15 answers

Does My Child Need to Go to Preschool?

Hello everyone, my son will be 3 on September 29th. I am not quite sure where he is with his education level, compared to other boys his age. I am considering putting him in daycare, or preschool for a couple hours a day, for the education, and the enviroment change. But my husband thinks that it is too much money, and we have other things that need taking care of. So should I just do my homework a bit, and teach him at home? Or should I really look into this? I don't even know where to start! Thank you for all of your help, and comments!

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My son will be 3 on September 2 and we struggled with this decision too. After speaking to several other parents we decided not to bother with preschool this year. We have him involved with several activities with children his own age, so he is getting the social interaction he needs.

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I'm doing the same with my 3 year old son and using a Montessori approach. Check out the book "How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way" for some good ideas on activities. There also website with some online learning games, and there are just TONS of ways to teach a child at home in ways that are intriguing to the child. I think his learning experience will be much more enriching this way, plus it saves us money. Not only will he be learning, but also bonding with me. I was surprised to realize that most people I know consider preschool as a necessity these days. I never went to preschool and I excelled in school and always loved learning. I love spending time nurturing and teaching my children, and I'm putting off the time he's gone from me all day as long as possible. I may put him in preschool 2 mornings a week to ease the transition the year before Kindergarten and I will do everything I can to find a half-day Kindergarten.

I am a member of MOMS Club (www.momsclub.org to find your local chapter) and I really enjoy it, and it helps ease my concern over my son socializing and interacting with other children since he won't be attending preschool.

One more thing, an extremely similar "request" on mamasource was posted recently on August 12, 2008, so I suggest looking back in the archives to see the responses that mother received. http://www.mamasource.com/request/2182583617505460225

2 moms found this helpful

First off... happy soon-to-be birthday for Dillon!
Second... pre-school is such a personal issue. But here's my opinion. Your child is 2. Now is not the time to worry about education levels, but instead- development levels. You'll have many years to worry about education levels.
Many preschools require the child to be toilet trained. Additionally, since it is the beginning of the school year, many preschools are already filled. (When I put my then 4 YO in preschool, I signed her up in March to start school in August.) And yeah... preschool is expensive!
I started by teaching my kids the basics (as all parents do)... colors, shapes, etc. When my kids want to learn about something, then I'll teach it. I got lucky with my first and second children, as they have been very inquisitive... we'll see how it goes with my third. I didn't force them to learn anything, they learned at their own pace... and they learn what they want when they want. I didn't buy flashcards or anything for the main reason that I knew everything would get lost in my house. LOL But what they have on flashcards I can teach with objects in the house and outside. (You know, like- that leaf is green, the stop sign is red and is an octagon, how many animal crackers are on your plate? All the normal stuff that we parents already do.) If you want to do crafts to work on motor skills, then google "children crafts" and you'll come up with thousands of pages of ideas.
I believe that because I didn't "force" learning on my oldest, that is one reason why she has shown interest in reading, writing and math. My 5 YO can read simple books, can sound out words and write them down, and likes to play the "Number Game" with daddy, where he throws out a single-digit number and a double-digit number, and she adds them together. I think they also are working on subtracting.
Each parent will teach their child(ren) what best fits their family and lifestyle. This was the way that fit best with us. It may not fit for you, so you'll just have to see what does.
To socialize, I joined a MOMS Club. This way, my children have been able to play with kids their age, and I get some socializing in as well. It was also a heck of a lot cheaper... $23/year for MOMS Club dues as opposed to $180/month for the preschool my oldest attended.
Yes, I did put my oldest in preschool (#2 isn't toilet trained yet and is too young in my opinion, as she is only 2... and #3 is only 10 months old, so I have awhile with him.) But I put her in for the year before Kindergarten so she could play with other kids without me being present and to also get used to listening to another authority figure. I put her in for purely social reasons... it was a bonus that she learned other things.
Now... I'm not knockin' preschool. My daughter flourished there. Her social skills grew as did her vocabulary. But to me... let your kid be kid. He'll be growing up faster than you want him to grow.

1 mom found this helpful

Here is some input from a different source. I am the mother of 5 23-12. I homeschooled my children until my oldest went to 8th grade. I now run a preschool called Little Blessings From Jesus in Apache Junction.

I don't believe you have to send your child to a preschool. There are somethings your child can learn that would be hard or at least less messy if they learned at a preschool. Home is not the easiest place to learn how to behave in a large group. Remember you are your child's best teacher. God gave each one to you. If you decide to put your child in a preschool look for one that is supportive of your role in your child's life.

Preschool is a fun and busy place. Children learn through play. They need to experience free choice and teacher directed activities; large and small motor skills; active and quiet times; social , emotional, language and cognitive skills. These are some of the areas a preschool actively concider in their planning for a day.

Another resource you might be interested in checking out is New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development. they have classes that cover techinques to "wire up" a child's brain for a successful future. They have really done their research.

I hope this input will help you with your decision. My mom (mother of 7) always gather lots of information then put into practice what fits with your individual lifestyle and philosophy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi P.-
Don't worry about your son getting behind.
From a teacher's point of view, K kids all seem to start on different levels, and they are all very similiar in level by the end of the year.

Have fun with letters, numbers, and get some phonics stuff if you wish... just have him do a worksheet every day or so...
If you can't afford preschool, it will just put more stress on the finances and that's not worth it.

Before you know it he will be off to school... and then out of the nest :0)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi P.,

I know that my advise is going to be contrary to almost everyone else who has responded so far, but since your asking people's opinions, here is mine: I think that around 3 is a good time to start preschool, even if its just on a part-time basis. There is a lot to be said for letting him just be little and he's got lots of school ahead of him and all that, but that being said, going from stay at home kiddo to kindergarten with out anything to prepare him ahead of time is a huge, huge adjustment. He's going to go from doing whatever he wants whenever he wants (with your approval of course) to having to follow a teacher's stricter schedule. In addition, he's going to have homework, have to listen to and work with several different teachers (p.e., music, k-teacher, etc). Going from preschool to kindergarten is a big change as it is (my son did that last year), but from home to kindergarten is bigger. Also, kids are information sponges at this age, so letting him go somepleace where the teachers can help him prepare for everything they are expected to know in kindergarten can only help him. While yes, kindergarten kids all do start at different levels and end up roughly the same place, but why make him start from the lowest level and have to work harder to get there, when you can give him a little head start. Now I am not suggesting breaking the bank to do this, of course, but if you can find a good part time place that you can afford, I think your child's educational success is one of the most important things you can invest in. I can recommend two places to check out, depending on where you live: in chandler Sunny Days Learning Center, the director is Cindy and she's very nice. In QC Shining Stars Learning Center, director Vickie, also very nice. Kyrene schools districts program also is wonderful, but it can have waiting lists, so if you are interested in that you should check it out soon. Good luck!

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I don't know where you live but the City of Chandler has a great recreation dept. They have a ton of choices for kids his age- art, music, dance/movement, etc. They also have a program called Apples to Zebras which is basically a preschool class. It is very reasonable- I think $100-120 per semester. If Chandler isn't close, check out your cities rec dept. I also agree with the previous responses that suggest MOMS. Another great way to let him play with other kids his age.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


That is a great question! I did not have to send my son to preschool, but I chose to send him starting at about the same age as your son. He went to a church preschool a couple days a week for a couple of hours. The following year he went three times a week for a couple of hours. They did lots of cool things for activities and crafts that I would have had a difficult time replicating at home, especially the visit from the buffalo!

Of course you do not have to send your child to preschool and there are lots of activities you can do at home (they have some great books and supplies at Lakeshore Learning or at most bookstores) that would give him the opportnity to experience some fun and educational time with you. If you would like to see how he would do with other children you can see if your church or a church in the area has a MOPS group that offers chilcare. Or just let him go to a Sunday school class. Both of those would offer opportunites for him to be around children and also "get a little change" of his own scenery with little or no cost.

It is great that you don't feel like you have to push him off into the world because you are workng full-time. Kids are only little for a few precious years and at your sons' ages they need you more than they need to know the alphabet! :)


1 mom found this helpful

I, personally, believe that he gets all he needs from a stay-at-home-mom until he's about 4 or 4 1/2. You can teach him ABCs and 123s and shapes in an environment that he can totally trust. The year before kindergarten is the time to think about pre-school. You'll do great!

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