- July 15, 2011
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My daughter is four. She is not in preschool.
There, I said it.
Does this make me a terrible mother? I certainly don’t think so, but to many it makes me the worst kind of mother. Not only is she not in preschool, but because of our state’s age cut off date she won’t start kindergarten until just before she turns six. A whole year and a half from now.
The best part, is that I get to choose the kids she spends time with now
My husband and I talked long and hard about preschool and whether or not it was right for our family. I went to preschool as a child, and he didn’t. Both of us have the same level of college education, and are both equally as social. We toured all the local facilities and listened to all of our friends who were desperately trying to get us to enroll our daughter with their kids. People said things to us like, “She’s so smart! How can you justify holding her back?” The truth of the matter, is that I don’t believe we are holding her back at all.
She is at this moment learning to read. She knows all of her letters and letter sounds. She can write (and has better handwriting than her dad!). She can count to about 200 if she is in the mood. She is also understands basic adding and subtraction. This is stuff that we have worked into our every day play time at home. We are social, and spend time with other kids her age, and kids who are both older and younger. The best part, is that I get to choose the kids she spends time with now. I know their parents, and the moral code by which they parent. I know their kids will have a positive influence on mine. Once my kids are in school, I lose that control.
He is a completely different child, it is absolutely amazing. Preschool was the right decision for them
I worked for a brief time in a private school working with kindergarteners. Let’s face it, we weren’t able to discipline them. Not in a way that truly made any impact. I learned that there is no way to filter out the kids who had behavioral issues and that sometimes the other kids picked up the bad behaviors. This was my experience, and I am fully aware that it may not be the case everywhere. However, that experience made me realize that I have very little time working one-on-one with my kids. And I have worked far too hard on their behaviors to risk losing it.
I am not one to say that all preschools are bad, and that all kids will benefit from staying home. One of my best friends has a son who was painfully shy. She enrolled him in a preschool program a year ago and in that year that boy has blossomed! He is a completely different child, it is absolutely amazing. Preschool was the right decision for them. Conversely, I have seen kids go to school and come home with all sorts of new behavioral problems.
All that being said, preschool is a very personal choice, it works for some and isn’t necessary for others. Go with your gut on whether or not it’s right for your family. You are the parent after all. Do not fall into the pressure trap that tells you in no uncertain terms that you only love your child and care about their education if you enroll them in every early childhood program you can find.
Kids have at least 12 years of school ahead of them, but such a small window when they can stay home and be with their parents.