To Preschool, or not to Preschool?

Well, it’s my question anyway. I kind of wonder how other parents make these choices for their kids. How do you choose whether to send your child at three or at four or at all? See, this keeps coming up as a choice, primarily because Fiona keeps asking to go. We have added pressure now because one of her friends, who’s only a few weeks older than her, is going this year.

I can see a lot of pro’s and con’s. I can also see my own inherent bias. It’s hard to argue with the idea of a three-hour break every day.

On the list of Pro’s

Fiona wants to go.
Fiona is bored at home.
Fiona wants more time with other kids.
Preschool is healthier than screen time.
Preschool will be good socialization.
The teachers have training in teaching.
It would be a three-hour break every day.

On the list of Con’s:

The preschool I’d like is very expensive (Montessori). Though there is a free option (State).
Fiona may not like it as much as she thinks.
Fiona may struggle with the other kids.
Fiona will be one of the youngest kids in the class.
Fiona doesn’t really sit still for long yet. (Though she can when she’s engaged.)
I would be shortening the part of her life where she gets to just be a baby and nothing else.
I would probably miss her.
Fiona might pick up bad habits from other kids.
Jeff isn’t at all convinced that she should go this year.


So, we’re left with a dilemma. Do we send her to preschool? Do I let her have another year of being a baby? What do I tell her when she argues that her friend gets to go? What is the right answer? What did you choose? What do you think?


4 thoughts on “To Preschool, or not to Preschool?

  1. Although I did not attend pre-school as a child, I was also not the oldest or the only child in my family, so I benefitted from one-on-one time with both my parents when my brothers were off to school. That being said, not being a parent yet, I look forward to learning from your decision, and the advice you recieive. On this one I will freely admit at this time I have no significant helpful insight to *sighs*

  2. Just from someone with no experience with being a parent, but thinking about what I was like at her age…I’d recommend trying it. Preschool’s less demanding than regular school and really gives that environment to learn how to be around other kids without a parent around. And if you don’t like what’s happening or you feel like she’s really not ready after all, you can always pull her out. Preschool teachers…the good ones at least…know how to handle all forms of kids.

    I can understand her desire to learn and be in the school setting. My mom started homeschooling my brother and I at 2 (basically doing what you’re doing now with Fiona) and my brother and I really excelled at learning. So there’s nothing wrong with skipping preschool either. However, the one regret I had over being homeschooled at that age, was that my mom didn’t have any sort of group she was a part of to socialize us at that point. I think that contributed to my never really understanding other kids. A couple years after “preschool” age for my brother and I, my mom took a part-time preschool teaching job. We would go with her sometimes and I remember thinking even then at 5 that preschool would have been a great thing for my brother and I. However, kindergarten was a completely different story. My parents decided to put us in regular school for it. Both my brother and I were way ahead of where the average kiddo was in learning so we got really bored really easily. My brother was a little parrot and didn’t understand why other kids would make fun of him and he got too social to focus on learning in that environment. And my teacher didn’t catch on to the fact that I wasn’t socializing at all. I always played and worked by myself and never talked with anyone. After about 4 months of being in kindergarten, my parents pulled both of us out and started homeschooling again. However this time they found a group of other homeschooling parents that met a few times a week. This group was great, because each parent rotated out on teaching classes like art, PE, etc. (the ones that are harder for some parents to teach on their own or without a group of kids). So we got the freedom to be kids but we still got some of the structure of school. I personally think that was the best type of schooling, but it’s really hard to find groups like that.

  3. I actually never considered NOT doing preschool… Is that weird? I was very ready for a break, and truth be told, at that time we were new to the community, and I desperately needed preschool as a way for her to socialize. I chose a co-op preschool for a lot of different reasons. It’s still play based, though not montessori (but that is one of the concepts I like best about montessori). I love that I get to know the other students, parents and especially her teacher–it’s been a benefit for all of us, as I think it’s made me a better parent. Now, here’s another thing–I don’t give a rat’s patootie about academics at this age. Again… is that weird? My biggest concern for her is the social stuff, latent learning, etc. Without preschool, would my kid thrive in Kindergarten? Maybe… but I know my kid, and it’s been hugely helpful for all the stuff I forgot that I ever needed to learn: hanging up her coat, puttting things away, recognizing a daily routine, transitioning from one activity to the next, addressing her own needs (i.e. I need a drink of water, I need to blow my nose, etc.), solving her own problems (using her words to tell Timmy, I don’t like it when you poke me, as opposed to tattlingto me, etc). Truly, once she gets to kindergarten, she will be prepared to sit still, follow directions, maintain her attention span, etc. I’m a huge fan of early education, but personally I think literacy and other things, when introduced too early, can create a problem–like the earlier poster mentioned about being bored. It depends on what you want or need–and it’s okay to say that YOU need for her to be in pre-school, too, though it sounds like your daughter wants it, too. Oh, and that’s another point (sorry, I’m writing a whole blog post here…), is that if you have teachers that are professionally trained at early education, you treat them as such. They are prepared to deal with all different learning styles, behaviors, etc. They are professionals, and just as I would ask my doctor questions about a persistent health concern, so I would ask the teachers and staff at any prospective school about education, learning and social-related issues. Good luck with your decision. Truly, you and your husband sound like you’ve got it together and that’s bigger than whether or not you do this now or next year or wait on preschool entirely.

  4. Pingback: Better than expected | Unhappy Mommy

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