Question of the Week – Preschool

on Mar 30, 10 • by • with 17 Comments

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Home » Evolving Motherhood » Question of the Week – Preschool

It seems like everywhere I go with or without Maddy lately the preschool topic gets brought up. Actually, just the other day a complete stranger brought up preschool as our girls were playing at the train table at Barnes and noble. Preschool is apparently on a lot of peoples minds.

So now for the question…


(email subscribers click through to Evolving Mommy to see video)

All right, on your mark, get set, go! Let the discussion begin. I’ll share my thoughts tomorrow.

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17 Responses to Question of the Week – Preschool

  1. JGoode says:

    I did preschooler with my now 14 year old out of necessity, I was a single mom with a job. My now 7 year old didn't start preschool until age 4. He was content at home but he was really shy and I thought it would be good to get him used to other people and kids before jumping into Kindergarten. We started with 2 days a week (2 hours) and he loved it so much we added in 2 more days a week a few months later.

    Now I have an almost 3 year old daughter who is begging to go to school. She's quite social and quite busy. My working at home doesn't provide as much activity as I know she is eager for, so I plan on signing her up for preschool next fall, 2 days a week, just to get extra play time outside of the house.

    My experience, preschool is great more for the social development with young kids who have previously been at home. Kids in day care at a young age, a designated preschool gives more structure of a curriculum. Sure preschool provides an educational/academic aspect, but learning should be happening every where at this age… learning to interact with others is something they don't always get at home.

    Great topic!

  2. Heather of the EO says:

    It worked! Must'a been my computer earlier.

    I started Miles when he was 3 mostly because I thought he needed it. And I needed it. At the time, Asher had been SUPER colicky and then went thru the other medical stuff, so it was a much needed break for both of us. I was really excited about the school too, had heard really good things about it and he LOVED it there. Then we moved and he doesn't love school so much anymore (it's more structured-totally not his gig). SO, I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know what we're going to do next…I won't probably send him as much as he was going before. It's such an individual child and family decision, depending on what's going on. All I know for sure is that there isn't one right answer…it turns out (at least for us) that it's yet another go-with-the-flow kind of thing.

    I just made it more confusing, sorry :)

  3. Evolving Mommy Catherine says:

    jgoode, Thanks for starting the conversation. I love hearing about how things have been different for each of your children.

    Heather, No not more confusing at all. I asked for your thoughts and I am so glad your are sharing your experience with me. It sounds like the school has a lot to do with the choice for you, right?

  4. Caleb and Shea says:

    uh oh. I haven't watched your video yet, but I am very opinionated and very passionate about this topic so I am scared to watch! ok. here I go

  5. Evolving Mommy Catherine says:

    Shea, DO NOT be afraid! I'm like Switzerland in the video, but please please please share your thoughts!

  6. Life Without Pink says:

    I started my son when he was 3 yrs old but he never made it past two weeks. We were in the process of moving and a month prior he had gotten lost at a museum we went to, so he had a lot of separation issues.

    Then we tried again in January when he was 3 1/2. My husband was against it and wanted to wait until he was 4 but I felt like my son needed it. He was bored at home, had no attention span and picked on his brother all day long. Not only that but I felt like he needed to get use to listening to someone else besides me {oh and I admit I needed it too}.

    He is doing great, loves it and I can see a difference in him. He goes two days a week for only 3 hours, which is perfect. Next year he will go three days again 3 hours a day.

  7. Shea says:

    I have a lot of thoughts, but will just mention one here – and that is age in relation to beginning kindergarten. Birthdays make a big difference. When is the cut-off for Kinder? Will the child be the oldest in the class or the youngest? In my situation (wink wink), my daughter will be the oldest. She will start kindergarten and turn six within a few weeks. So if she starts preK when she turns 3, that will equal THREE years of "school" before kindergarten. And then I hope she goes to college and maybe even beyond. That is a lot of school and a lot of school before a lot of school. you know?

    Alright, I lied, I am going to keep going. Humans are social by nature so although I think there is benefit to the social aspect of preschool, I don't think a neuro-typical child needs 3 + years of practice to be ready for the social aspect of kindergarten. AND I think the social aspect gets addressed during play with friends, watching mom and dad in real life, etc.

    I do think that in this day and age, a kid who shows up for kindergarten with no formal education prior, is going to have a bit of a time adjusting to the routine, to following group instruction, and having the endurance to make it through a full day. However, a typically developing kid will most likely be able to get all of that under control within the first semester. On the other hand, do you want your kid to come in behind and have to work extra hard to get that all worked out? IDK.

    Lastly, the academics and information taught in preschool does not intimidate me. I am not worried that my child will be behind regarding what she KNOWS if she were to enter kinder without prior schooling. I am confident that I can teach my child kindergarten readiness skills – my education and career has been really helpful in this area. Therefore, we are considering a language immersion preschool as a 2nd language is something I can not teach her.

    So as of now, we think we will send our daughter to a 2-3 day 1/2 day spanish immersion program as she turns 4, and a full day as she turns 5.

    I am also selfish (and possibly over protective and overbearing) and love being at home with her. I am also quite aware that our "plan" may change 83 times by next week.

  8. It's Always Something Around Here says:

    Well….. with both my kids I did a mommy and me class at 2yrs old. It was just one morning a week. Then at 3 they both went 2 mornings a week and at 4 they went 3 mornings a week. They both enjoyed going…although my daughter had some separation issues at 3. This is what worked for us.

    BTW I am a preschool teacher. Not all kids are ready or need preschool and not all preschools are right for all kids. You have to find the right match. And what works for your family.

  9. Rachel says:

    I am in the midst of this whole preschool thing. When he was two it was suggested by his doctor to start looking at preschools I wasn't so sure he was ready (or that I was ready). So I did my research looking at schools. Since his birthday is in November and the cutoff here is September he wouldn't be put into the three year old class and therefore wouldn't be "taught" anything. They would just do play-doh and stuff like that not teaching them the alphabet or counting or anything. Basically a glorified day care and I said to myself, what is the point? He does play-doh at home with me! I stayed home so we wouldn't have to pay for day care. So I kept him out. And things were fine.

    Then I got pregnant and had my second child and after about 5 months I found myself thinking it might have been easier with the newborn if my son had been in a preschool a few days just to get out of the house and have some attention and thrive. I haven't been able to enrich him like I did when it was just the two of us. But still I think it was good to keep him home. He has socialization through his gym class (since he was a year old) and now soccer class. Plus we have play dates. But I feel that even though I've been working on his ABC's and counting and his vocabulary is astounding; there are some things that I don't know how to teach him. For those reason's I feel it is important for him to go to preschool.

    So we did our searches and went to open houses and decided upon one, applied (can I just say how ridiculous it is that preschool is like applying to college. And just as expensive too. I mean they are only toddlers!!!) and excitedly got accepted. The best part he will be in the same class as his best friend from gym class. Anyway. We debated doing three day or five day and quite honestly I made this decision on purely selfish reasons. I NEED him out of the house. So we signed him up for the 5 day. It is only for three hours each day but I can't keep up with the two of them 24/7 anymore. Plus i just need some one on one time with my daughter.

    I fear the separation anxiety that both my son and I will probably feel. I fear he will hate school. I fear he will have trouble following directions, etc. I know there will be an adjustment period for all of us. But I feel he can handle it. He adapts to change well and thrives on routines. Something we have been lacking around here since the addition of my daughter but something that is the norm in school. So I think it will be great. I'll let you know how it goes come September when we actually experience it.

    But I hear you on the people always asking you about preschool and whether you are going to do it and blah blah blah. I agree though that you need to take into account your child's temperament as much as your finances. Pick a school that fits your child's personality and how you know they learn best. Go to the school, take a tour, talk with the teachers and other staff. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There is no right or wrong here. It's all about what fits your child and your family the best.

  10. Spiceymom says:

    Well you know I am enrolling Cookie in the Fall 2 days a week 2 1/2 hours each day. After having Jelly Bean, I desperately need to get her out of the house away from me. Plus, I want to have a little special time with just me and Jelly. I find that when Cookie is napping, Jelly comes out of her shell and talks and tries a whole bunch more. Cookie is a lot of work and energy and frankly, I am struggling to find a balance for both girls all the time.

    But I did choose a pre-school that is a co-op, so I will get to see her in action and her little friends in action at least every 4-6 weeks. I like that I will get to know each of the kids in her pre-school. I also chose one that was not so structured, but allowed her a little choice as how and what to play. I visited about four different pre-schools with Cookie in tow. I was looking for something that was not a daycare, that seemed to promote the whole child, and a teacher who was warm, but firm with the kids. I also think that Cookie really needs some more structure outside the home and needs to learn to listen to instructions and other adults. A little impulse control is a good thing. Plus the co-op is fairly cheap, about $100 a month compared to others that are close to $200-$350. Which I was not really ready to pay for pre-school.

    I also think that pre-school is an individual decision. Some kids are ready and some aren't. Cookie's vocabulary and behavior is so much more like 3 1/2 that getting her to broaden her circle of educators is a good thing. Plus, her personality is so much like mine, that we butt heads too much for me to really be her main teacher for things like reading and writing. I work with her, but our patience with each other is short lived.

  11. Amy A.K.A. "The Mrs." says:

    Alrighty, here's my answer.
    I'm an early childhood major (yup. still in college) and we learn so many things about children at this age and how preschool aught to be approached. So without getting into too much detail, I'll say my short answer is "it depends on the individual child".
    Maybe you know I have an *almost* three year old boy. Last fall, I started him in a 2 year old program that meets one morning a week. I stay with him and am directly involved in his learning. I also just signed him up for a 3 year old program that will begin this fall. It meets 2 mornings a week and while it's a structured learning environment, there's plenty of room for him to play and have fun.(I'll be leaving him on his own for this one.)
    My husband and I chose this route for him because he is a child who is slow to warm up to strangers and he thrives on routine. We feel it's best to get him familiar with the act of going to school and being away from me while also encouraging his learning by giving him that routine he needs. (Since the baby's arrival in October, "routine" is not easy to come by at home. lol)
    Will we make the same decisions for Eliana when she's 2 and 3? I'm not sure. We'll have to wait and see what her personality is like before we decide that.

  12. everyday mom of one says:

    We have also done a Mommy and Me class this past year and Little One has loved it. IF he is potty trained (we will see) then he will be going 2 mornings a week for 2.5 hours starting September. For me it is the social side of things, especially being an only child. I know he wont start school till he is 6 so we are going to work our way up at preschool, 2 days, 3 days then 4 days Pre K.

    Like everything it depends on you and your child.

  13. Megan (Best of Fates) says:

    I'm at work, so tragically can't watch the video, so I'll assume it's a question asking if you should send your kids to preschool.

    I went to preschool, and I thought it rocked. We painted on this hot surface with crayons that melted. It sounds weirder when I describe it, but it was so awesome I still remember it.

    So I'd go with yes.

  14. Amy @ Original Coupon Coach says:

    I started both of my kids when they were 3. The preschool is T, W, Th, from 9-11:30.

    My reasons may be a bit different though. My husband stays home with the kids so my kids don't get a whole lot of socialization outside of school. Don't get me wrong, he's a great dad and care provider, but he's not one to hang out with a bunch of moms. And we have found that a lot of moms don't want to hang around a dad they barely know.

    That said, knowing what I know now (son is in Kindergarten after 2 years of preschool and daughter is finishing up her 1st year in preschool), I definitely would have made the decision even if I were the one home with my kids.

    I have seen such an immense change in my kids from having gone to preschool. In addition, I can tell a complete difference in C's Kindergarten class between the kids that went and those that did not. The kids that went are much more patient and adapted to "school life". The kids that did not have a much harder time following directions, paying attention, and sitting still.

    And the preschool we use is not full-on academic either. It's more about development and getting prepared for Kindergarten.

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts tomorrow!

  15. Michelle says:

    I've already discussed this with you recently but I will share my thoughts on here so everyone can see too.

    Of course it is an individual decision. Each family, each child, each situation is different. I have 3 kids that had all very different preschool experiences.

    B went into 4 day per week daycare at 18 months due to necessity/me being a single mom. When he was 3 years 3 months and potty trained he moved to the preschool my mom worked at and did one year of preschool (age 3), one year of pre-k (age 4) and started kindergarten at age 5 (May b-day). I loved his preschool and I think he learned so much just from being around the other kids. He was reading by age 4 and the phonic program they used really clicked with B. They also had on site enrichments, they rotated through gym, computers, music, and movement, in addition to regular preschool time, outside time, lunch, snacks, naps, etc.

    Wyn was with Nate for her preschool years and he was a full-time student, not working and his family watched the kids while he went to school. She never went to preschool. She also could read before kindergarten and academically was advanced but it did take her a few months to adjust socially and to the routines of formalized school despite having been in soccer and gymnastics. She always wanted all the teacher's attention and didn't like sitting on the rug or waiting her turn to talk. Even with no preschool within a few months she had adjusted well to the half day kindergarten program their school offered.

    FiFi was in the middle of the other two as far as preschool went. When Wyn entered kindergarten FiFi was 3 1/2. She was lost without her sister and did not know what to do while Wyn was at school. I had to push hubby to enroll her in some sort of preschool (we weren't married at the time). She is a very shy child and needed to work on her social skills too. He found a city rec preschool that was 2 hours/2 days per week. FiFi did amazing in it and just blossomed. She became less shy, made friends easily, and began to learn to ascert herself. Of the three kids, preschool made the biggest difference in her. When she was 4 1/2 we moved her to 2 1/2 hours per day/3 day a week pre-k at the same place. She also was reading well before kindergarten and academically advanced.

    Is preschool going to make your child smarter? Probably not! What you do at home makes a bigger difference. Can it teach them valuable skills they need to succeed in kindergarten? Yes, especially in the areas of following instructions, talking in turn, sitting for circle time/large group instruction, and getting along with a large group of children.

    Is a year of preschool enough for some kids? Probably so, but I would recommend doing some sort of preschool at least the 1 year before kindergarten although if I have another I will probably follow what we did with FiFi 2 days per week at age 3, 3 days per week at age 4.

  16. MOMMY-MOMO says:

    okay…. here is my thoughts… Obviously i know every child is different and some kids really need it. but this like i said is just me. I'm not a fan. I feel like whats the rush? eventually they will be in kindergarten and in school everyday all day. I want my little guy at home with me as long as possible. so we're not doing pre-school at all. I have a degree in social science and got my credentials to teach elementary school so im pretty sure I can teach my little guy the basics at home. When he goes into kindergarten he will not be behind.

    I know pre-school is mostly for the social interaction so i'm very aware of this. EC is in alot of play groups. sports. mommy and me type classes where he gets plenty of interaction with kids his own age and has a ton of friends. I think this is very important if you decide to go down the no preschool route.

    Like i said every kid is different. Im not judging at all. Every parent has to do what they feel is right. just for me i'm un easy on it…

    Im curious to see what decision you come up with :) good topic!!!

  17. MOMMY-MOMO says:

    also would like to say… i love Amy's alternative!!! i would for sure sign up EC and I in "classes" like that where im there and involved. Great in between!!

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