Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Delaying Pre-School

Last year around this same time, I was sitting outside of a church at 3:00 AM, waiting in line to register my son for pre-school.  Today was the day to register for the next school year. I had the willpower to just say "no" to pre-school for my daughter next year.

She's only 2, but will turn 3 shortly after the school year starts.  I've gone back and forth about whether or not I wanted to sign her up for pre-school.  Back, and forth.  Yes, and no.  I think I've driven my husband nuts over this decision.

I think pre-school is very valuable. I think the value of it is much more than teaching kids letters and numbers. In my opinion, the real value lies in the social interactions (without Mom present) and  preparing for the structure and routine of a school setting.

The moms I know have very diverse opinions on the subject of pre-school.  Some have asked me about my plans for next year, and when I respond that I'm not doing pre-school for my daughter, they are shocked.  "What, this could be the first time you have no kids in the house!  Are you crazy, woman!?!?"  "Not even a Mother's Day Out???"

Then I also knows some moms who think pre-school is totally unnecessary and don't even do it before going to elementary school (or homeschool). I read this interesting article from a mom who made the decision to skip pre-school.

My middle child is going to kindergarten this next school year, so by skipping a year of pre-school tuition/registration in our household we are saving $2000. And that money is going to our mortgage.

We won't be homebodies next year, though. I plan on continuing to take my daughter to several free activities around the area, like music and movement time at the library and story time at the mall.  She will get some social interaction time without me at our gym daycare and at my church mom's group. I also plan on starting her in gymnastics or swimming. I hope to make it to many play dates and outings at the park. We will be busy.

I'm not looking for advice, since we've already made our decision for this year...but I am curious to know what your thoughts are on pre-school.  Did or will your children attend?  For how many years? What do you think they gained the most out of pre-school?


  1. Kirsten attended for two years and Katie will go this fall and attend for two years. I agree with waiting for Alyssa to start since that would mean three years of preschool for her. I put my kids in preschool for two reasons.

    1) I go to work two days a week and by three years old they are the oldest at the in home babysitter's and the preschool schedule works perfectly for me.

    2) I think my kids need to learn how to respond to an adult other than mommy being in charge.

    There is a lot of pressure to put kids in preschool early around here. Katie is the only 2 year old in her ballet class this year that does not go. I am proud of you for standing up to that and doing what you feel is right for your daughter. She will be gone soon enough, cherish this special time with just her next year.

  2. My son didn't attend preschool at all. There were several different factors that went into our decision, but the biggest was that my husband was deployed for several months, including almost the whole first semester of what would have been our son's Pre-K school year. My son and I spent most of my husband's deployment going back and forth between our current duty station and my hometown over 1100 miles away. I'm sure my parents would agree that that time was precious with my son, and more valuable to them AND my son than preschool would have been.

    There are several kids in his class (he is in first grade now) that didn't go to preschool. They probably did have a little more trouble transitioning socially to kindergarten, but they all adjusted well, and fairly quickly. My son cried quite a bit the first week of school, but he was certainly not the only one, and his teacher said he didn't cry any more than others who had been to preschool.

    Although he wasn't in any extra classes, we made it a point to spend time with other kids, in different situations. He knew to respect his teacher, and that she was his boss, etc. He made friends quickly as well. Plus as a stay at home mom, I was able to make learning fun at home, so he could count to 100, knew his alphabet and basic spelling, his full name, phone number, address, etc when he started school.

    I think there are definite advantages for some, but not necessarily for all children. I've always worked with my child at home, and he is doing extremely well at school. I don't think preschool would have helped him much at all academically, at least not from what I can tell from his first two years of school. The only aspect I can see is preparing him a little more socially and emotionally. He did have a hard time separating from me, but honestly he still does after a break from school. I think that sending him to preschool while his Daddy was deployed would have probably been more detrimental than helpful, since he was already struggling with that.