Mothering Forum banner

Is Preschool necessary???

1255 Views 20 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Houdini
I've been debating keeping my third and fourth kids home until kindergarten. But the kindergarten teachers insist that preschool is very important. Would I be doing my kids an injustice keeping them home? Why should I send them any earlier than 5? Any justifications????
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
IMO it's good, even if part-time. Your child can meet future class mates to make the to "big school" transition easier. Pre-school has a schedule... which also eases the transition to big school. My ds LOVES his preschool he has really become a leader and learns something every day. It has provided him oppertunity to go to swim lessons and gymnastics classes weeekly that we would not have time to do w/ him. He is making life long friends for sure.
I always thought it wasn't necesary, but was good fun and good for kids. But then I had a kid who I think "needs" it. So, to each their own...
"Necessary" is a strong word, but it certainly is useful if you plan to send them to kindergarten. Gets them used to school-type structure.
Is it necessary?

For many kids, no. It depends. What would your kids be doing at home? If they'd be watching tv all day, sure preschool is better. If they would be going on nature walks and doing crafts at home, then home is fine. I'd just be sure they could count and identify letters before kindergarten. My son is in preschool, but it'smostly because I work. He does LOVE it, though, so we are good.

I would want them to be used to time away from mom, waiting in line, taking turns, etc. before kinder of course, but that can be done in other ways.
No CHild left Behind has turned Kindergarten into 1st grade, basically. So that is why some may say its "necessary". If your kids are bright - and you aren't worried about that - then that would not be an issue for me. The bigger issue for me is the consistent interaction and play time with the other kids. DS really needs it - in the group setting like that. We did a LOT of play dates every week -- but I think preschool really fills that ever growing social need -- which by 4 is pretty intense.
Kindergarten is a big transition year for most kids -- even for those who went to preschool. It depends on how adaptable your dc's are. If they tend to go with the flow fairly easily, have little separation issues, and don't need to practice what the other kids will be doing - lining up, putting their coats in their cubbies, sitting in circle time, etc. - you can easily skip preschool. Preschool isn't usually about accademics, it's about learning to operate in a group and following the direction of a teacher.

I felt that preschool was a valuable experience for my ds. His last year was spent with a wonderful teacher and she worked with him in ways that he really responded to.
I think Preschool is important...necessary? Maybe not.

Jeffrey was "caught" by the pre-K system we have here in Ga and is receiving the services he needs for his Asperger's because of it, so I'm definitely grateful we sent him.

But if you think your child is receiving enough socialization at home or elsewhere and you're confident he or she isn't in need of special sevices...
Necessary? No. But my daughter is only in nursery and I already cannot imagine her being with me or a nanny and a couple of other kids all day. I suppose Every Child Is Different, as the mantra goes, but I tend to think that by the time a child is age 3, it is good to be a some kind of a structured environment with other children during part of the day. That does not necessarily have to be preschool. I suppose you could organize a large playgroup. But in our world, preschool seems to be what is out there. I think that the key is to find a good preschool where your child is getting enough stimulation and learning a lot without being overwhelmed.
I don't think so. I do think my children have both found it to be fun. From my perspective it is like many other things (museum memberships, pool membership, etc. etc. etc.) that are not necessary, but are value added. Of course, this depends on the individual child and their readiness for the experience and finding the "right" school - there are some kids who are clearly not emotionally ready and if any of my children seemed unready or we didn't have the $$$ or were unable to find a positive, play-based environment I would skip it.

Barney, Ben & Patrick
i think it is a great time for them to learn to separate, in an environment that is loving and nurturing and used to dealing with nervous little people.

i think that children who have to get used to separation, and the structured environment of school in the first year of school may strggle a little more and find it harder to settle.

if they learn about doing as they are old by the teacher, doing (very basic) work and sitting together for story time, it ois a little easier when they are doing it for real and the teachers my have a little less time to help them learn the basics.

it is probably harder for teachers with children who have no pre-school experience than ones who have not. but they will all settle eventually. i send my 4yo to nursery so that he can get used to the concept of school with teachers who offer regular cuddles and have the time to sit and give children extra attention if they are having a difficult morning.
I don't think it is necessary, however, if you can find the RIGHT school, it can be a lot of fun!

My daughter (4) LOVES her preschool. It is a parent co-op, all play based and child led. Emergent curriculum (which follows the childrens natural love of exploring and discovery).

I have also rally enjoed the social aspect of the co-op and have made some really good friends. I am on the board and enjoy being a part of the running of the school. Each parent works in the classroom 3-4 mornngs a month. My daughter goes 3 mornings a week for 2 1/2 hours.

So, with the right school, I think preschool can be a great experience for both the child and the family. Ours has monthy social events like a parents night out, daddy/kiddo bowling, A winter holiday party, mom's movie and coffee ngiht etc.

We will be homeschooling after preschool, but if I could find an elementary school that was moddled after her preschool philosophy, I would be all over it!
Not necessary.
If your home enviro is rich and engaging that is enough.
None of my three have been and the 2 in school are acedemically and socially fine!!
I dont think preschool is at all necessary. If like my dd they want to go fine but I would push it on any child. My ds will let me know if he wants to go if he shows no interest he will start out in K. I honestly detest that they made K mandatory I think it sucks and if it werent I wouldnt have sent my dd and ds wouldnt go.

Back when I was dd's age K wasnt mandatory and I didnt go I went right into first grade and did just fine.

Since pre k here is all day long and 5 days a week it is the same as K. The only difference being that with pre k there is no limit to when you can pick them up or keep them home. In K if they miss 12 days or more they fail and must repeat that greade.

Originally Posted by TripMom View Post
No CHild left Behind has turned Kindergarten into 1st grade, basically. So that is why some may say its "necessary".
I would say! If you do decide to keep your children out of school until kindergarten (which I did with my second daughter), I would strongly advise teaching them the alphabet and numbers up to 10! I don't have a TV so my daughter did not learn that from Sesame Street, but if your child does watch Sesame Street, you're probably covered. When teaching my daughter the alphabet, I also taught her the sounds of the letters so that way the transition into reading in kindergarten would be easier. By the way, for the average 4 year old, teaching the alphabet may take as long as a year! Just for your information, I used *loosely* Oak Meadow Kindergarten in order to teach her those skills the year before she entered kindergarten.

Of course, you will want to read to them all sorts of books (both fiction and nonfiction), take them to museums, the zoo and other cultural events, etc.

Also, you may want to keep in mind the social factor. If most kids in your area are in school for preschool, your child may be extremely lonely!

I did not regret keeping her home despite that though. First of all, the more secure the child feels (which depends on feeling secure that Mom and Dad will take care of my needs when I need them), the better the transition into school. Besides, you may also want them to get used to not following the crowd so that way they will better be able to resist peer pressure. When they are in school from the time they are still in diapers or just out of them, the peer group becomes more important than the family.

Good luck with your decision!
See less See more
I don't think it's necessary unless you have something specific you want/your child needs to learn.

In our case, we wanted dd to attend a particular multi-cultural, multi-lingual school... since they don't teach in English and we don't speak the target languages, we needed to send her to the preschool. She is absolutely thriving there and when an issue came up recently that made us consider taking her out (a lunch issue), she was distraught that she might not get to go back. She just loves it. She has from day 1. We also won't have to compete for the few slots that come open in kindergarten.

Some kids do best at home for their preschool years (and beyond, even). Some don't. You know them best - just let your heart guide you because each momma knows best for their kids. Good luck!!
I don't think it's necessary, but I think you need to have a good plan in terms of how your child will learn the basics that they will need for kindergarten, be comfortable with having another adult in charge and following rules, and have regular interaction with other children of the same age.
It kind of bothers me that the primary reason given to send a child to preschool is to prepare them for the rules and regulations of an ever-increasingly-academic Kindergarten. To paraphrase Dewey... education should be ongoing and be about providing for the child's needs NOW, not just training them for some future endeavor.

So, if you think your dc would enjoy preschool and it will be good for him now, then go for it. Otherwise.... preschool shmeschool!

Originally Posted by oliversmum2000 View Post
it is probably harder for teachers with children who have no pre-school experience than ones who have not. but they will all settle eventually. i send my 4yo to nursery so that he can get used to the concept of school with teachers who offer regular cuddles and have the time to sit and give children extra attention if they are having a difficult morning.
But, shouldn't we expect the same care and compassion from K teachers? With all the options out there... school of choice, charter schools, homeschooling, private schools... schools are competing for our business. Now more than ever, we shouldn't be worrying about training our kids to conform to unrealistic expectations, but should be demanding developmentally appropriate, child-centered education.

Find the school that fits your child rather than trying to make the child fit the school.
See less See more
I think it really depends on your child. For us my youngst needed preschool for social development. We did all sorts of parent/child classes as well as a lot of homeschooling, but if I was present he had a harder time paying attention to the other kids. Plus, it did wonders for his confidence. He had been reading since he was 3, but denied that he could. It was his preschool teacher that helped him accept that he was able to read. Also it helped him get into the idea of a routine. Very important for him.
If you choose not to do preschool, I would second the suggestion of making sure they know their alphabet, general number facts, as well as reading. When they reach Kindergarten they'll expect it.
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.