is it really necessary to send my 4 1/2 to preschool or can i just send him to a long day care ,i find preschool very expensive compared to day care centres

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Rebekah - posted on 02/04/2013

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It depends on what is offered at each, and who is providing it. Some day cares have an educational component built in (like a pre-K), while others don't. Look at the day cares you are considering, what the schedule consists of, if there are any educational targets that they set, and who is providing instruction (in other words, what is the educational level of the people working with the kids).

Many preschools have teachers with more teaching experience and a higher level of education than daycare workers (it depends, so you have to check), so if you are paying more, part of it may be because you are paying for more educated staff and an educational curriculum.

Preschool isn't a requirement to kindergarten, but I think its very valuable. I'm sure you'll hear various opinions on this, but I think it prepares them well for the school atmosphere, routine/structure, expectations, and gives them a nice introduction to foundations for reading and math (and science and cultures, and so on). Socially, its awesome for them to learn how to deal with each other and follow rules, etc. They can get the social part in daycare, but the academics may be a different matter. What I hear from kindergarten teachers is that they can often see a difference in kids who have had preschool versus those who haven't in the beginning of the year... however, till the year is done, those who haven't had preschool typically catch up to their peers who have. If there are any teachers out there who want to comment on this, please do! It would be interesting. Regardless, my son did well with preschool and I wouldn't change a thing. I think he entered kindergarten more confident and prepared than if he hadn't had it. He's a bright kid who was ready for more academic content early on.

Visit both types of settings, talk to administrators, observe the classes, if you are permitted, and see what you think. Good luck.

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