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Preschool- Yes or No?

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My oldest daughter turns three in just a few months, but the questions about whether or not my husband and I plan to send her to preschool have been rolling in for almost a year now. Back then when the questions started, we would always cite time as the reason why we hadn’t thought about the prospect of preschool. “Oh, she’s just two,” we’d say, adding quickly that we would start looking more seriously when she approached three.

But then two and a half came and went and we did start looking, but because most of the preschools we were interested in were more money than we could afford, we put it off.

Now that she is three, I would say that most of her playmates are in some form of preschool for either part or all of the day. Their parents, who are both working or with one parent at home, pay between $1,000 a month to $2,500 a month. We can’t afford the expense of “that” kind of preschool right now.  But we want the quality of “that” kind of preschool. So we’ve been looking at the most reasonable alternative.

Me.

I’ve been thinking about using an online preschool curriculum to teach her at home. This sounds like a bit of a stretch for me, considering I also have a one-year old at home, but I think I can do it. In fact, I know I can do it. So that isn’t the problem.

The problem is that whenever some parent tells me their child is in preschool, I always begin to feel a tinge of doubt. I guess, for me, at least in my area, where your child is going to preschool is like a badge of honor that seems to scream of the financial devotion to ensuring that your children are receiving the best that our state has to offer. Or maybe this is all in my head, manifesting itself in questions like:

“Am I making the right decision keeping her at home?”

“Should I suck it up and just pay for her to go somewhere just for the sake of me being able to say that she is going somewhere?”

I know the answers to these questions, of course. I know that trying to keep up with the Joneses is dumb and that instead I should just focus on how great of a job I am doing with her at home and just keep up with that. I know this, so that’s what I’ve been aiming to do. For now, my toddler is not in preschool, but she’s learning lots at home. For now, this is enough.

Did your toddler attend preschool? If so, at what age?

Comments

  1. Sumaira says:

    I agree with your point of teaching at home, but your child needs other children her age to play with on a regular basis. Just teaching things isnt going to help her, learning from other children is also necessary. How about sending her to a not so expensive pre school, and teaching her at home as well like the expensive pre schools? Kids need kids too…and while u have a 1 year old, your 3 year old will still not have as much fun as she would with a three year old. I know most mothers feel their children learn bad habits from pre school, especially if its a not so expensive one…but i think thats stereotypical…AND, how long will we protect our children from bad habits? They have to go to school one day, right? It’s our job as mothers to stop them and explain to them why whatever bad habits they are learning are wrong.

    I dont disagree with the fact that you are teaching her at home. My daughters in Kindergarten and I still do extra homework with her, even though she gets none from school. But maybe try to send your daughter to a play group, which might be cheaper…somewhere where there are kids her age…or else maybe even the pre school curriculum might not come in handy for her, as much as playing with someone her age will…

  2. Jessica Barnhart says:

    my daughter is 4 and will be going to kindergarten next year. We also looked into preschools, it’s the same in our area as in yours. Either you pay $300-$500 a month for “play school” or you pay $1000-$1500 a month for “preschool” where they actually learn something. Neither option looked like what we wanted. So I teach her at home. She knows and identifies all uppercase and lowercase letters, can count to 30, do basic addition and subtraction with manipulatives, knows her address and phone number, can write her name, and beginning to master letter sounds and sight words. So, in essence, she’s right on track. I do wish she had friends, the social environment is the only thing I think she’s missing out on. She is taking classes offered by the district to prepare her for kindergarten, it’s 1 evening a month, and is based on the school’s curriculum. It can’t hurt to call your district and ask if they have any offerings for preschool kids. We work something educational into pretty much everything we do, and she doesn’t even know it. Plus, I get special bonding time with her while I can still get it!

  3. I looked into the local high schools in my area. They had an early childhood education program for the high schoolers. I sent my son there and he loved it. And it was much less expensive. They definitely have limited slots and the times are usually a little weird but if you can do it and they offer it I would recommend it.

  4. Laura says:

    I think it’s important to know what you want to get out of preschool, what your kid needs, and what you have to give. My kid is hyper-social; he is so much better behaved now that he goes to preschool; he’s not constantly up my butt, he can focus for longer, he sleeps better. Me staying home would not have provided him with what he needs because I am much more introverted and find that kind of intensive group interaction exhausting and anxiety-inducing. (Plus, we’re in a place we can afford it.) So anyway, my point was that there is no “right way”, just the “right way” for your situation. The only thing I don’t love about preschool is all the germs the little petri dish brings home, but every parent has to cross that bridge at some point.

  5. My daughter is turning 3 on Sunday. I work for our county office of education which serves students with special needs. One of our preschool teachers who works with students with autism is going to take her two mornings a week so my daughter can be exposed to pre-school and be around students with different abilities but she will also be a peer model for appropriate behavior (I hope!).
    She loves being around other kids, which we get right now at the free library story time and stay and play and at the park. I think I will send her to a Montessori/language immersion program part-time next year.

  6. I didn’t think we’d put our daughter in preschool but she started getting bored. Her behavior was so challenging simply because we were not stimulating her enough. And I knew that I didn’t want to homeschool. Fortunately, there’s a church in our area with a great preschool program for only $60 per month. We couldn’t afford anything else. She is doing so well there and is much easier to deal with. Every time we take her to preschool we are so happy that she is going.

  7. Sadie says:

    In my opinion, a “play” school is exactly (and all) a pre-school should be for those younger than 4. After all, there is so much research on the benefits of play for our children. Play is their work :) I work part-time from home and send my 2 1/2 year old to a childcare (which is also a state mandated pre-school) two full days a week. My younger child (7 mos) will go one day a week for now and two days after she turns one. But, before I started working I sent my 2 year old to a preschool on Tues/Thurs mornings for $310/month (I live in the DC metro area.) Totally worth it! She loves her teachers and her classmates and they provide her with certain things I cannot. Still, I think we all do our best and what we think is best for our children.

  8. The Listening Room is a great resource for activities that foster language development. They have a variety of activities with great explanations that you can print and make yourself. While they are geared towards kids with hearing loss, the activities are developed by a speech language pathologist and target a wide range of language skills that all young children need to develop.

    http://www.hearingjourney.com/Listening_Room/preview.cfm?langid=1

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