at all for the non preschool kids to learn those things and it certainly didn't make a difference in their ability to be at school.
 

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I think it is important that your child has SOME interaction w/others her age, but it's fine to get that from a playgroup, gym class, church nursery once a week, or just playing w/friends...it doesn't have to be preschool.

In terms of being prepared for the school environment, I think kindergarten is not too late to pick that up, as hlkm2e explained. The best preschools, IMO, are those that have some structure to the day but are not "academic" w/lots of sitting still and being lectured. I'm a developmental psychologist and have studied educational policy, and from that I'd say not only that early exposure to a pedagogic environment is unnecessary to being able to learn in that type of setting later, but that too much "sit still and listen" at too early an age is likely to get kids burned out on it so that it works less well even when they are developmentally ready to learn that way.

That said, I think I benefited a lot from preschool myself. I was very shy and had no other group-of-kids situations in my daily life; being a part of a group, as opposed to interacting w/just one or two other kids, was important to my developing sense of social life. (Yes, it is very important to interact w/adults too!) I also learned a lot from the activities, which were different from what my parents had thought to do w/me; for example, I got to be in a play and interact w/gerbils and learn to kick a ball toward a goal. I was lucky enough to go to a wonderful preschool, where the teachers had a keen sense of the capabilities and perceptions of little children and were very respectful of us as people.
That definitely enhanced the experience, but I think that any decent preschool would have had these benefits to some extent.

She's only just turning 3. Plenty of time to go to preschool next year or the year after. Think about it, but don't let people push you into it if it doesn't feel right to you.
 

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I am struggling with what to do next year too. My son will be 3 1/2 next fall. I know I don't need to send him, but I really want to in a lot of ways. I used to teach at this really awesome Montessori school that I want to send ds to. I think he would love it! It's from 9-2 everyday though. That's where I am having difficulties.
 

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The Japanese don't do pre-school, or even early childhood education, and they always test better than we do when children are farther down the educational road, so I'd say that pre-school is over rated.

However, if you find one that DD really enjoys, then it might be worth it just for the 'fun' of it.
 

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it looks like most people want to send their kid to preschool for the "social interaction" why not just take them to the park? there are bound to be kids there. or maybe kids theater, i got in to kids theater when i was around 2.. i played a tree
hehee and then when i was four i got to be a flower

there are lots of other ways to have your kids build thier social skills.
 

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The social aspect of preschool (or school at all) is the very last reason to attend, in my opinion.
 

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I had some of the same hesitencies mentioned here but we found a co-op preschool in our community which we absolutely love. We as parents are required to serve as aides so it is very hands on. We are very interactive with our daughter and she is at the top of the curve academicly but the fact is that at 2 1/2 y/o she was craving interaction with other children. The park is a possibility here for only about 4 months out of the year since the weather is so cold; a school was about the only option. My dh and I split our shifts so that we are home with our dd almost all the time and for the times we have to be gone we have college age sitters come into our home. She does not get peer interaction through a daycare situation so we feel that interaction with other children is important. Our daughter goes to preschool 2 days per week for 3 hours per day and can not stop talking, singing or signing about the great things that they do in preschool.

If money is really a barrier to getting your child into the preschool of your choice you may want to look into scholarships offered by the school. Our preschool offers partial and full scholarships to those in need.
 

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I don't think it is a big deal if you do or don't.

That said, my 3.75 year old really loves her preschool. She talks about nothing else. Maybe home is too boring for her.
: But she gets to do lots of great crafts, sing songs, learn dances, hears stories read by someone other than myself, and plays with more kids at once in a structured environment than she is likely to get at home. She also loves story time at the library.

Is this going to make her more ready for gradeschool? Maybe. Does it matter all that much? I don't think so. She has a really great time. So she still goes. It's that simple. Go with your gut. If you don't feel good about it, don't do it!

Bec
 

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I think it depends on what your educational goals are for your child in the future. If you are planning on homeschooling, or even just public school, then I wouldn't worry about it. Some private schools, kindergartens, actually REQUIRE preschool, if you can believe it.

From my limited experience, preschool is not that important. I reluctantly enrolled ds in preschool to help with a speech delay issue, and it has helped. He used to refer to people as "this" instead of their name. Literally, my mom would show up at the door, and he would say "Hi This!" Now he uses everyone's name, and talks about the other kdis. And he absolutely loves it. I am very impressed with the teachers and the program, but there are aspects of it I don't like. He has picked up some aggressive behavior that he didn't have before. Not bad, but compared to how 'pure' he seemed going in that it is noticeable for me. And he seems to have a constant runny nose now. But the biggest thing I don't like about it is not knowing what is going on with him for 4 hours out of the day. I mean, for 2 months I spent every day there with him, the teachers encourage parents to be there as much as they want, I call and check in, the teachers give me updates on the day when I pick him up, and they even take polaroids throughout the day of different activities the kids are doing. But still, he's my baby, and I am uneasy whenever I am not with him.

The only program I liked was 5 days a week, but he usually only goes 3 or 4 days. And I pick him up at 1pm, whereas all the other kids are there until 3pm. It's funny - everyone acts like I get must get so much done while he in school, but I find myself waiting until after I pick him up to run errands, prep dinner, etc., because we enjoy doing those things together. I actually feel guilty if I go to the grocery store while he's at school. When he's in school I mainly just play with the baby and maybe pick up the house a bit.

Like the other posters said, go with what feels right. I'll admit that if it hadn't been for the speech delay ds wouldn't be in preschool. And his speech is so much better now, that I have thought about pulling him out, but he really loves it.
 

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As a K teacher on LOA, I say NO. If you interact w/your child AND get them out in the community, then I think that's more important. But...my kids will go to preschool the year before K but only 2x/week to start learning about schedules and lines and desks, etc.

But, I do have a friend who is pulling her son out of K this week and will wait until next fall to enroll him in K again. Basically, her child has had no social interaction w/anyone other than her family. So, he is completely overwhelmed by all the stimuli.
 

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Totally agree that it depends on the child and the situation. I don't think you can generalize and say "No, pre-school is not good for kids" or "Yes, pre-school is good for all kids."

We're living in Europe right now and kindergarten (what would be considered pre-school) is required for native Germans here starting after the 2nd birthday. There's some competition about good kindergartens, too.

We plan on sending our dd to a private International school when we eventually get back to the States knowing that there is a good chance she'll be in school some years back here in Europe. Going to a school like that doesn't REQUIRE pre-school in the US, but it helps to have the language exposure early. Still not necessary, just helpful. And very particular to our PERSONAL situation.

I might get flamed for this, but I think it also depends on the parents. Some parents are very hands-off and don't engage their children. These children would probably benefit from daily stimulation of a pre-school because they don't get it at home. Not saying that's anyone here... just stating the comment.
 

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velochic,

I think you're absolutely right when you say it depends on the parents. If you're the type of parent who's reading books at home, taking your kid to the playground, maybe going to library storytime, then I would say that pre-school would probably be a waste of money.
 

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My dh loved preschool because he was stuck out on the farm with no one to play with and loved recess at preschool when he got to play with other kids. So he wants our kids to go to preschool. On the other hand, I didn't start school until I was seven - my mom taught me at home - and the year of homeschooling that I had was the best year of school in my entire life. I thought school was boring - when my mom taught me she gave me things at my level that kept me busy and challenged. School was the opposite. All I did was wait for others to finish their homework so we could do something else (mine was always done first). So I want to keep my kids out of boring school as long as possible.

My aunt is a reading specialist in elementary school and in a recent conversation she told me preschool really isn't that important. Any differences with kids (those with preschool and those who didn't) disappear by the end of first grade. She sent her boys two days a week the year before they started kindergarten to ease them into the routine.

I really like the thoughts expressed here about how interesting it is to be at home and how socialization needs to be with all different types of people, not just those of the same age. I will definitely use that as my rule of thumb when we decide when our kids will start school.

I would certainly love to have a couple mornings to myself every week, but no more than that. I'm a WAHM and it would be so nice to get things done without constant interruption. I also don't know how much of a kid person I am and how interesting I make things for ds. I fear that I am a very boring mother. DS is happy and entertains himself (which I did as a kid). With him, as long as he has constructive things to do, with his personality, I think he's fine at home. I do take him to a friends house for a couple hours every week where he gets to play with her kids while I run errands easier run without him. We also do music classes and storytime at the library. No play groups yet, but once it gets warm again, perhaps we'll get more into that.
 

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NAK

My 4.5 year ds is a very social guy and he likes to do "projects" all day long. We read, do crafty stuff, listen to music, get together with other children..., but I still enrolled my ds in a pre-school for 2 hrs a day. It's an Reggio Emilia type of place where he can play with clay, paint, play dress up...without his little brother and sister being part of the picture. It's also part of a college, so it's a learning school with tons of eager students helping out. Parents can observe any time.
 
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