N.B. asks from Plainfield, IL on July 17, 2008
When to Start Pre-school
Our son will be three at the end of January and we were considering enrolling him in a Pre-school program next August when he will be just over three and a half. I was wondering what other moms did whose children's birthday's fall in the middle of the school year. Did you wait until the following year when they were about four and a half or send them early? If we send him next year it appears he will be going to Pre-school twice before starting Kindergarten and I am not sure that's really necessary. We are very active in a playgroup, so he gets plenty of social interaction with other children. And I am home with him so I do not need this for any sort of daycare purposes. Thanks for your input!:)
S.W. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
I would probably send him to a preschool program that is 2 or 3 days a week when he is 3. Then, when he is 4, he will be ready to do a 5 day Pre-K program.
E.P. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
I sent my kids when I thought they were ready - my daughter was so ready at 3.5 years old (April birthday). Socially, my son (May birthday) was doing well and his large and small motor skills were very good, however, he had a speech delay and I was afraid others wouldn't be able to understand him. He qualified for speech in our school district and we had "preschool at home" 2 days/week (and called it that!) We went on lots of local field trips to the fire department, nature center, did crafts...etc... I sent him at 4.4 years. It was a great year. I would have sent him if it wasn't for the speech delay and I knew, by the next year, I had done the right thing. I wouldn't look at your child's age - I would follow your instincts and consider his development and maturity. Best of luck!
S.E. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
Our son has a birthday at the end of July and we sent him when he was 4 years old. I think you need to look at your child individually. Sending a child to early could be a problem if they are not ready. Separation from mom with some children is harder than others.
I think you also have to look at what you plan to do for his education. Will you be sending him to public school, private school (where classrooms are smaller), or will you be homeschooling him?
We sent our son to a private Christian school so the classrooms were very small and he did not get lost in the shuffle. That is why we felt comfortable with sending him at age 4.
E.F. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
My oldest son was born Jan. 8. I didn't put him into preschool until the following fall. I didn't even think of putting him into preschool before then. I don't think there is a need. He only needs two years of preschool before kindergarten. Also I found it was the perfect time to send him. He wasn't too young nor to old to start. I would look into your park district and see if they have something like mommy mornings away where you drop them off for a few hours and they stay there without you. This will help prepare him for preschool but only going once a week will not make it so intense also their curriculum is more towards fun than learning.
C.C. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
I also sent my daughter at age 3 and it was similar to what your situation in that she did repeat the year at age 4. I have no regrets in doing this, but I thought my daughter needed the social interaction. She knew much of the pre school requirements prior to starting, but she is very shy. She plays well with other children, but when tey come to play with her. Therefore, the social stimulus was priceless. The other aspect is the teachers. I absolutely loved her teachers and knowing she'd spend another year in their care made it well worth it. As a matter of fact, had I not moved recently, my son would also be spending the next two years with them.
Since we have moved out of state, I'm finding that there are very few public pre schools near me. So with my son, I may just keep him home til kindegarten as he is almost prepared already based on what our school requires to enter kindergarten. He has no problem socializing with new people.
As another Mom said, you have to outweigh the convenience of getting there daily, but in my experience, nothing but good things will come from doing it. Good luck with your decision.
L.P. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
N., As far as pre-school itself, I chose to start at 3 with my kids but our preschool had seperate classes so they didn't just repeat the same year at 4. We did not have a playgroup that taught school type things like letters, numbers, sitting still and listening to the teacher, being there without MOM, etc. The other factor to consider is the added burden of getting him to school while you are dealing with your new one's birth and your recovery - who will get him to school, will he have potty training issues due to a new sibling, etc. If you really don't feel he needs to be there, it might be a lot easier on your family as you adjust to baby #2 to not have pre-school in the mix. Good luck on your decision and the new baby! LacyLyn
M.J. answers from Chicago on July 18, 2008
most pre-schools have age requirements and potty training issues. Once your child meets their criteria, go for it! most kids love the preschool experience and the start time isn't that critical.
E.S. answers from Chicago on July 17, 2008
My daughter has a February birthday and we decided to send her to preschool when she was 3.5, so she was in the 3 year old class. She went MWF mornings and it was perfect, especially since I had a baby earlier in the year (another February baby!). It helped all of us to get on a good schedule. More importantly though, my daughter LOVED it. She'll go back again in the fall for the 4 year old class, which is completely different but the same MWF morning schedule. I think after two years of that, she will be ready for full day kindergarten the next year. The two years of preschool will probably be fine for your son as well, but you might want to find a preschool that has a separate curriculum for 3yr olds vs. 4 yr olds just to be sure he won't be doing the same exact things two years in a row. Another bonus is that your new baby will probably nap during the time your son is at school which means you will get some much needed "me" time! Good luck!