Is pre school really necessary for a child before starting school??

Amanda - posted on 07/01/2012 ( 34 moms have responded )

1,675

13

304

My son is 4 and will be starting school January next year.
I am having a hard time trying to get him into a preschool. Some of the centres have no vacancies at all or have long waiting lists and others have told me that the earliest I can get in is November which is really no good to me.

Anyway, is it really that important that I need to get him in before school???

Both my kids are extremely well socialised with kids older, younger and the same ages as themselves. They interact and play well with other kids and I leave them in a creche with qualified carers for (I know it's not long) 1-2 hours 5 days a week. He knows a couple of kids that will be going to the same school as him from creche.

He did attend pre school up until a year ago one day a week and I never had a problem with him going or leaving him, we took him out for financial reasons but we can now afford to send him again.

Now I'm in 2 minds as to whether to pursue sending him or just keep him home with me until school.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 07/06/2012

26,042

36

3891

They only do one year of preschool (4yr old) here right before starting school (Kindergarten here, Prep in Victoria, 5 yr old).

Amanda - posted on 07/05/2012

1,675

13

304

Jodie, he knows more than alot of kids his age and older. He can recognise all his letters by sight, he knows alot of the sounds the letters make, he can write his own name and is confident with writing most letters. He is able to spell and write the names of most family members, hes a whizz with his shapes and colours, has a very basic grasp of fraction and volume, he can do very simple addition and subtraction, is learnming to tell the time and we're working on basic reading skills. I'm not worried about him being left behind.

Shelly - posted on 07/02/2012

61

0

0

It is completely optional, and entirely your choice. I never went to preschool, and I never had any problems at school, and I suspect that many if not most parents my age never went either. If you are actively involved with him at home, and he regularly interacts with other children, he should have no problem at all. After all, kindergarten is supposed to prepare for school. So do we really "need" preschool to prepare for kindergarten? Will we also "need" pre-pre-school to prepare for preschool? It sounds like you are doing well on the social aspect; if you are actively involved in teaching him things like counting, shapes, writing his name, letters if you think he's ready, etc, he will be fine.

Louise - posted on 07/02/2012

5,429

69

2296

There is nothing wrong with keeping him home if you cant find one to place him at. What pre schools are used for in the UK is to introduce children to their future class mates, make sure they can write their name and recognise their name for coat hooks and lost clothes! Also the teachers from the school come and visit and start a relationship with the kids so that they are relaxed when entering class. Pre school then spends the afternoon in the new class rooms witht the children already there and play in the playground to get them used to the environment. They get a tour of the school, showing them where the toilets are and the canteen and such. They watch plays put on by the other kids and are generally eased into school life the term before they go.

Pre school also teaches them about structure of the day. Sitting down for registration, putting your coat on your coat hook, lining up to go outside, basic writing and math skills, and most of all learning how to take your turn when sitting in a group and having enough confidence to ask for the toilet or for help. All these things are different when you have one to one attention from mum and not one in a group.

I have to say that having been a pre school teacher and a class assistant there is a big divide between kids that have been to preschool and those that have not. If mum is pro learning at home the child is normally smarter because they have had one to one teaching, but, they are shy, have trouble fitting in with a group, and lack confidence to speak out in a class full of kids. Mums that have not sat at home and taught have children that are shy and quite a bit behind in writing, maths and social skills.

If you are willing to put the effort in at home and really push to get him socialised in his new school he will be fine. It is a lot of work as foundation stage learning starts the year before school.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

34 Comments

View replies by

Miss - posted on 07/11/2012

8

0

0

No. Not necessary. In fact, if he is a slow learner, it could prove detrimental. Keep him home and help him learn yourself this year. Slowly get him ready to be sitting in class for an extended period and what it's like to grow intellectually.

Amanda - posted on 07/09/2012

1,675

13

304

Pamela, he already knows all those things and has done for a long time, he was recognising the difference in different shades of the same colours, light and dark blues, greens, reds and aqua was one of the first colours he learnt. My 2 yr old knows these things as well.
We read every day and night, I loose count of the amounts of books we can read in a day.

Pamela - posted on 07/06/2012

711

9

6

Pre-school is not necessary, but you should be trying to teach him the things he would learn there such as basic colors (red, yellow, blue, green, orange, brown, black, white, purple) and basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) and of course the alphabet. These are things that will be repeated in Kindergarten but also more shapes like trapezoid, etc. are also taught now in Kindergarten. Also basic animals...cat, dog, bird, etc.

There are countless teaching books in libraries for children and most libraries lend books for 3 weeks at a time. Set aside a 20 minute time period each day....preferably before lunch time and sit and teach these things It is also good to read to your child each day. An easy time to schedule that is bedtime. It gives the child some last minute attention before sleep and also tends to calm the child down as long as the story is not an exciting one! LOL!!!

There are also books that teach about feelings and manners. There are so many wonderful children's books that can be used as teaching tools. You should have no problem finding lots of them.

Jodi - posted on 07/06/2012

26,042

36

3891

And just to add, from what I gather, the government preschools in NSW are really cheap (like $20 or something) so they are close to free. It's just that they are not available in many areas.

Aleks - posted on 07/06/2012

546

0

46

Which kinder are you talking about Jodi.

Here in Vic this is the way things go:
3-4yo kinder (no subsidy from government)
4-5yo kinder (subsidy from governement)

Prep (or grade 0) attached to school - its a preparatory year, typically started when child is 5years old (but a 4yo can also start if they turn 5 before April of that year). This is basically a volunatry payment of whatever it is that the school deems appropriate/typical, etc.

Just thought I would ask to make sure we are comparing apples to apples, instead of apples to oranges.

Jodi - posted on 07/06/2012

26,042

36

3891

Um, no, the government ones attached to schools here in ACT are free. You'd think I'd know, I live here and my kids have been through the system, so you can tell me I'm wrong all you like, they ARE free! There is a VOLUNTARY contribution to the school of $60, but it is voluntary not compulsory. So yep, they are free. Maybe they just aren't free in YOUR state..

Aleks - posted on 07/06/2012

546

0

46

I have never heard of "free" pre-schools/kindergartens. You have to pay. I do believe that the 4yo program is heavily subsidised by the governement but you still have to pay. I was also under the impression, that with the new legislation from the federal government, that basically states that every child has to have a place in a kidner/pre-school program prior to starting school at grade 0/prep/kindergarden, or whatever else it is called, depending on the state you live in.
However, if the child is attending crache/day-care, then like I said before, these centres run these types of kinder/preschool type programs so this is where you would be more likely to get a place - if you so wished.

Jodie - posted on 07/05/2012

79

37

0

If they are well socialised with other children, that side of things but most children attend preschool will have learnt the basics ready for when they start big school. How is your son with his letters, numbers etc. If he's up with his peers and he's ok being left then I wouldn't worry about preschool

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2012

26,042

36

3891

My brother lives on NSW south coast too, and they have no free pre-schools in their area either. They were lucky to get their kids into one, but it's extremely pricey from what I understand.

If he is already in creche, then they would be working on all of these skills in their program anyway, so I think you'll be fine.

Amanda - posted on 07/03/2012

1,675

13

304

Thanks Jodi, I am south coast NSW and there are no free preschool placements in our area, I wish there were because I would have jumped on them along time ago.

He is more than capable of doing all the things you mentioned on his own, and does so everyday that he is in creche. Occassionally he needs a reminder to wash his hands, but I think alot of kids do at this age.
I took him into school and he was there when I went through the enrolment process, he wasn't phased by the surrondings or the bigger kids. He's really excited about starting and wearing a uniform and everday he asks how long until he goes to big school. I've explained that he will be there 5 days a week and that I will take him in with the other kids in the morning and leave him there. That there will be lots of boys and girls that he will make friends with, learn, play and have lunch with and I will pick him up in the afternoon. He's itching to go so I think he's emotionally ready and capable of dealing with school

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2012

26,042

36

3891

Amanda, I am in ACT, and we have a lot of free preschool placements, so I did put my kids in preschool. However, having experienced kindergarten at school, I don't see that pre-school is absolutely essential. The most important aspects for starting at school will be their social and emotional maturity, and their level of independence on every day tasks (so making sure they are able to unwrap their lunches, use the toilets, wash their hands, all the things they need to do on their own). They generally need to have a basic knowledge of the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes, etc, but all of these are things you can teach at home.

I worked with some Kindergarten children when my daughter was in Kindy, and believe me, some children were still not reading or recognising letter sounds by half way through the year. All kids learn this at different paces. They really just want them to be ready emotionally. The ONLY child I was aware of that year whose parents had to end up taking her out and placing her in a second year of pre school was not emotionally ready for the school environment, and from my knowledge, they are the ones who struggle. If you are able to provide her the social and emotional support from home, as well as focus on some of those basic learning areas and developing her independence, then I don't think she will be disadvantaged by not having attended pre-school.

Amanda - posted on 07/03/2012

1,675

13

304

Aleksandra, I am in Australia and they can only offer a priority placement to him if they have one avaliable. They can't squeeze him in if they are already at capacity.
Where I live they are able to start kindy, which is their first year of school, at 4 if they turn 5 before the end of July that year. There's no such thing as part time kindy places where I am. So I don't have that option.
I wish it was more like the UK where they get a free preschool placement for every child that is attached to the school they are going too.

Jackie - posted on 07/03/2012

6

23

0

Amanda,
I am a 35 year tenured preschool teacher in the states. I work in West Virginia and have seen the school system's expectations rise and rise. Without preschool here, the Kindergarten student can be so far behind. Very few children here don't attend preschool. I had 3s and 4s for several years and back to only 4s this year. Boys tend to mature slower than girls especially when it comes to sitting and attending to a task. Also, they have fine motor control issues. I have a son and he was born in December and so he started school and turned 5 in preschool. Having that edge has really helped him. I have told parents that if they didn't send their child to preschool at 4, then send them at 5 before going to what we call Kindergarten here. They have to learn to read and attend to tasks all day in that class. Unlike one mother said, school is not a bad place for emotional development. That all depends on the teacher and her assistant and there are some that are more motherly than others. No two people do any job exactly alike. I also think it is a shame that you don't have univeral preschool which requires a spot for every 4 year old somewhere in your area. I know it seems we are pushing kids but keeping yours out of school is not going to change that. I would like to turn back the clock but they don't ask us what is best so we have to try to adapt and use the cirriculum that is set before us. I don't put my children at desks, EVER.Brittany mentioned that and that is not appropriate in preschool. We sit on a rug and have little tables for play activities as well as our areas like the house, art, block and small toys. The tables are used at play time as much as any other time. I read to them and have discussion with them about so many things. They love to learn. We even grew butterflies and my children knew that stages of a caterpillar to get him to a butterfly. Learning to share and show respect for others is so important. The larger the class size, the harder it is for them and we have 20, four days a week. We have nap time in the afternoon and sometimes we watch books on our smartboard. It is awesome. It is a huge board mounted on the wall that is essentially a big computer screen. It can take us on the internet, to preschool sites and you can find books that are read to the children. If you want to let them watch a movie, it will play DVDs. I have activities where they take turns and they cheer each other on. They learn so much and don't even know they are learning because they are having fun. If you can find a program where the teacher knows what developmentally appropriate education is, please send your son. You should be allowed to go and check it out and see what they do.

Aleks - posted on 07/03/2012

546

0

46

Amanda, where are you?

As far as I understand and know, if you live in Australia, it is pretty much a must that the local munipal area HAS to offer a 4yo kinder place! A day care is different, however. A day care is a business, so it does not have to offer places. But an actual kindergarten does!

And as for the nay sayers. A kindergarden typically, here in Australia, for 4-5yo runs somewhere between 10-15hours A WEEK. It is not a 5 days a week 9am-3pm type of experience. This type of hours don't start until the child is actually *AT* school from around 5-6 years old (depending on state the child lives in of course), and even then, majority of schools have shortened hours for the first term or two for these first timers, too (eg, my child's school has a 4 day week for the first term, at least - other schools have shorter hours per day, etc).

Dove - posted on 07/03/2012

5,806

0

1336

'Necessary'? No, but I do feel that preschool is an important step. My older kids went and my youngest is in it now. I do know a few kids that had no preschool experience and ended up thriving in K. I also know a few kids that didn't have preschool experience that really struggled to adjust when they started K.

It's really a personal decision and there is no absolute right or wrong answer for EVERY kid/family, but I feel that if you CAN make it work... it's worth it and if you can't.... don't stress about it.

Amanda - posted on 07/03/2012

1,675

13

304

Chaya, we bake all the time, probably way more than we should. I also do water and sand play with him so he has a vague grasp of fractions and volume.

I've had him on waiting lists at at least 6 preschools in my area for the last year, all said at the time I should be able to get him in but there is a major child care shortage and I just can't get him in anywhere. I'm lucky that he has been able to experience a preschool environment until recently

[deleted account]

I don't think so. I think we push our children into school too quickly and don't give them a chance to be children. Education is important, but it isn't helping anyone to force small children to sit at a desk for hours on end. Emotional development is more important during those early years. Sadly preschools and school in general is horrible for emotional development.

Keri - posted on 07/03/2012

363

40

0

In terms of preschool being necessary, I would have to say yes. It's not REQUIRED though. Our son is 5 and about to enter kindergarten in the 2012-13 school year. He is going to a Catholic school and they did a "kindergarten readiness test" on him and there were a few areas where he did not meet expectations. After talking with the school's psychologist, I know these areas are definitely things that would have been covered in preschool. Also, he can barely write his name or hold a pencil correctly. We keep driving this things in his head at home, but when he went to a daycare/preschool, he actually paid attention and listened to his teachers. He does not have the structure required to go to school, and the school has recommended their "kindergarten boot camp" which will teach him some of the things he's lacking, as well as get him used to a classroom atmosphere with other students and a teacher. I would have to say my son's as social as a kid comes - he gets along with older, younger and kids his own age, like yours. Interacting well and playing with those kids is a lot different than sitting down to a structured school day with them. If you can afford it, I would recommend you put him back in.

I have a friend right now who has the right idea - she's investigating preschools for her 2 year old (to start attending when she's 4!)

Sally - posted on 07/03/2012

963

14

8

Attending preschool can have academic benefits that last until the second grade. It can also cause an increase in behavior problems that can last a lifetime. It was invented to get kids away from their families at a younger age so the state could have more time to indoctrinate them. It has become way of turning them into good little "cogs in the machine" before they're expected to actually learn anything. They'll learn as much from you living life with them (maybe even more) as they will at "school" and at home they'll be learning social skills from adults who care about them instead of from other small children.

Aleks - posted on 07/03/2012

546

0

46

Don't stress over the alphabet and numbers per se... As that is what school is going to teach him (I'm assuming you live either in Aust or NZ given the time of starting school being in Jan). This is what happened with my son and how the school approached the grade 0 or prep (or anyother name they have for that year, depending on where you live).

Personally, I believe, just like Sherri mentioned, that it does make a difference. Its not just about learning the abc's or 1 2 3s. Its not just about learning the structure (which is one of the things that IS being taught at 4yo kinder) of days. Yes, socialisation is important and that is also an aspect of kinder (including sharing in a setting where there is more than just 3-4kids) - which, if he attends day care/crache type of setting, he will get.

What is quite important is the "independence" which is learned along the way to go to the toilet, deal with others, follow instructions, cope in a day-to-day setting, etc etc.
These things cannot be practiced at home. They are taught at home, but the "independence" of these is then practiced in a setting such as a kinder program or crache. Also, most craches run a 4yo kinder program. Perhaps you can ask the centre where he attends about this.
However, if he is starting school next year, then you are leaving this thing too late, as he probably should have been in kinder program already, so of course no kindergarten or crache would have places, now!

Chaya - posted on 07/03/2012

737

0

229

Something you may wish to do is bake with him. It'll teach him a bit of science, give him a bit of grasp of fractions, and you can eat your results.

Amanda - posted on 07/03/2012

1,675

13

304

Thanks ladies. I do alot of home based activities with him. He's known his alphabet and been able to recognise all his letters, shapes and colours since he turned 2. He does know some of the letter sounds and I am working with him to learn the rest and start reading small words.
He's able to spell out basic words like family members names and can write them all with limited help.
He's a whizz with problem solving and sequence patterns, he has a vivid imagination and we play lots of memory games.

He thrives on having a structured day so I don't think that aspect will phase him. Every where I take him has rules that need to be followed and he has been in a pre school/day care environment since he was 6 months old up until he was 3 1/2 so he is aware of how to conduct himself.

It's not looking hopeful for a preschool placement so I think the final decision will be out of my hands.

Chaya - posted on 07/02/2012

737

0

229

If the child is happy, healthy and not in danger, keep him home. In Oregon, there were no public preschools, many people just didn't bother, thatt's fine. My daughter however, went and really loved it.

Jennifer - posted on 07/02/2012

47

6

1

There is no preschool here where I live so it's obviously not "necessary".... The closest one is 240 kms away... Obviously I can't send them there! I think it's absolutely your own personal choice.

Sherri - posted on 07/02/2012

9,593

15

387

Yes ask any Kindergarten teacher and they will tell you it is important to get used to the rules, structure and simply how to behave in a school setting. You can almost always tell the children who attended and those that did not.

Alexandra - posted on 07/02/2012

581

24

1

i think it is really your decision. I think there is nothing wrong with preschool, on the contrary, i think it just adds to their skills, immaginations and individuality. We are planning for all our kids to go to preschool.

Samantha - posted on 07/02/2012

120

0

2

If you take the effort at home to teach him basic reading, writing, and math skills then you should be fine. I teach pre-K kids and most of the ones I teach have a grasp of ABC, phonetic sounds, and numbers to 100 with basic addition and subtraction before they go to kindergarten. Also, concepts like sequence, logic, cause-and-effect, and memorization are important to teach as well.

Kansas - posted on 07/02/2012

34

27

0

In Missouri future kindergarteners have to take a "test" in order to get into kindergarten...pre-school is very good at preparing kids for that test. However the test is available on-line for anybody to retreive. I'd check your cities district website to see if there is a kindergarten test and spend sometime this summer practicing it with your son. Good luck!

Elfrieda - posted on 07/02/2012

2,620

0

458

No, I don't think it's necessary. Most kids I know are in preschool as an alternative to daycare, so people who stay home don't send them. Since your son already knows some kids who will be in his class, I think you're good to go.

Amanda - posted on 07/02/2012

1,675

13

304

Thanks Louise.
I have always made sure both kids are well socialised and confident in asking for things that they need and answering questions when being spoken to. His confidence in group situations, especially with older kids than himself seem to be growing all the time.
He has no problems in putting his hand up to answer questions or voice his opinion in a group situation.
There are a few kids that will be attending the same school as him at the creche that he seems to play really well with. The carers there have said he is more than ready for school as have a few mums who are primary school teachers.

He is really good with waiting his turn, sharing and foolowing rules and instructions (so I have been told, at home is totally different :)

I'd love to get him into pre school but I kinda want him home with me too. He's really excited about starting school and learning new things and playing with new friends.

I will keep putting in the effort with him to make sure he is well and truly prepared for what school has in store. I have an information leaflet about the transition to school and what they would like them to be able to do, you're right alot of it is the social aspect and structure of their day, as well as being able to recognise their name and personal belongings, and being able to take themselves to the toilet. All of which we are ok with but I will still work with him so he is prepared for his first day.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms