Preschool?

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

What age do you plan on putting your child in preschool? For those of you that have older children what age did you start them? What were some of the reasons? Can we talk about some of the pros and cons....

We're thinking about enrolling Roxanne in preschool for next September as she'll be 3 and will be eligible. I have to decide by January so I can register her and get her into the school of our choice.

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We chose not to send Jake to preschool.
For one, it is expensive. 3 hours a day 2 days a week starts at $235/month. It is preschool, how hard could it be? I was home with him so we figured I could teach it, and I did.

He just started 5k (kindergarten) this past August and has already been moved into the First Grade Advanced Readers program and Second Grade Math. They wanted to move him to First Grade all together, but I kept him in kindy b/c the First Grade class involved a lot more sitting at a desk and such, while kindy was more "play based" learning and socialization.

For academics, I purchased "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and a Preschool math workbook, they cost $22 together. We sat down for 10-20 minutes everyday and did a lesson from the reading book and a page or two from the math book. My son thought this was incredibly fun and it helped get him used to the structure he would see in school. We also had craft time everyday. No learning, just needed to get him used to a schedule.

For Socialization. I joined a mommy&me group that met once a week. We had story time at the bookstore, library, or coffee shop at least twice a week. We were in a History Museum Group for preschoolers twice a month. He was in Taekwondo and played Baseball. We were in the library book club that met once a week. And of course he had my regular friends who have kids to play with, cousins, and we frequent the park as we have good weather most of the year here. All of that together cost way less than $235/month, and I got a lot more than 6 hours a week of social time and education out of those activities.

I worried a lot about how he would do being left at school the first day, as he has not really been left with anyone other than his Nanny's and my sister for any extended period of time, but he did wonderfully. Because I am always there for him, he knew I would be back for him at the end of the day, and I told him that the school could call me if he needed anything and I would be right there. He went right in and started talking to the other kids. No crying, not even a Hug!! I cried a little, but not much ;) He has done wonderfully every day since.

That said, I had the time to work with him, and I am fortunate to live in an area where there are tons of programs for little kids. I think if I did not have all of those programs to choose from for socialization, preschool would have been a good option, but I stand by teaching the academics at home. In Jake's kindy class, none of the other children could read yet! And many of them went to preschool, so I do not think preschool gives them a head start academically. As for the social aspect, that depends a great deal on the experience they have at the preschool--if they are bullied, if the teachers are uninvolved, any number of things can cause them to have a negative experience and thus not transition to school well. At home, you can control their experiences a little more--they will still meet bullies, but you will be there to teach them how to handle it and react. Hope that makes since.....Preschool is sometimes the best option, but I think the mother can do just as well as a preschool, or better.

Petra - posted on 10/04/2010

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Dana - I can't speak from personal experience as Tor is going into a dayhome when I go back to work and will miss out on the whole preschool experience - which I think is really, really valuable to kids of SAHMs.

My mother was a preschool teacher and the guidelines dictated that kids' enrollment commenced the year prior to kindergarten. She had an education degree and is very, very mummish and I attended with her when I was a kid and I loved it - singing, group play, arts & crafts, reading, quiet time - all good things to learn to do with other kids.

My three nephews, however, due to being in a single-income family, didn't go as there aren't any local preschools that are affordable. They did have some minor problems socializing, their speech was lagging a bit (they speak primarily Japanese at home, and English secondarily) and didn't know a lot of of the songs and games that most kindergarteners have down by the time they walk into the classroom. The biggest problem, by far, for them, was being behind socially.

A well-run preschool program can really help prepare little ones for being successful in the classroom - but is not completely necessary - from what I've seen :-)

Dawna - posted on 10/03/2010

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Oh, you wanted some pros/cons (you hit on a topic I've spent a lot of time thinking about myself lately!):



pros: socialization, acclimation to classroom setting, professional educator working on the basic skills, some much-needed mommy time, the sense that your child is keeping pace with other kids her age ( i say sense, because it's difficult to prove that preschool helps level the learning field).



cons: preschool isn't as structured as regular school/kindergarten, so too many years in preschool may be setting your child up to expect more leniency in kindergarten; starting too early is beginning to show up in some studies as a cause/correlation of kids that get too stressed/overworked and fall behind in later school years; also, there are those who think too much structure at that age disrupts a child's normal learning patterns and curiosity; some parents may stop trying to work with their children at home because they are now in school and have teachers to do that.

Dawna - posted on 10/03/2010

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Due to the age cutoffs in our area, my daugter (turned 3 Sep. 7) would have to attend 3 years of preschool before starting kindergarten if we started her this year. I feel that is excessive, even though I think she would do well in preschool this year. Also, she missed the age cutoff for the public preschool, and we don't have the funds for private right now. My husband and I go back and forth on the importance of preschool. He attended one and thinks it helped him a lot. I didn't attend one, but could read by age 5 and before I entered kindergarten thanks to family caregivers that worked with me on such things. I honestly think the kids that do best in kindergarten are the ones pre-schooled by their parents/family, or at least have such influences helping them with their education. However, I do see the value in preschool helping to acclimate the child to the classroom setting, more structure, and socialization with other children. To me, these results can also be reached by putting the child in a daycare that also uses preschool curricula/activities a couple of days a week, or other activities that would socialize and have a non-parental authority. Also, if you know you're not the type of parent to really try teaching your kids the basic preschool stuff (abcs, 123s, colors, etc.) (or don't have time), preschool would definitely benefit your child. Dylan is currently in a gymnastics class, and has taken swimming lessons, so we know she does well socially and listens to her teachers. So, the other aspects are something we could work on with her at home, and she will not likely fall behind those kids who are in preschool.

Now, we do plan to put her in preschool, but not for a year or so. But, I do plan to start working at home with homeschool curricula and online programs to give her a jumpstart. I don't plan on actually homeschooling her in the sense that I will have a rigorous schedule or set calendar of goals, I just wanted to benefit from the work done by knowledgable educators when trying to teach her myself. Also, my mother-in-law is a retired kindergarten teacher, and she does crafts and little projects with Dylan to help prepare her for kindergarten. I still argue with myself sometimes as to whether or not I am helping or hindering by not pushing her into a program somewhere now, but I think ultimately the side of me that wins is the one that thinks it is ok for her to just be a kid for another year or two.

I have found a few websites that help parents work on preschool skills with their kids. Some have a fee, some are free. I haven't tried most of them, as I'm still researching options, but I will post the ones I have found most interesting so far.

http://www.starfall.com/ - this one is free and has some great reading readiness activities, and some neat things you can do if you have a tablet pc (we don't), such as letter tracing/writing practice.

http://pbskids.org/island/ - also free. a set of games geared toward teaching little ones early reading skills. it has features to let the parent see the progress of their child, printable aids and other useful tools.

http://www.abcteach.com/ - lots of free stuff, some pay. printables, interactive tools and tips for teaching all preschool skills. some really great printable games to teach while playing.

http://www.time4learning.com/scope-seque... - fee based. a complete preschool curriculum for both parents and teachers. i believe it is a fully online program, geared to help the parent track progress and teach the child through games and non-traditional techniques.

http://www.homeschool-curriculum.org/pre... - an information site for homeschooling. i found a lot of useful tips/ideas here, but a lot of the curriculums they sell/promote are christian-based.

Amy - posted on 10/02/2010

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I am ALL for preschool. However, my child is 3 and has two years before kindergarten. The prek program we had her signed up for ending up closing after 30 years. I have taught prek and that is what my degree is in. So I decided to preschool her at home for this year. We have a schedule that we follow and certain mornings are our "school" time. I will definately enroll her in a program next year, as she is not getting the socialization that she will also need.

We have a program here in our county, that for the last three years have gone into the school districts at round up time. They are seeing how prepared for kindergarten each child is, and what type of preschool experiences that they have had, or the lack of. What is actually showing as the children that are showing up the most prepared, are the ones that have been at home with a mother, who of course, is involved and intentionally works with the child. This is showing to actually be the best situation for being ready for school.
I believe that every child is different and has different needs. Also every family has different dynamics. Are you working, would you be able to spend this next year working with her? The choice is up to what you believe is best for your child and your family. I believe as long as you are enrolling in a QUALITY preschool program, your daughter will have a great start to her education. I'm sure that you have looked into the school well and researched what to look for that shows a quality program. You can look up this info on the NAEYC website, which is the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Or whatever your state's early childhood initiative is, (hoping your state has one).
Good luck on your decision, and if you would like any more info on quality programs, let me know! Amy

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Dawna - posted on 10/05/2010

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yeah, that's one of the many reasons i really hated having to move back to my hometown. but hey, sometimes life hands you... well, let's go with lemons. :)

Dawna - posted on 10/05/2010

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if i feel dylan is ready at that time, i will complain as loudly as possible. but, this school district is notorious for not wanting to bend a rule, no matter how stupid and useless it is. plus, the superintendent of the district dislikes my father-in-law, one of the few really great teachers/coaches in the district. i don't see her being of a mind to help me much.

[deleted account]

I'm in BC, Canada and thank goodness they don't do that here. Roxanne's birthday is Sept.11 so she technically won't be 5 until after she starts kindergarten.....that's so silly that Dylan can't. Perhaps if you bitched they'd make an exception? If it were me, I would....just sayin'.



I wish we had publicly funded preschools....the expense is the biggest and pretty much the only deterrent right now. If money wasn't an issue I'd probably put her in.

Dawna - posted on 10/04/2010

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The school system in my town/school district uses a calendar date cutoff for determining the age a child starts. The cut off is half of the year, so if your child is not 5 by July 1, they can not attend kindergarten until the following year. Since Dylan's birthday is Sep. 7, she would have to wait until just before turning 6 to start, which means 3 years of preschool if I had put her in this year.

Personally, I hate the cutoff date, since it has little to do with whether or not the child is actually ready, and simply separates kids by dividing up the calendar year. My problem with that is that school starts in the second half of the calendar year, so why use the calendar year as a determinant? The town we lived in before had a cutoff date of Sep. 15, so there she would have started at age 5. I think she will be more than ready for kindergarten by that age, but if we still live here, we will probably be forced to wait an extra year. I think this policy does kids a disservice, especially since I grew up here and was forced to wait an extra year because my birthday was 16 days after the date, but I spent much of my time bored and unchallenged in school.

The public preschool is a new program here, I think only a couple of years old. There is still a fee, but in most cases there are grants/scholarships that allow kids to attend for free. It is partially funded by and fully run by the school district, so it can be a much cheaper option.

[deleted account]

Also because it's a cooperative nursery school our costs are almost half that of a regular nursery school program.

[deleted account]

Well I do home child care so the whole socialization thing is not a concern here. We have however put William in a one day a week half day nursery school program this year. This was mainly to give me and him a bit of a break from each other and to let William have a different group of kids to hang out with. It's a cooperative nursery school so we are involved in many different ways including my husband being a duty parent from time to time (teacher's helper for craft and snack time).

Next year we are going to put him in the two day a week half day program at the same school.

He's gone three weeks so far and LOVES it. He doesn't want to leave.



And the possessive issues with toys and me with my day care kids has almost entirely disappeared. Which was one of our other reasons for doing it.



Edit: William is currently 2 years old.

Jess - posted on 10/04/2010

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I haven't really given Preschool any thought because Ava is still only 1, but here in Australia we have a different structure. Preschool which is now called Prep and starts at 5/6 just depends what time of year your born. Some places offer Kindergarten for 4 year olds, but mostly if you want to socialise your child they just go to day-care. Ava's centre does 6weeks through to "preschool" which is really now "pre prep". When they join Prep they have to wear a uniform and go to an actual school, its a lot more formal than when I was 5.

When I was 4 my mum enrolled me in Kindergarten, I hated it. I screamed, hit the teachers, kicked the teachers. I would climb the gate and fences. I would even run out during the middle of the day trying to escape. I still remember it, it was horrible. But I loved school, I kept begin my mum to let me go to school with my brother and wear his uniform !

JuLeah - posted on 10/04/2010

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Depends on the kid. My daughter really wanted people her height to talk with. She was so ready and so excited. I opted for a perschool with a big community/social focus. She met friends there, as did I, that are still in our life.

[deleted account]

Ya, we're thinking we're going to do it when she's 4 but next year when she's 3, I'm going to enroll her in some activities to help with the social skills. The academics and speech etc. I'm not worried about. Thanks everyone.

[deleted account]

Dawna, where do you live? You mentioned that if you had put Dylan in preschool this year that meant she would be doing 3 years of preschool? What age do they start kindergarten where you live? Roxanne will turn 3 Sept.11th next year so she's almost one year younger than Dylan but kids start kindergarten here at age 5, which means if I put her in next year she'd be in preschool for 2 years and then starting kindergarten the year she turned 5?

Also, you mentioned a public preschool? We don't have such a thing here. The public system doesn't start until kindergarten.

After doing much research and considering the cost, I'm leaning towards waiting another year and putting her in for only 1 year of preschool just prior to kindergarten.

Thanks for all the websites....I'm gonna check them out when I have more time. You've been most helpful. Cheers

[deleted account]

Thanks Amy!

I'm a SAHM so I have plenty of time to work with her and as a matter-of-fact we already to work on the basics. She knows her numbers 1-10, all her colors, animals and now we're working on the alphabet and spelling her name. My concern is more with the social aspect. Right now I feel like she spends too much time with me and I want her to learn how to share and interact with other children. I'm confident that she'll do well but nonetheless, she still needs to have a go at it. I think the main thing holding us back is the expense. Times are tough and preschool, two days a week starts at a minimum of $100/month. For ten months, twice a week that's a $1000 a year, for possibly two years prior to kindergarten. We will definitely enroll her when she's 4 just prior to kindergarten but I think we might forgo next year and I'll work really hard to find more inexpensive groups etc. to enroll her in. I don't know....ugh. Decisions, decisions.

Anyhow, I'm rambling. Thanks for the information....we live in BC, Canada!

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