24 answers

Sending My 3 Year Old to a 6 Hour Preschool.

I dont know if I should send my daughter to a 6 hour preshool. My son only went to A 1 hour 45 min. preschool til he went to kindergarden this year. he is doing ok but i this he needed more. My daughter is going to that preschool too. I think she needs more too. I just found out she can go to our new preschool program at our school. I think thats great but I just dont know if its gonna be too long of a day for her.8:50am-2:45pm she still takes a nap in the afternoon.(2pm) They said they take a nap there but i dont know if she will. She never went to daycare. my mom wathes her when i work. What should i do???

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Hi K., This is my opinion, and I know it is not the current trend, but I would NOT send her to 6 hour pre-school. She is 3, and the time you have with her is so limited before she DOES go to school full day. Take the extra $ you would spend on the day care, open a college fund, and SAVE IT FOR THE FUTURE. They need time at home playing with toys, or going to the park, or baking with you or your Mom,.... This is not the time to be concerned with knowing your colors/numbers/letters. All that will come easily in the next couple years. NOW is the time to build her self-esteem by praising her art work, and crazy play dough creations.

My kids are all in school full time and doing great. They only went to 4 yr preschool for 3 hours/3 days-week and were NOT behind socially, emotionally, or academically when they started kindergarten.

That is my opinion--which you requested, but here is another thing to think about---

Only YOU know your situation, and you should ask yourself "why" do you think she needs more school? Is there a pre-school that is somewhere between 2 hours and 6 hours that would work for you?

Best wishes for you and your children.

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Hi K.. I think you should at least give it a try for a few weeks. You'll want to go long enough for everyone to settle into a routine before you make a final decision. A few extra hours of school each day will not hurt your daughter, and could make a huge positive impact! Good luck & best wishes

Try looking into church preschool programs. My daughter went to one last year that was in the afternoon. They also had morning classes. Her class was 12:30-3:30. They only last about 3 hours, have small classes for individual attention & don't cost much. You can choose how many days a week as well.

I would say go with your gut instinct. My daughter turns 3 in January and I want her to go to pre-school as well but since she has been home with me the whole time. I feel the long hours would be too much to start. She naps 2-3 hours still during the day. So interrupting that to me is a sin,they still need to grow and learn. How can they learn if their not receiving the information because they are tired. I personally would feel more comfortable with 3 days a week 2 hours per day to start out with.
I am sure whatever you deciede will work out just fine!

is kindergarten a full day ?

depending on age, they are required to take a nap.

K. M. Sadly children are not allowed to be children anymore they all have to start school so early and be able to read and do things at a much younger age. One advantage about being in school for that long of time is that fact that she will have the same head start that all of the other kids will have. Another advantage is she will be used to those hours for when she is in the upper grades. Things are not easy for children today by letting her go to the longer preschool will be one less struggle for her. One more advantage is she will also learn to be a little independ of you if she not already.
The longer day care will also give her social skills that are very important and helpful to have. It is just sad that little people can not continue to stay home and be little people (have time to bake cookies with mom and do things like that) it just does not work in this world today. Good luck with your decision and I also wish your daughter luck.

Hi! I am going to take a stab and say that she will do just fine. I just recently returned to work after being a stay at home mom for two years. My lil guy who's two, just started going to daycare for 8 - 9 hours daily. First time away from mommy!! Like you, I was worried about the length of time he would be there, whether or not he would get a nap, and everything else mom's worry about. Well, he does really well with everything. He didn't take a nap maybe the first couple days, but once he got used to his surroundings a lil bit, he started crashing out with the other kids. His naps arent like what he gets at home on a weekend, but I do my best to get him fed, bathed, and into bed a lil early if he comes home cranky. Just like with everything else kids go thru, just gotta see what works!! Good luck and i hope this helps you!!!

I think that what ever you decide will be fine. A lot of kids are in care 6 or more hours a day-- what is more important is if it is a high-quality program. Since she's never been in daycare this may be a big adjustment for her, so expect a couple of potentially rough weeks. But she will also be getting wonderful socialization, and developing the ability to operate on somebody else's schedule-- which is going to be important for pre-k or kindergarden.

Again, I think it would depend on the program-- and your daughter. Are they flexible about schedules? Do they provide free time? Go spend a day or two there WITH her and then you'll better be able to make a decision.

I really think it depends entirely on the child and who knows them better than you do? My son went to pre-school from ages 2.5-5yrs and he went 2 days/week from 9am-3:30pm and loved it! He is a high energy kid and I picked that school b/c of their hours. He needed the stimulation of other kids and a structured environment and would even be bored when he got home. My daughter, however, is 3 and is in a completely new pre-school b/c she doesn't have that same characteristic. Anything she does for any length of time is good with her and she can easily entertain herself at home with toys/books/etc whereas my son could not and would only complain - he's still that way at almost age 6. How many a days a week - maybe 5 days to start would be rough but I think that at her age, they are just starting to want the interaction and they are craving to learn and do things. I wouldn't worry about the naps - she will be tired from the day and will probably fall asleep easily, esp. if she still is a napper. Good luck with your decision.

I would say that it depends on what she will be doing during the 6 hours. My son is 4. He went to pre-K last year in a daycare and is in advanced pre-k this year in the same daycare. They do not sit all day. They also learn through structured play and songs, and other activities. When you take into account the 2 1/2 hour nap, 30 to 45 minutes for lunch, 2 snacks, recess, and play centers, there is little time spent sitting. The most structured time is circle times when they read, do alphabet, spanish, and sign language.

They are taught through many activities, like songs, coloring, etc so it does not seem like "learning" to them. It may take a week to adjust to the environment, but once she learns the schedule, she may be fine. She will be even better when she makes friends.

As for the naps, my son doesn't have a problem. He is the first one out and the last one to get up.

I would be hesitent. My 4 year old is desprrate to go to school. I was considering a pre school for her but I am concerned about maturity at this age. I am a stay at home mom so it's not like I need the childcare. A lot of 5 year olds are to immature for school but you are supposed to send them to school so people do. So I wouodn't be so fast to put a 3 year old in a pre school. It's not like they get ahead in learning.

If you do put her in I would only have her there for a few hours so she can play with other kids. If she is like my 4 year old she is bored at home. Another option you may want to try again if you don't need childcare is a playgroup.

Good luck to you whatever you decide to do. :)

A lot will depend on your child, but I think that generally 6 hours is too long at that age. My advice would be to look for something in between. Our preschool program is 2 1/2 hours, and the number of days depends on their age (2 days for 3 year old, 3 days for 4 year old, and 4 days for 5 year old). I do think 3 or 4 half days at that age is OK though - even 5 if you have a child who really enjoys school and doesn't get too overtired from it. I think most kids have a big adjustment when they go to "real" school - either kindergarten or first grade, depending on the structure of your school. Everything is just bigger, more kids, more structure, etc.

I'm not sure whether you're looking for more socialization and practice separating from you or if you're look for more academic practice, so what you do would depend a lot on that too. I think I would try to find a program that's a little longer (like 2 1/2 or 3 hours) to increase it some, but not jump right to the full day. Then if you want more socialization you can add in a class or two after school during the week (dance, soccer, gymnastics, etc.). If you're looking for more academic prep (like pre-reading and early math stuff), I would try some of the workbooks they have and do them at home. My kids absolutely love them and my younger ones will pretend to do homework when the older one does her real homework. Even dollar stores usually have a bunch of them, so try that. Also, many preschools offer a lunch bunch program one or more days a week where the kids can opt to stay for an extra couple hours, which might also help flex her schedule a little.

Good luck!

my opinion is -No, 2-3 hours is plenty 6 is only if you are using it as daycare.
Why do you think your son needed more??? If you don't think he learned enough then you should look into a more educational program not a longer program.
My opinion is that if you are spending time with your children and reading good books to them, they can learn all the educational things they need to know at home. At that point preschool is to socialize them to learn how to listen to another adult, to cooperate with other kids, to be part of a group that sort of thing, which can easily be accomplished in under 3 hrs.

If you think they need more- as in they like being with other kids and doing things, you could always look into a supplimental program, like dance classes or swim lessons.

6hr for a little one? I could see 3hr at most at that age. An hr for per age. It is hard enough when they start 1 grade and are at school all day. Unless ur school offers full time Kinder. Which i think is better then part. But at this age 6 hr seems way to long.

My daughters go to the 3yr old 6 hour program and absolutely love it. They ask to go everyday. They never took naps any more since Jan 08. Now they take one everyday. And the are almost potty trained (when they were home they wouldn't go-stubborn-they knew how) now they go on their own. I think the program is GREAT. they love showing me what they did. They are recognizing their names and names of others. I think it is real good for them. They have a great schedule and teachers. And when they get out of school, I still have 7 hours with them to spend time with them. Their imaginations have soared just in these two weeks of school so we have tons of fun at home now--its great.

you will never know unless you try. if the other kids are taking a nap she will too. it will be good for her to interact with kids her own age. i am sure everything will be fine. you are just a little nervous about it which is totally understandable.

Girl, if your mother wants her, and you have no prob with it, do that. She is still young and I believe it will be better for her in the long run. I don't disagree with day care or pre school, my kids all went at 4, but if ya have the choice, stick with mom for now.

Just my opinion.

My daughter goes to an autistic setting preschool where she is there from 8:30ish to 2:50(comes home at). She gets all her therapy and such there so Im very happy with how well she has been doing. My son was in this same program but then they switched him to a half day program and I thought it was fine but I felt as though I wish he couldve stayed in the longer program. He is now in kindergarten and sometimes I wish it was full day because clearly he was doing alot better when he was going a full day in preschool but they only offer full day at one of the elementary schools. Sorry for babbling on here but Im going to say that I think your daughter will do just fine.

I had the same problem last year. However my son was 4. Preschool was from 8:50 -3pm, four days a week. He was also watched by my parents when mine and my husbands work schedule conflicted. He had never been away for that long without a relative. He too took naps there. I thought that it would be too long of a day for him, but he did just fine. He had some attachment problems with not being able to see me like he used too, but he did ok for that length of time period. Hope that helps.

I think it's a little long for a 3 year old. There's nothing like rolling around on the livingroom carpet or crawling into Grandma's lap for a story. I'd stick with a 2 or 3 hr program 2 or 3 days a week this year and/or next. But all day with flourescent lights and linoleum floors at this age isn't my idea of a great time.

Hi K.,

You are the only one who can truly make this decision as you know your daughter best. My son goes to a Montessori preschool which is 5 days a week once they turn 5. There are lots of working families at his school so there are many kids who are there from 8 AM to 5:30 PM. The kids all take naps. I work from my home, so my son goes 3 days from 8:30 to 11:30 and 2 days from 8:30 to 5:30 (so I can work on those 2 days). My son doesn't really take a nap anymore - but he still has to lay down for an hour of quiet time at school. Most of the kids nap. My son loves it and does very well there.

If you think the added stimulation will be good for your daughter, then go ahead and give it a try - you can always switch out of the program if you don't like it.

Good luck with your decision.


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My son is now in kindergarten, but I sent him to preschool when he was 3. It was 2 hours and thirty minutes two days a week. When he was 4, they met three days a week. I felt this was plenty and he even learned to read last year. In my opinion, kids are like sponges and they absorb a lot more around them then what we can as adults. You're probably doing enough with your current preschool and I too would have reservations about sending a 3 year old to school 6 hours a day. When my son wasn't at preschool he stayed with my mother as well, which I felt very comfortable with.


Personally, I think that is too long for a 3 year old. Is it 5 days per week? My mom watches my son when I work, PT 2 days x wk. Always has--aren't we lucky?! What a gift!
My son went to morning nursery school and morning preschool, 2 and 3 days per week respectively. He is in half day Kindergarten this year and he is fine. It's such a rude awakening when kindergarten starts and it like, playtime is over! For a lot of years! Why do you think she needs a longer school day? If it's academics, maybe get her into the coloring/dots/writing Kumon workbooks as a little extra. If it's b/c of concerns of socialization/separation issues, I think she will most likely do just fine when school starts.

dont do it they are young for such a short period of time, enjoy your and your mothers time with her. She will adapt when it is time for kindergarten

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