How important is preschool for toddlers?

Some parents feel that preschool is essential to prepare a child for grade school, while others feel it is unnecessary. How important do you think preschool is, either academically or socially for toddlers?

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35  Answers

7 6

I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and I also have a degree in early childhood education, so it may come as a shock to some when I say neither of my children will be going to preschool. I don't think it is necessary for them. My son started reading at 2 years old. I'm not worried about my kids being behind the learning curve. Socially, they do just fine when I trake them to the library to play with other kids. They listen and sit nicely for the structured storytime. I'm not worried. Kindergarten comes so soon and I just want my kids at home with me where I know they are getting the best education and love possible. If they are slightly shy when it comes to leaving mom for the first time in kindergarten, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. That used to be the norm... We will continue setting up playdates and having fun at home until Kindergarten comes around and my babies get introduced to a whole different environment.

15
21 22

You're very fortunate to be able to be home with your kids. If I wasn't the "only" parent, I would have preferred to home school my daughter. We make the best of what life throws at us and hope that, in the end, we get it right. I envy you... you and your children are very blessed.

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10 16

I think it is very important for them to socialise, learning social skills, sharing etc (especially if they are first children or only children) and to start learning the basics for going to school. I could definitely see that my daughter needed that extra stimulation from 22 months, and she LOVES going to school. It is however important to find a playgroup/school that is right for your child.

13
21 22

I agree with the other comments. My daughter is an only child, and her birthday falls slightly short of the cutoff for grade school. By sending her to preschool and pre-Kindergarten, she was well-prepared to begin Kindergarten at the age of four. Both her educators and I felt that holding her back a year would prove detrimental. When she was assessed for Kinder, she exceeded the requirements and actually placed in an advanced Kindergarten level. She did very well all year. Now she is about to enter first grade and is right on track in most subjects, but still slightly ahead in critical areas, like math. I think kids need a slight edge in order to keep up with the requirements and I know my daughter would have never achieved that had she not attended preschool.

6
2 63

As a 1st grade teacher (who works closely with kindergarten teachers) and a mom of 2, I feel preschool is very important. It is very obvious to us (teachers) who went and who didn't. I know there are many committed moms who take the time to research homeschooling, but there are many on the other end of the spectrum who believe "how hard can it be?" It's no longer just knowing how to count to 10 and identifying colors.

5
3 6

exactly! I've heard the same about teachers knowing the differene of a child who at least took stimulation classes!

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0 10

My son greatly benefited from Preschool. Before he went I thought he was well prepared and was just sending him to socialize. I now realize how important it is not only for social reason but academically. He is very advanced and was able to get into a high ability class for Kindergartens. He wouldn’t have had the opportunity if he had skipped preschool.

4
8 0

Today was my daughter's kindergarten assessment and they asked she had been to preschool. I answered NO. Preschool is not as important as many people like to make it out to be. Sure it is great for kids to socialize, but they can do the same at parks as well. My children have learned everything they know from me, and I take pride in that.

4
28 29

Pre-school is a wonderful introduction,for youngsters entering their early school years.My 5 year old daughter,is presently in pre-school and she is learning phonics,early reading and writing skills,as well as a mix of many other important skills,such as socialization,self discipline and independence.I spell words out to her and she writes whole sentences,without any difficulty.
She has learnt all of this through Pre-school.
They even did a 5 week course,on Circus skills,such as balancing,juggling,using hoola hoops etc,which is a great confidence builder,as well providing youngsters,with gross motor developmental skills.After the 5 weeks were up,they put on a very polished Circus performance,for the parents.
I have worked in long daycare,for over 25 years and I know how important it is,to give your child early opportunities,for socialization with their peers,prior to going into Grade 1.
Young children are like sponges,when it comes to storing and learning new skills and information.They are inquisitive,intelligent and ready to learn.
I personally believe,that you are doing your child a disservice,if you prevent them,from having opportunities,to learn and socialize,when great programs,such as pre-school are readily provided,in the community.
A child who has never been to daycare and who has never attended Kindy,or Pre-school,is going to generally be behind his peers,in early learning developmental areas,whether it be socially,emotionally,or physically,just because he,or she has not been exposed,to a 'rich' environment,of learning opportunities.
Even the greatest parent,in the World,cannot provide a child,with all of this alone.

2
2,843 7

I think it depends on the child. Some need it, some don't. If your child is going to be watched by someone anyway, you might as well have them learn something.

I don't plan on sending my kids to preschool. The free ones in my area are horrible and we can't afford a private one. I don't feel that my daughter would benefit from it. She gets a chance to play and be around other children through other activities. I feel that I can teach her just as well as a preschool teacher. Chances are my son will follow suit.

At the same time I'm not entirely for sending them to school anyway. Both my husband and I had horrible experiences in school, so we are terrified of the same thing happening to our children.

2
11 16

If you do little things at home and the daycare you choose works with the kids, not just babysits, that will be plenty. Preschool is basically another daycare. Once kids start kindergarten, where they are lacking they will be caught up pretty quick.

2
54 13

When I had my oldest (now 12) was little I didn't feel preschool was needed. I took care of the basics at home, ABCs colors, counting etc. When he started Kindergarten he was very behind. It is not what it was when I was in school. I put my older daughter (now 10) in preschool and it made enough of a difference that she was able to keep up in all areas and even exceed in reading. My younger two are 4 and 5 and had have been/ are going to preschool. My 5 year old can READ, not much but simple sight words she's able to sound out. My 4 year old is picking up reading quicly as well. when my oldest was 5 he could barely tell me the letter sounds even though he knew the entire alphabet. As far as socializing goes, children can gain experience in socializing without attending school.

2
3 6

I think it's very important since they learn how to make friends, cooperate, take turns, etc. My boy (21 months) went to a summer camp and in late August will start preschool; next year he'll be going to a different one probably a Montessori or Reggio Emilia philosophy. He did great in the camp and improved his language skills, I beleive by sharing with other toddlers.

2
0 20

I have three kids. My middle one was the first to go to preschool. She loved it, and it gave her a place to be creative, play with friends and not worry about OUR day to day hang ups getting in the way. My last one who is now 2 1/2 is actually in ELC, and started at 18 months. He is reading and does very well. We used to fight with ourselves and pick him up as soon as possible. After a while, we realized the same was true for him. It gave him a place where all they do is play. The teachers dont have to worry about making dinner or cleaning the house so if they want to play outside, they play outside. It makes playtime at home that more special too

1
2 8

I have an almost 4 year old boy. As an only child myself, I worried about his social skills early on. He did a mothers day out twice a week/5 hours each day at 2. He flourished and adjusted well being away from me. We decided to do pk3 at a private school, 5 days a week, 5 hours a day. He grew by leaps and bounds! He became less shy, made friends, began to amaze us with his vocabulary, began learning to read, write, sing, share and follow directions. Yes, all of this could have been done at home, but he would have missed the bonding with both boys and girls. He loved his teachers, was in two musicals, shared in many parties and learned the importance of following directions from adults, not just his parents. He will begin pk4 in two weeks and is excited to go back. He did the same mothers day out program this summer to keep some structure of "school". I understand not all agree, but I think for my son, it is essential for his growth that he attends pk.

1
5 0

I think preschool is exceptionally important, but that it need not be every day or a full day. I'm not worried about my daughter learning her letters and numbers there - a minor head start on academic subjects in kindergarten doesn't automatically translate to success in upper grades. Studies have shown that kids who do best in school and in life have excellent control over their executive functions, something that daycare can help reinforce.

Kids act out with their own parents. It's part of being a toddler. Their job is to test limits and explore. At daycare/preschool, they have the opportunity to learn not only from the adults, but from the other kids. She learns how to sit quietly in Morning Circle, eat nicely with her fork and not climb on her chair at mealtimes, use the toilet, etc. Sure, we practice this at home, but it really sticks when she sees the other kids doing it. I know the daycare is the influence because we have worked on mealtime behaviour (which was not emphasised at her old daycare), but once it was introduced at her new daycare, she "got it" within 2 days.

I think my daughter will do quite well in grade school with the preparation of being in a structured environment, along with the one-on-one time I can give her in the afternoons.

0
32 0

It depends on the child. Some children have a lot of opportunity to interact with other kids socially at daycare or playgroups and others don't. Some kids are naturally better in social circumstances than others. My son is 3 and we are putting him in preschool next year for just 1 year before going to kindergarten. Right now he doesn't have a lot of social interactions with other kids except his brother and cousins but he is naturally good socially. I think it will be helpful for his transition but I'm sure he'd also be okay if we decided not to send him. I think a mom or dad should trust their instincts in this situation.

0
0 0

I believe it's important for a child to have the social skills and the developmental skill prior to starting school so they know what to expect when starting grade school. It's really up to the parents and what their beliefs are as far as preschool goes whether or not they go or not.

0
0 31

I believe preschool is important on many different levels. Obviously socialization, beginnings of academics, learning the structure of a classroom and the manners that go along with it and learning to cope without a parent there for those children who may have a harder time with separation anxiety. I am fortunate that I work from home and have my kids with me most every day... but i was able to put my oldest into a program once a week for 3hrs starting at age 2. This was helpful for all the reason above... and to progress as he got older to preschool into a program 2days a week.. then 3 days a week was what HE needed. The extra stimulation that he wasn't necessarily getting by being with his parents but rather with other children and adults without our interference.

0
0 0

Preschool is very essential especially for toddlers whose mothers go to work. Socially, preschool enables toddlers to acqaint themselves with their peers and academically too, they learn a lot of things; ranging from good speech, morals etc. Experience has shown that children who had a presechool opportunity fare better academically than those who did not. They learn faster and have longer retention than their peers.

0
0 1

I feel it totally depends on your child's needs. If you have a child that you feel like is suggling with something like a speech problem for example I think it is really good for them to spend time with their peers.. For example, my 2nd child had some minor problems with speech but after she went a preschool 3 days a week for 3 hours it really improved some of those sounds she just could not quite get. I think spending time talking with kids her own age helped to speak more clearly because big sister was not there to translate for her forcing her to from the words on her own. However I would not have a child spend extensive amounts of time at that age at preschool . I think a full day, 5 days a week is way to much for a child to handle at that age. They still need mom to much. Plus think it is helpful a child to have a slow transition bettween home life and school life.

0
7 14

In my view preschool is very imp. for a toddler...My own child is so different and not happy when he does not go to school...the days he goes to school he in such a good mood. May be for some kids its not true as it differs from child to child. I have 2 kids and both went to play schools not daycares.

0
0 22

I have been doing montessori for 7 years and I stopped when I had my twins. I stayed home with them for 2 1/2 years went back to teaching Montessori then stayed home again when we had our baby. So when my twins were 4 we put them in a pre-school, the girls had such a great time met some amazing friends, put they didn't learned as much as I had hope. I knew that it would be different then Montessori but I was to sad to see that they didn't care to read on their own or do math. They are about to start Kindergarten so I am not sure if it helped them or not. All I know is that they really loved going to that preschool and they didn't miss a day the whole year. Some kids don't do so well in Montessori and for one of twins that is true. I don't know what we will do with the younger one .

0
0 14

I'm a stay at home mom of a family that is considered low-income. My daughter (4) was in Home Start last year (teacher comes to the house for 1 hour a week and they go into the Head Start every other Friday for 3 hours) it was nice because they included my 2 year old son in everything . I saw a big difference in in my daughter both in socialization and learning. I try to teach my kids but sometimes it takes someone other than a parent to get them to listen and I learned different methods. I'm not sure if she will get into Head Start this year or will be in Home Start again but either way I know she will benefit. My only doubts are from if she is in Head Start my son won't be included (he misses the cut off by only 3 weeks) but then he & l get some one-on-one time that we have never had.
If we had the money to send the kids to preschool we would but I will continue with Home Start or Head Start along with me working with them.

0
11 21

My oldest boy (now 8) never went to preschool. I taught him all the basics like the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. When he started kindergarden, he had a very hard time keeping up both academically and socially. Then, in 1st. grade, he had even more trouble and I had to hold him back a year. He is now about to start 2nd. grade and is doing much better. My youngest son is 2 1/2 and I will be putting him in preschool very soon. I don't want him to struggle the way my oldest son did.

0
10 87

My husband and I think it is a very important step in our son and any child's life. But the sad thing is where we live there is no way we would be able to afford it. And that just breaks my heart. We were so excited about it and everyone said you'd want to get your child's name on the list as soon as you can, but when we started looking in to all of them we were so surprised. We are still going to try and do it somehow because it is that important in our eyes. It is so good for them all around. ~♥~

0
1 6

very important academically

0
3 13

One of my children went, one didn't, and one is going to start next month. My oldest didn't need to go, he made friends easily, listened to instruction, and could do a lot of the things he would have learned in kindergarten before he went to kindergarten. My middle child went, and it showed, her kindergarten teacher even commented on it. She needed to learn better how to take instruction, she knew all of her basics and even quite a bit more. she went 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. My youngest is going to go starting next month. She will go one day a week for 2 1/2 hours. She also knows all of her basics and much more, but she needs the away time from Mommy so it's not quite such a shock when she is gone all day 5 days a week. All 3 of mine have always been very social. My oldest has always been well above average, without preschool. My 7 yr old is well above average too, and she went to preschool. I don't really think preschool makes that much difference. one went, one didn't, and they have always been pretty even in school.

0
27 37

If preschool was Free my 5 year old would have gone. However I feel although he is ready to start Kindergarten in Sept. We will see how it works out.

0
0 10

Check with your local school district, most have pre-k programs just for the year before Kindergarten, if not Head Start, while being very strict in regard to attendance, charges based on what you can afford to pay. Good luck!

1 1

The structure and stimulation is essential. The move from home to school is enormous and if they have never had a taste of the structure of a school environment it is very difficult for the child to adjust. It's not to say that a mother cannot provide either of these things but not in the same style a s a school situation. I am a teacher and it is plainly obvious which children have attended pre-school.

0
2 5

I think it is different for every kid and parent. My 3 1/2 year old goes to preschool just twice a week because he is a social butterfly and LOVES it. That being said, I really don't think it is necessary so long as the parents do basic kindergarten prep at home and expose them to a variety of different social situations with other children. Let kids be kids.

0
1 28

I think it is VERY important. My daughter was able to go to preschool and I will say, had she not had that opportunity she would not have done as well as she did in Kindergarten. I think it's even more important for boys. My son will be going through the same program starting this month. I really feel that if he didn't, he would have a lot of problems in Kindergarten. Boys have A LOT of energy, and tend to have more trouble learning how to sit still (I know not all boys have this issue, I just think it's more common in boy's). Also, if you haven't had a child in Kindergarten yet, you will be shocked at how much they need to know before even getting to Kindergarten. If they don't already know these things, they will start off behind.

0
7 6

This may be the age old argument of nature vs. nurture... I don't feel that it's fair to say that boys have more energy than girls and have a harder time learning to sit still... Perhaps many parents have a preconcieved notion of how girls should behave and how boys should behave and if they dont expect their young boys to be able to sit still as well as their young girls it shows. I believe it is dependent on a child and not on a gender, and also how a child was raised. It's not fair to stereotype by gender is all I'm saying.

6 20

Our daughter is an only child and has been cared for at home since birth. I took a job that had on-site pre-school / pre-k and kindergarten and decided to enroll for two days / week. Before that she had weekly swim and gymnastics lessons, but felt that the structure of "school" and the emphasis on cooperation, sharing, patience would all be good. She was already ahead (age to school readiness parameters) so should have been in the toddler daycare room at 2+ but they put her in the pre-school. We've seen a great improvement in her socialization, emergent writing and just general adaptability. Full disclosure - she'd been asking to "go to school on the yellow bus" since before her second birthday so we figured it would be good. I have her at home now for the summer and we're continuing with the same type of structure and work together to emulate "academics". She'll be back in pre-school in the fall and it'll be interesting to see how she does with the "first-timers".

0
10 66

Well I have two children and I feel pre school is important. It helps kids get used to other kids (besides their sibling). Besides them going to pre school is not just God for the child but also the parent . They need it just like you need them to.

0
8 10

I feel preschool is extremely important for toddlers. Like the other posts mentioned, it really helps prepare them for kindergarden. My son started in a summer preschool program 2 days a week for a month and now will begin regular preschool August 7. He is an only child and on the last day of summer preschool I was able to walk him in, sign him in, give a kiss good bye without him crying hysterically. Of course that was the LAST day so I'll have to start that over again but preschool also helps with separation anxiety. Since preschool is only 3 hours and kindergarden is usually all day (?) it'll prepare them for being in a classroom environment almost all day.
It just helps a lot and they do learn so much that they wouldn't have learned staying at home.

0
5 16

My son turned 3 in April. He has been registered for preschool that will begin in September. He had previously been in daycare but it provided no structure. This past summer he attended bible school and enjoyed it. I believe preschool helps with little ones' vocabulary, social needs, and how to interact with others. I believe it will be good for them.

0
2 0

As a Kindergarten teacher, I feel preschool is very important for socialization and general introduction to school, taking turns, letters/numbers/writing, etc etc. Even if you only go a few days/half days it definitely helps. Kindergarten is not what is used to be--it is very academic now. In saying that, parents know what is best for their own children! :)

0
8 7

I think it depends on the child. My daughter is 4 and should be going to preschool but it would be like puting her in a daycare and i'm not going to do that to her. She is too smart for that she can read, write and count to 100. I'm homeschooling her kindergarten this year and when she's actually Old enough to go to "school" we may consider puting her in a private school or somewhere that will actually stimulate her if we can't find it I will continue homeschooling. As for the socialization part, She's in soccer, ballet and music class Plus we are members of our local homeschool group which gets together for Pe Etc.

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