Is It Necessary to Do Preschool?

Updated on April 14, 2008
D.N. asks from Clay, NY
57 answers

My son is three now and it seems like times are a changing. There's such a big hubbub about kids needing to go to preschool and what not. I enrolled my son for preschool come September, mainly because I'm a stay at home mom and I feel he could use the help to socialize and learn manners and how to act with others. It's hard for me to sit down and do toddler activities since my baby son whose one tends to make a mess of stuff since he doesn't know any better. Other than that I don't really feel he has to go. Of course, my husband is no help, first he says send him and then today tells me he doesn't have to go and it's not necessary. So I'm second guessing myself now. It's almost as if I'm trying to get rid of my son or something. I'm also wondering if the money spent for him to go to preschool (three days a week for 2.5 hours) can be saved towards other things. I could wait until he's four I suppose. Granted I paid already but I'm assuming I can change my mind if I want to since it's not even September yet.

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to thank everyone for their wonderful input and advice. Since we've already paid the deposit, I doubt I will change my mind about sending him. Money isn't an issue because it's really affordable where we live...from reading and speaking with other moms, the $100 a month we spend to send him to a 3 day a week program is pocket change and maybe if it was more money then may it be better spent elsewhere.

One thing I realized after reading all your posts is that my son doesn't get to socialize all that much. We don't have a huge pile of playmates for our boys, we have our cousin's son, who we see once a week and our friends down the road that we see every two to three weeks. So really other than each other they don't socialize much. Winters in the Northeast are tough and getting out to the playgrounds aren't an option. Story time with him is tough with a bobbling one year old. So we are limited with things we can do.

My main concern was the whole is it too soon and feeling like I was letting him go. My husband knows it will be good for him and a break for me and he's just one of those guys that says all he thinks and I'm the one that worries. But I know my boys the best and my oldest will do great in school I think. Learning to socialize, manners (not that we don't teach him but he doesn't get it since he thinks he owns the place), and all those things are going to help enforce what we have been trying to teach him. Maybe after he starts school will all the Preschool workbooks I got him will make better sense since right now he just wants to color them all up like his other coloring books.

So overall I hope he does like school...days for a few hours. Thank you all for your input, advice and ideas.

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T.P.

answers from New York on

It is good for social things-he will have enough friends to invite to his birthday parties. However, if you are teaching him at home, he will be adequately prepared for Kindergarten. You can start giving him site words to read-just one word for a week or every two weeks or even a month. Once he recognizes that, then give him another site word. Teach him his alphabets-to recognize them and his numbers. He is now ready for kindergarten.

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J.C.

answers from New York on

It's great for social skills, and learning to share and some other skills you may overlook at home. My son didn't go to daycare/preschool until he was 2 1/2 and I'm glad I sent him..... Go for it!

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N.M.

answers from New York on

D.,

I put my daughter in daycare at 2 yrs old and took her out of the grandmothers home. She was watching her for the whole 2 yrs but I felt she was not getting enough. I know that I or anyone can play, help feed, change diapers and what not, but what they get at school is totally different and I highly recommend it to anyone. she brings home projects that she makes, shares at school, has friends, etc. It is the best thing ever! Plus, it gives you some spare time to get those errands done if you are a stay at home mom. Good luck!

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C.S.

answers from Syracuse on

I'm an educator, and what I have to say might shock you. :o)

I don't believe preschool is necessary from the socialization aspect if the child has other siblings. Hopefully, you're already teaching him about taking turns and empathy, things that are picked up in group settings. Even if your DS has other children (doesn't even have to be his own age - the broader the range of ages, the more learning a child does on how to interact with others) to visit and play with occasionally, I think he'll be just fine.

From my point of view, yeah, it's great if a 3 yo knows the alphabet (mine did at that age) and how to spell his/her name (again, mine were able to orally spell their names by 3), but it's not necessary. If you as a parent are interacting with your child and teaching on a daily basis (it's really easy - for instance, when you're helping him get dressed, you can say, "This is a green shirt. Let's put your right arm in the sleeve. Ok, now the left arm goes in. Great! Pick up your brown pants. Hey, don't the legs look like rectangles? Can you put your right leg into your pants? How about your left leg?"), then there's really no need for preschool.

Best wishes!

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W.H.

answers from New York on

Hi D.,
I don't think preschool is necessary unless you see some issue w/ your child that you feel preschool will help. My daughter is 4 and she will start Kindergarten in Sept. (I also have a 2yr old son) She has never gone to preschool and I have no worries about her next year. We go to the library all the time and participate in their many programs. She gets plenty of socialization there or even just going to the park, getting together w/ friends etc.
If you feel that your son needs more stimulation than you can provide then by all means send him to preschool but if you're doing it because "everyone else is doing it" then I say don't.
I am a stay at home mom and feel that since I am home then it is my job to teach my daughter. I enjoy all the time we have together and this is the only time that she won't be in school. (until she is an adult)
Good luck w/ your decision.

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T.W.

answers from Buffalo on

I am a SAHM of 3 kids and I have NEVER EVER sent them to pre-K. Its a waste of time and money for SAHM's, I think. There isnt anything they do there that you arent capable of doing yourself. You can do crafts and learning, "field trips" etc... as far as socialization? Join some local groups. A playgroup, or storytime at the library. Get him involved with karate or some other organized group. He can be around other kids and other adults that have a leading role. I just find it pointless and the emphasis put on all kids to succeed, succeed, succeed is just ridiculous, in my opinion. They are just kids and they learn the most by play, so get out there and play Mom! Save your money for a trip to the zoo and talk about the animals! Make a project about elephants...talk about what they like to eat and do. Take him to the aquarium and learn about fish. Then go for ice cream! I hope that helps. I know I will probably be the minority, but I stand by my decision to not send them and they have thrived. Good luck in your decision!

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K.T.

answers from Glens Falls on

I am also a SAHM and have two boys, now aged 7 and almost 4. My older son had 2 years of preschool, and the younger is in his first year now, and will go again next year. I have found it to be a wonderful experience. They both loved making new friends, doing new things, and learned a lot. They are much better at using their manners, they respond well to their teachers, and they gained some independence being away from me for just those few hours. My older son, especially, felt like he was having something special, just for him, when his baby brother came along. More importantly, even with only a few days a week, I felt he was really well prepared to start Kindergarten, both emotionally and educationally. Certainly kids can get by without it, but if you feel like the program you've chosen is a good one, then I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to see how your son will blossom and grow with Preschool. Good luck!
KST

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G.T.

answers from Rochester on

I used to do a lot of work at the schools helping teachers with the kids and I really don't think it makes much difference if they go to preschool or not. By the time the kids are in the second half of 1st grade you can't tell which ones went to preschool and which ones didn't. They all knew the same things. As they get older some did better at school, some didn't. And it didn't matter if they went to preschool or not.

As for socializing the kids....if they are not in school with the same kids they went to preschool with they have to start all over when they start kindergarten. New kids are different from the ones they have been with and want to be treated and played with differently. And new teachers all do thing differently than the teachers they are used to. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've found a kid crying in the corner and heard them say they didn't do things that way in preschool.

Personally, I think it's up to the parents. If they have the money to send them, go for it. I won't hurt. But if the money can be best used for other things, save your money. Your kid will grow up just fine without it.

BTW I babysit for 4 of my grand kids (ages 3, 4, 5 and 6)...2 go/went to preschool, 2 didn't. If you met them, I bet you couldn't tell which ones went and which ones didn't.

gloria...

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M.S.

answers from New York on

I own and operate my own Preschool/Pre-k in Pompton Lakes and I feel it's a good idea to put your child in Preschool. Once they are 3 they can start going in class to start learning the alphabet and numbers and start learning to make arts and crafts and the most important is socialization. I put my kids in school when they were 4 and the older they are the harder it is. I should of put them in earlier. But again, it's all up to you.

If you live near Pompton Lakes, come visit my school and then you can make your decision.

Good Luck!

M. S.
Director/Owner
Little Achievers
235 Wanaque Ave.
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com
Website-littleachieverschilddevelopmentcenter.com

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K.P.

answers from New York on

Hi D.
I am an elementary school teacher and looking at it from an educational point of view, pre school makes a huge difference. It targets so many aspects of the child's development. It is quite evident in the classroom of children who go to preschool and those who don't. The level of expectations for children in school has changed greatly (I have seen major changes in the 12 years I have been teaching, imagine how different from when we went to school). The children are expected to perform at higher levels. I always said the curriculum in kindergarten reminds me of the curriculum of what a first grader could do back when I went to school. Back in the day Kindergarten was 1/2 day, now it is full day and the children are expected to be reading by the years end. Preschool now a days reminds me of what kindergarten was when I was a kid (and I went to pre school). With the No Child Left Behind Act, school districts feel the pressure and the academic expectations and accountability has grown. Its terrible kids should be able to be just kids but that is not where education is today. When state testing is brought to the kindergarten level I think that will be a sign it is time for me to retire... Seriously, my daughter is signed up to begin preschool in the fall. I will be giving up my lunch hours to bring to pre school, 5 days a week, but I tell you it is something I feel strongly about. I am a teacher and sure I can teach her then things she needs to be ready for school and I will. However the preschool setting will offer so much more, socialization alone is huge and think when your child goes to kindergarten, the chances of a separation issue decreases. Of course money can be well spent in other places but the opporunity you give your child through a pre school program is money well spent. Also, preschools can, god for bid, pick up on any learning issues that might not be evident to you or your husband. With the help of the pre school early intervention will occur which is big when a child may have a learning issue. Good luck on making your decision about preschool.

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S.S.

answers from New York on

I don't think it's necessary, but I do agree with your thoughts about socializing. When everyone else is in preschool, it's hard to arrange playdates! Also think about your 1 year old...your older son's preschool time will be some great one-on-one time with your baby which he would not get otherwise. As a mom of 2 boys as well I know it's really hard to give the youngest that kind of time. And finally, you will meet so many other moms of boys his age - moms who will be your friends while he meets kids who will be his friends! And it was a preschool teacher who spotted my then-3 year old's OT issues so that they were addressed before he went to kindergarten! So I do think there are a lot of benefits to a good preschool in your neighborhood...

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Hi D.,

As a parent, and as a teaching assistant in an elementary school, I think that often children who do not attend preschool are at a disadvantage.

Kindergarten isn't what it is when I attended 35 years ago, when we played games, painted, sang songs and played with toys. That's what 3 year old preschool is for. Kindergarten today has a very highly academic focus, especially in districts like mine with half day kindergarten programs.

Some of the most important things that kids need to enter kindergarten are things that they'll learn in preschool, such as waiting their turn to speak, sitting still and quietly for a story, using scissors and holding a pencil correctly, the ability to follow a two step direction.

In school, the kindergarten teachers and teaching assistants can tell which children have attended preschool and which have not, and it is not always which children know their letters, numbers or sounds more accurately. Many of the children who have not been to preschool or daycare do not have the same level of independence and are needier than their preschooled counterparts, and with the focus on academics in kindergarten, the teachers need for the children to come in with the ability to follow a routine and take care of their own needs.

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P.B.

answers from New York on

Its not necessary to send your son to Pre-School. However, I sent my son only 2 times/week when he was 3 years old. A slow transition and less expensive too. It gave me time to spend with my daughter who at the time was 1 years old and making a mess of everything my son was doing. She too got into everything he was doing and I thought it would be good for him to have some freedom. However, having to drag her from her nap time to pick him up at noon was a real pain. I'm not sure he learned how to socialize since we already did playgroups, story hours, and parks all the time, but maybe he did learn that the manners I was teaching him at home were the same as the teachers were teaching at his school.
If you do choose a pre-school program, make sure the teachers are responsive, happy, and flexible. Make sure your little boy comes home happy.
Good luck with your decision.

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L.T.

answers from New York on

I think your idea is great to send the 3 yr old to preschool for a few times a week for a couple of hours. It'll be great for him and you! Stick with your original plan, trust your decisions, and follow your intuition.

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L.F.

answers from New York on

Hi D.:

I was where you are last year at this time. My son is now 3, but people were telling me to enroll him in a special preschool program for two year olds. I was very pregnant with my second son at the time. I was working full time and about to go on maternity leave. I was very afraid that my son would think I was getting rid of him when the new baby came. My son is a very shy and sensitive boy. I returned to work full time when he turned 6 mos and my mom watched him. He really didn't have much social interaction aside from taking him out on the weekends. He is also EXTREMELY attached to me. I decided to enroll him despite my fears. I am VERY glad I did. Preschool made such a big difference in his independence and socialization. He has really come a long way and has grown a lot. Although he cried at first, he has adjusted beautifully and loves it. My younger son is now 10 mos old so it also gives me a little time to spend with him. As long as you're comfortable with the program and the teachers, I say go for it.

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J.E.

answers from New York on

Hi D.,
I am a kindergarten teacher. You don't need to send your son to preschool if you don't want to. But it can't hurt to send him. You are correct that the socialization would be of great benefit to him and you would be able to spend some quality time with your other son. You should make the decision that feels right to you...you only get to do this once!
J. :)

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K.S.

answers from Utica on

Please send your son if it is a good preschool. You will then have some special time with your younger child. This is very important too. The older child will have something special to look forward to. You may even make friends with some of the other moms. One of my best friends had preschooler at the same time I did...now our kids are in college.
I have also taught Kindergarten. You see some children really struggling because they never had preschool. The demands on children in Kindergarten are huge!!! Sadly, many of the activites that we remember from Kindergarten are long gone. They are pushed much to fast.
You should try to join a new mom for tea when you drop your son off. It might benefit everyone. If you are unsure of the school try to observe there without your childen to really see how the program is run.
K.

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D.A.

answers from New York on

I have one child who was in a home daycare that was supposed to teach pre-school skills, and my son is now currently in a christian pre-school. The son is much, much further ahead than my daughter was at his age. Not only academically, but socially and emotionally. I agree with the person who mentioned one of the biggest values of this is that they develop a teacher-child relationship and get an idea they are going to be in the charge of another adult other than mom or dad for the day.

That whole concept is hard enough for some kids, and it will make kindergarten a lot easier if your kids get the preschool experience first. My son did not want to respect his teacher(s) and follow their rules and structure but over time he learned to do it. His manners, his respect, his ability to follow directions have all improved. He is even learning to solve problems amongst his friends whom he has occasional conflicts with, (over toys, etc.) That skill alone is a priceless skill. When was the last time your child had to solve a conflict with a buddy when you weren't around or another mom? Teachers will have a different approach than a mom. It's good the kids get used to this!

Good Luck with your decision!

D.

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L.L.

answers from Syracuse on

I ( and my husband) did not send either of our chidlren now 7 adn 5 to preschool. With the free activities around town-- story time, MOPS ( mothers of preschoolers where chidlren have an activity and then moms meet), Sunday school.... they got plenty of interaction with other children. Yes alot is required of those children entering Kindergarten but liike another post said one can teach theri children teh colors, numbers, how to write their name in capitals and lowercase.
I thoght there was a great idea to see what is expected of entering K so you have an idea ... but when you are at home and constantly interating with your children those skills ( putting on oenes own coat..) can be taught at home.

You mrntion you can't sit and do stuff- your oldest is 3, next year your oungest will be two and you can feel more comfortable pulling out gluse sticks and sicorss for a four year old to sit up at teh table and use while his younger brother knocks down blocks. There is PLENTY of time beofre he reaches K. No need to hurry things along.

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S.C.

answers from New York on

I don't think it is necessary to do Pre-school but you are right times are changing. My son is 3 1/2 and I put him in Pre-school starting last September for 2 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. I was also saying "should I or shouldn't I". Starting in December because he liked it so much I put him in 3 days. In this school you get homework and they actually learn stuff and do crafts and have fun. Not that he doesn't know stuff already since I work with him at home also. I am also a SAHM with 2 boys. My other one is 5 1/2 and I didn't send him to Pre-school and he did just fine. He did go to universal Pre-k 4 which in New York is a free program in public schools for kids that are 4. He went everyday for 2 1/2 hours all week. Now the school is offering the program a full day (which I think is too much). I think you should try it and I guarantee you he will adjust.

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T.B.

answers from New York on

I think it's definately necessary if you want him to be up to where the other kids are in kindergarten. My daughter's first year of pre-school was Tuesday and Thursday fro 2.5 hours. She just turned 4 in March - next year she will go Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 2.5 hours. Some schools do 5 full days for pre-K (4 years). From experience boys are a bit slower than girls to begin with - my husband's children went to daycare in the early years and his daughter did great in school but his son missed out on 4 year old pre-k and he still struggles today. It is definately a good thing for him and for you - I also have a 1 year old (2 in June) and it gives us time to "hang out". And you really have to admit running errands with 1 is much better than doing it with 2. My daughter has been to 6 birthday parties and has a bunch of friends and I made a couple of new friends myself. Anyway - don't second guess and don't listen to your husband - you need to put him in school for him and your younger one.....good luck to you and enjoy it when it starts!!!!!

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J.A.

answers from Syracuse on

I am a mother of two boys (ages 5 & 2) and I also teach Special Education Teacher in an inclusion preschool classroom. Preschool is important for the main reason of socialization as well as early experience for school. My son does attend preschool and I feel it has benefitted him greatly. Of course, nothing is greater than the reinforcement of ideas at home. You still have so much time with your son and the time away from you is also good for him. He will need to learn to respond appropriately to other adults.

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C.H.

answers from New York on

D.,
I am also a SAHM. My daughter is just completing her secone year of Pre-school. she will start Kindergarten in Sept. she loves pre-school. Not only is she learning a lot, but the social skills are crucial at a youn age. My son is in 1st grade and he also did 2 years of preschool. I am thankful that I sent them to pre-school. Kindergarten now is not what it was when our generation went. They now get hmework and in my school system the kids enter school and it is expected that they are able to write their name and most of the alphabet. In my son's class you ere able to tell the kids who went to preschool and who didn't. Not only were the "book smarts" lagging, but the social skills as well. I think Pre-school is great. My kids both did 3 half days a week and it was great for them!! I would highly recommend it!!

C.

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M.D.

answers from New York on

I think preschool is a personal preference. It depends on your money situation & if u feel your child is ready. For me I started my daughter in the 2 1/2 yo class 2x/wk in the AM. SHe is very shy, a bit unsociable with strangers so I felt she could benefit from social interaction outside the home & family. I notice a huge difference this year, she goes 3x/wk in the afternoon. Much more sociable & talkative. If u cant do the 3yo program I would definately recommend the 4 yo class. How scary would that be to just jump right into Kindergarten, the bus, all the kids, & teachers. My 2 girls learned sooo much about letters, numbers, writing, friends, life, sharing, rules, etc. It really prepared for Kindergarten. And it also formed friendships which started the whole playdate thing. Its also nice for the Moms to get together. I felt it was a breath of fresh air for both of us.

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A.P.

answers from New York on

For at-home mom's I can see both sides to the 3's program because of the socialization aspect.
I work 4 days a week so my situation is a little different.
My oldest son just turned 3, and I'm going to wait until he's 4 for pre-school.
He's been in daycare since he was 5 months old so I feel like he's well socialized and he already knows the things he would learn in a 3's program (counting, alphabet, shapes, colors, etc). I think the only thing he would benefit from at this point is the larger class size to prepare him for kindergarten so we're going to wait until he's 4.
I also plan to stay at home beginning in September so he'll have one year without daycare or school before starting the 4s program. I don't think there's any harm in not sending a 3-year old to school (pre-school for 3 year olds was unheard of back in our day). Besides, they socialize at public story times, with their friends on playdates, and with siblings (my son also has a 1-year old brother).
Whatever decision you make will be the right one. There's no harm in sending him, or in keeping him home.
good luck.

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J.M.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi D.,
Well, from experience with both of my daughters, I am going to tell you, DO NOT SEND your 3 year old to pre school.I bought into that whole idea, send your child at age 3 to pre k 'stuff' and with both of my girls it was not a good experience. My first daughter cried and cried until she threw up all over herself, then they left her there, in the corner,alone while the class continued. By day 3, we pulled her out. Private school too, ate some monetary loss but who cares. My second daughter who at age 3 started pre k 3, in a private school as well, a different school. She loved it until she was attacked my another little boy in class, and we are talking hard kicks and punches and the teacher, well, didn't respond, I however happened to be there early and witnessed the whole thing and pretty much snapped. The more I stayed to observe,the more I realized it's glorified day care. I pulled my daughter out the next week. Come to find out that 2 other moms pulled their children out that same month as well, after witnessing what really is going on at pre k 3. I am not even going to send her at 4 yrs old. In fact I just may homeschool, after seeing what is going on at my daughters school and she is in 1st grade.
MY POINT is, kids get enough socialization at home, hanging with you, having playdates, at the park. They are 3 &4, there has been no studies showing that children who attend pre k 3 &4 are smarter or do better once in "school" There are studies however on the bad effects of sending our children to school too early. YOU, can teach your childdren ABC's etc. Once they are in kindergarten, they learn it all anyway because not everyone goes to pre k, it is not mandatory. You do not have to send your child to school at all until age 6 by law. SO, you, as the mom need to trust and follow your instincts. Do not listen to anyone pressuring you to do this or that with your children, in fact don't even listen to me if you choose not to. I am giving you my experiences and after much reading, some facts on this subject. I am not sending my daughter to prek next year either, and may even wait until she turns 5 or 6 before she goes to kindergarten. People will say otherwise, but they are just repeating what they have heard and probably trying to justify why they leave their babies in the care of others. I know you will make the right decision for you and your child. I have a book rec. Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn, and attachment parenting..google... Trust your instincts momma...have a great day

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M.F.

answers from New York on

Since I work full time my daughter has been in daycare/preschool 3 days a week (other 2 days with grandma) since 5 months. I wondered if it was the right choice for her but I soon realized...it was. She is so happy at school. She is active, socializing, making friends (without mommy always being there)and I know she isn't watching tv all day. I don't think you will regret sending your child to pre-school. It is expensive, but worth it if you have a good program. Ours even raises money for the community and has social gatherings for adults. Good luck.

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R.L.

answers from New York on

I'm a fan of preschool as a warm-up for kindergarten. I think it's good to ease them into time away from home, socialization, trusting and respecting other adults. I think when you do it, though, most important is tuning into how ready your child is. Don't feel guilty. You are not trying to get rid of him. It is also important that your younger son get 1-1 time with you as well.

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D.R.

answers from New York on

my son is 5, he will be starting kindergarten in sept, and we first sent him to pre k now, hes been going for about 2 months. i felt the same way as you, which is why i didnt send him sooner. also, i have taught kindergarten, and for the most part, the kids who didnt go to pre k do stand out in the beginning, but after a few months you cant tell who did and didnt go, it all evens out. that said, i didnt want to send him to kindergarten "cold", especially since it seems like everyone goes. also because i know my son- i wasnt worried about the academics at all, but i felt he could really use some help in regards to playing nice and the general structure and routine of a school day. i just felt it would help him start off on the right foot, which is really important. kindergarten can really set up their whole attitude towards school, its very important. my son only goes 1.5 hours twice a week, its nothing, but i feel it is important in setting him up for sept. (and it did break my heart to send him, i know its the end of an era) also, it has been good for my other 2 kids, especially my daughter, she loves the time when she can play alone quietly or with me without having him bust her chops. im sorry this is so long, i just wanted to tell you all the things we considered, he will be fine either way, just think of how he is and what you think he needs. good luck, D.

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C.R.

answers from Syracuse on

I have sent all of my boys to preschool(well 4 of 5, my little guy isn't 2 yet but I will send him at 3)...I did it for them...they all loved it, they met new friends and got to make a craft everyday, and go on small fieldtrips...I don't think there is a right or a wrong answer. I think it is wonderful for both mommy and child...you'd be surprised at how much you miss them during that 2 hours, yet at the same time you are recharging. I personally think it's great to let them learn to take direction from other people and to get along with their peers(socialization skills)...but as for it being necessary, no I can't say it is...if he doesn't go it maybe a bigger adjustment come kindergarden but he will adjust...and there are so many other things around for small kids to do, from little gym(on the expensive side) to library classes and mommy and me playgroups(free or close to it). From a mommy of all boys(8,7,6,4,1) to another mommy of boys the more active you are(I don't mean overscheduled) the better...Goodluck...and you can always start and see how it goes and if you or he isn't ready pull him out...don't stress it's not a life altering decision...there's plenty more to stress over!

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M.B.

answers from New York on

Hi,
I really think it depends on your circumstances. For example: when I was working I had to put my baby girl into daycare/playschool but when we moved here I decided to try out being a SAHM and so kept Jess at home. Like you, I felt that if I put her in playschool when I wasn't even working then I'd just be getting rid of her!
Her social skills definitely suffered because she wasn't with any children her age anymore. If we had family nearby perhaps it would have been different. Anyway, after a day at the playground where she wouldn't share the slide with anyone I decided to try playschool and it worked out really well for Jess from a socialization point of view. Although I don't think learning the alphabet at 3 is hugely important, I must say it's great how much they actually learn in there too.
So, in end I'd say that if you've found a playschool that you like and trust then your son will probably benefit from it.....and you'll be able to spend a little quality time with your 1 year old!

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M.W.

answers from Jamestown on

Good Morning,I am a 60 yr old "mom" of two, my "babies" are now 31 & 29....I was a stay at home mom too. They had a Joint Vocational school about 10 miles from home, They had a daycare class, for 3 & 4 yr olds for girls who were taking child care classes, (Juniors & seniors) The seniors had the 3 yr olds & the Juniors had the 4 yr olds, It was hard to get your child in there because they would only have one child for each student. You sign the long list and wait.

Anyways... the class was full so my daughter didn't get to start at the beginning of the school year, but in Jan, they called me and told me a child had moved and they had an opening, so my daughter got to go for 4 months, like you said every other day...the 4 yr olds went from 9-11am , if I would NOT have sent her, I would have had a bad time getting her on the bus when it was time for kindergarten, because she was a "mommies" girl! she Loved It!
They told me to sign my son up because he would have prioty over others because his sister went,I didn't want to send him...being that young, BUT...they told me that boys need more diseplene than girls, so I sent him...when he was 3 & 4, It was the best thing I could have ever done! Both were Honor students and my son graudated high school when he was a junior! That was 26 yrs ago when my daughter went to day care!
My Advice from an "OLD" Mom... send him...you will Never regret it!
Best Wishes
M.

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P.J.

answers from New York on

My opinion on the need for preschool is that it is an individual basis. My eldest was reading at 4 - no Preschool. We even homeschooled him a few years until we moved to an area with better schools. No problem. My younger one on the other hand had a lot of academic struggles (still does) so PreK was really good for him. The only thing that didnn't go well is that his PreK was full time and his Kindergarten was only 1/2 day...so, it was like a set-back when it came time for full days again in 1st grade. He also didn't get as much done in Kindergarten as in PreK as there was a limited amount of time to do so much. In PreK there was learning time and play time and he would work at his own pace to complete the work. In Kindergarten (and still now in 3rd grade) he is not able to complete his work in the amount of time given in any of his subjects. If you feel that the time with other children will be a good break for him from being with you and your youngest it may be a good idea for him to feel like "the BIG brother" that he gets to do something the younger one doesn't...like a priviledge...and if that keeps him thinking school is a special thing even better!

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K.E.

answers from New York on

I too had this debate and visited several preschools before choosing to send my daughter this year. As a former teacher, and now SAHM, I realize that the thing that kids get from going to preschool as opposed to just doing playgroups and field trips on your own is that your child gets used to the teacher/student relationship and has time to build that foundation. It is an important skill for children to learn to be able to follow rules and directions other than those from a parent or family member.
Perhaps you could send him 2 instead of 3 days? At this age, the lessons learned are more about social skills and less about academics - but they are as important if not more so.
If it makes it easier for you, consider this as setting aside time to give the baby more undivided attention as you had done with your first, as opposed to "getting rid" of your older son.

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L.D.

answers from New York on

Seriously, send him or he will be lost in public kindergarten and wonder what the heck is going on. You wouldn't believe what the do in kindergarten now. They start writing and learning to read, they have word wall words they need to learn and even do a little addition as well as number charts. Its very academic now of days and tho, I would have loved to keep mine home too, it really is going to be to his detriment unless you canafford to send him to some pricey private school, and even then he will be playing catch up.

LL

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M.O.

answers from New York on

Dear D.,

I tend to agree with the posters who say that preschool is the new kindergarten and kindergarten is the new first grade. Kindergartens are really academic; they assume that kids will come there with a basic ability to share, sit still, play well with others, etc.

My recommendation is to really shop around and find a preschool that's gentle and nurturing and focuses on the development of each child. Next year we will be sending my son to a co-op preschool where there are two parent volunteers in class every day. That creates enough "eyes" to really watch out for issues like bullying, and it seems like a good transition from what you have now -- a two-children-to-one-adult ratio -- to kindergarten, which is more like twenty children to one adult.

Good luck!

Mira

PS Kudos to you for being more concerned about your three-year-old's social and emotional development than about his academic development at this age. You sound like a great mom.

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A.W.

answers from New York on

For us, it will be necessary to send our daughter to Preschool. Mainly because she needs the social activity of other kids and learning to play nicely with others without Mama or Papa. It also will teach her independence, but also she has her own life (as do I!). With a younger one at home, it might even be more important to send your elder son to Preschool. You get to spend one-on-one time with the younger son, and your older son gets to have his own Special Day to be a big-boy by himself.

If you feel like you aren't able to afford it, you might want to make sure your preschool will give you your deposit back. Some preschools in my area won't/don't, unless there are crazy circumstances (moving out of state, etc).

Good luck to you... I know this is a tough decision.
A.

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D.

answers from New York on

We started my son in a free program at the beginning of the year and it was horrible. Mostly free play and very little structure. In Feb we started our son in a paid program, and he has flourished. He has done library and play groups since he was 1 but they don't teach the structure that a GOOD preschool can provide. We mostly wanted him enrolled because he is very active and we felt that it was important for him to learn what will be expected of him once he gets to Kindergarten. Kindergarten isn't what it use to be. They have sight words they need to identify, start reading and writing. We felt that it was important for our son to learn these skills earlier rather then later. So when he gets to Kindergarten he'll be prepared. Think of it this way, it will give you the chance to spend some one on one time with your 1 yr old. All the time you get to spend with your first when it was just the 2 of you, you can do that now with your 2nd.

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S.A.

answers from New York on

Hi D. N,
as a high school teacher and mother of a busy 5 year old boy, I would say yes send him. You are correct in your statement that times are changing. Mainly educational and social expectations.... preschool is the "new" kindergarten and kindergarten is the "new" 1st grade! Your son will defintley benefit from the interaction with another authority figure and the children he will encounter. In addition, the structured environment will help him imensely. Be sure the school you choose is pre-school and not daycare... as there is a major difference, with the later, from my experience, being more of a baby sitting service of sorts.

If money is not an issue and you feel he needs the change in environment send him at 3, just so he can get the socialization factor of playing nice, sharing, centers etc. Side note.. Hackensack offers 1/2 day pre-kindergarten/pre-school for 4 year olds and it is free. You can select am or pm. Good Luck to you.

S. A.

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M.B.

answers from New York on

I am an elementary school teacher and a mom of 2 boys 3 1/2 and 10 months. I have taught for 10 years and have some experience with kids who did not attend prek. Most have,and the ones who did not always were a bit behind. Most caught up, but you also have to worry about self esteem issues too.

My 3 yo is in a 2 afternoon 3 1/2 hour preschool even though
I am home on maternity leave. Although I did not need to send him since I am home, I feel it is so important for him to socialize adn get the feel of what it is like to be in school. As far a socializing, playgroups are great but don't provide the structure a child will have to become used to in K. My son has learned to take turns, listen to the teacher, wait in line, clean up after an activity, follow multistep directions, resolve conflicts, and much more. These are all skills that take time to develop and I feel I have equiped my son wiht these early coping skills and he will have an easier time transitioning to K. He has another year (4year old class) which I believe will help to further hone those skills, as well as focus on the academic skills that 90% of his peers will also know when they enter K.
SO, obviously while my advice is to do prek, there are some things you should consider: Is YOUR child ready? You may want to wait and send him next year when he is 4. I think it is absolutely necessary to go to at least one year of pre k. Sorry to sound preachy, but right now I am tutoring a kindergarten student who did not attend prek and she is struggling horribly. The other kids came in knowing all their letters and pretty much all their sounds (that is the norm now), and she has spend all year playing catch up, which has been tough on her self esteem.
A low cost option, which is what I do, is enroll in a co-op nursery. Thery are less expensive (by half in some cases) and you can participate in your child's class sometimes

Where are you located? I can recommend mine!

Hope this helps!

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W.K.

answers from New York on

Hi D.,

I also have 2 boys that are 2 years apart. mine are a little older now (5 and 7) and I can tell you that I think the preschool experience is very valuable.

both of my boys attended preschool and they have learned a lot. it has also given them a chance to be independent and away from mom. I think a 2 1/2 hour program a few days a week is just the right amount of time. it will allow you a little one on one time with your baby and allow your older boy to be a little independent and socialize.

now that my son is in first grade and in the public school I realize the value of preschool even more. It is amazing how much more children are expected to know when entering school as opposed to when we were kids.

If you can afford to send him at 3 years old I would strongly consider it. if not, waiting until he is 4 is good too. but I would definitely send him at age 4. IN PRE-K he will learn a lot of skills that will prepare him for the years ahead.

Good luck to you in your decision.

W.

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M.S.

answers from Utica on

Preschool is a CHOICE (despite what some professionals may say). However, depending on the program your child is enrolled in, your child will also learn basic academic skills and classroom behaviors. That's in addition to the socializing and manners. Most good preschools work on colors and letters and numbers and concepts (top, bottom, up down, etc.) and give your child a jump-start for school. It also makes the transition from home to school a lot easier because it is not such a sudden change. All those things you might not have time for with a little one. Did you observe the class in action? That might help you make a final decision. And don't think of it as abandoning your child, espercially for so little a time. Think of it as enriching his childhood experience and preparing him for the future. Can you tell I am a teacher? Again, ultimately the decision is up to you, but there are some benefits.

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T.B.

answers from Albany on

I am a mother of two boys, one is 14 and the other will be 1 in less than 2 weeks. I waited until my first boys was 4 to put him in preschool and I wish I had put him in at 3. They need the time to prepare themselves for Kindergarten.I realize all children are different but I would send your son this year and don't feel like you are trying to get rid of him I think you will see it will be good for him as well as yourself.

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S.K.

answers from New York on

Hi D., I am probably in the minority but I do not feel that a 3 year old needs to go to school. I have four kids and my three school aged kids only started school at 4 when they were enrolled in our district's free pre-K program. Prior to pre-K we did the occasional library program, dance class, gymnastics, Sunday School,etc. You can consider putting the money into other activities such as a gymnastics class. My kids are excellent readers, well mannered, socialized and fantastic. Go with your gut.

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J.F.

answers from New York on

I also have a 3 year old and 1 year old boy!! I'll give you my two cents, since I totally understand where you're coming from!! I did send my boy to preschool, he goes now twice a week and he absolutely LOVES it! They do crafts and music and read books and even put on a play for christmas! I chose to send him because I really felt that I was unable to provide enough stimulation for him at home, and also because I thought that the socialization would help him. We do socialize a lot with friends, but most of my friends have girls and most of them are older than him so I wanted him to be with some boys his own age.
And, another thing, and I think you'll TOTALLY understand this - I really felt that I didn't have the time to teach him things, do enough fun things with him, make crafts with him, etc because of the baby! It's VERY hard to do a lot of the things most of the moms have suggested for you because you have a little one!! (at least, it's hard for me!). My baby is into EVERYTHING and has a FIT if he isn't a part of the crafts we make or the games we play! My older boy definitely doesn't get a lot of quality one on one with just me, to teach him stuff, because of his little brother!! Going to Mom and me groups or to gym or whatever is really HARD with two, because you can't focus on the older one because you have to be with the little one!!! Going to the library is virtually impossible for me with both of them!!!! So, I decided to send my older boy to school so that he could make crafts and play with kids his own age! This september, I"m sending him to half day pre-k (I have to pay for it) 5 days a week! As to whether or not I'll send my younger one, we shall see. He's a very different baby than my first one was, he's not as independent and he's way more attached to me, so it will definitely depend on how he is when he's 3.
So, if you can afford it, I'd definitely recommend it! Your older boy will probably LOVE it, and learn a lot both academically and socially, and you'll get some "one kid" time, which isn't exactly free time (unfortunately!!) but it is still a bit of down time and time for you to enjoy your little one, which isn't always easy to do with kids our age!!!
Good luck, whatever you decide!!

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R.S.

answers from New York on

Hi D.
I'm not sure these responses are helping you, most of them are saying there is so much pressure to do this or that. Yet the pressure comes from other mother's who want you to do what they did. If you have researched your pre-school and are happy with the curriculum then take a look at your son's daily life. Do you feel he is fulfilled, this is not a reflection on you at all, it is about his temperament and personality. Every child is different, every mother is different. At the end of the day you need to do what is best for you and your child. A preschool environment can be a great place to socialise and learn new skills, yet if you feel that being at home with him he is socialising and blossoming and most of all happy, then by all means keep him home. Personally, my daughter and I are very happy with the break in between our day and have quality time together when we're both home. Before she went to pre-school we were both getting to each other, and we socialised a lot, at playgroups, mom's groups, museums, dance classes etc. Yet she is so independent that she needed to venture out on her own. During the time she is in school I take classes and work, this is what works for her and for me, and makes us both very happy. A happy mother is the best gift for your child, so do what makes you happy.

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A.C.

answers from New York on

D.,

Preschool is not just for learning how to get along with others anymore. It also reinforces what I'm sure you already have been teaching him, colors, numbers, alphabet, saying name and address and writing his name. When it comes time to start school officially, children are required to know the basics including writing them otherwise they may be enrolled in pre-kindergarten or repeating kindergarten. You should be able to get the requirements from your local elementary school which will guide you in deciding sending him this year or waiting until next.

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M.K.

answers from New York on

I am a Bahai and we are encouraged to stay at home with our children til age 5,

right now its difficult because your little guy is so small, BUT you could try putting him in the high chair and teaching them a class.

In my faith we took a core curiculum class that helped me get prepared to teach my child. and I obtained the materials aswell.

You could do something similar,
here is a LINK:

http://www.abchomepreschool.com/PreschoolEducationBlog/20...

This should be very helpful for 49.99 you can purchase curriculum, and then re USE it for your younger child.

You can teach class while the baby, is paying quietly,
read to both of them, give him playdough, while he is napping, all you need is 2 hours or less per day.

Good luck

M

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S.P.

answers from New York on

It's really not necessary that he go to preschool, but if you're a SAHM, then you may want to give him a bit of variety by sending him. He may actually like it. Don't feel that you're trying to get rid of him, you're just giving him another outlet. Good luck.

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A.C.

answers from New York on

I ahve 4 children ranging from 5-20 yrs. I have sent all 4 of them to preschool. It is a wonderful experience for both Mom and preschooler. Mom's have the opportunity to meet other Mom's and make new friends. The preschooler gets used to a routine and structure of the class emvironment. I substitute teach and there are some little ones that you can definitely tell did not have any preschool and they do struggle when starting elementary school. I had no doubt that my kids were going to preschool. You are not "getting rid" of your son. You are preparing him for school as well as socialization with other children.

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B.A.

answers from New York on

Yes money is an issue.I'm pretty sure that is why hubby has flipped flopped. I can't really blame him. Both of my boys went to nursery school mainly for the reasons you stated.
"I feel he could use the help to socialize and learn manners and how to act with others." They really do need that if they want to make an easy transition to regular school. If you want to put it off for another year, I don't feel it would hurt, that is if he plays nice with others. If he has difficulty doing so, I would send him.

As to you pushing him off as you put it, I don't think that is true. Yes you have your hands full with the baby. But by sending the older child to pre school, he will be having fun, doing and seeing new things and expericencing life outside of home on his own so to speak. Your younger child will benifit by the fact that he will have the special bonding time with Mommy that your first was able to enjoy.

I say send him if you can afford it, but if it is going to put too much pressure on the family funds, try and hold off for a year. Maybe trade off with another mom with a child the same age for a couple hours a week. Alternate so you both get a break and the kids learn how to act with others in another home.

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L.H.

answers from New York on

No, preschool is not neccessary. I know people say about it helping social skills, but don't forget that children also learn bad behaviors in daycare centers and preschools. You can get your child ready for school on your own by simpley calling your local school district for advice on preparing your child for kindergarten. School districts are more than happy to help you out. The best things you can do is to sit down with your child every day and have have him concentrate on a quite activity just like they do in schools. It could be reading to your child, drawing, coloring, or following directions. You can start teaching your child the alphabet, numbers, how to print his name, reading simple words, learning poems or nursery rhyms or songs. You can teach your child manners by acting polite and how to play games together and share. For social skils, let your child join a sports type activity or art classes. (Swimming classes, martial art classes, etc.) Nursery school is becoming over rated and it is very important for children to spend more time with their families.

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A.F.

answers from New York on

D., i'm sure you got a mixed bag of replies to this. I am not sending my 3 year old to preschool, mostly for financial reasons, we just don't have the extra money. i keep going back and forth too, i want to make sure i do the right thing for my child. i keep focusing on the fact that he is only 3 for crying out loud! does he really need to be in a structured environment. isn't kindergarten about preparing kids for school? so why are we now sending them to preschool to prepare for kindergarten?? if you are doing playgroups etc or have multiple kids then i don't think the socialization argument holds up. with multiple kids at home your kids will learn how to share and interact etc. if you only have 1 child then maybe preschool is for you. there is a lot of pressure out there from other moms etc to send kids at 3, but i'm not. my kids are also not in any other "programs" like music or tumbling etc. we do music at home and we have lots of playtime. anyway, that is my 2 cents! good luck with your decision and i am kind of on board with you, i'll reevaluate when he is 4 and see. A.

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S.Z.

answers from New York on

Hi Dale, Sending your older son to preschool is not "getting rid" of him, but enabling him to grow and experience another environment. When my older son was three (my two sons were 21 months apart), all the children in the neighborhood were older than he; he had no peers. Sending him to nursery school two days a week from 9 a.m. to noon, allowed him to interact with other children his age in a structured and nurturing environment which was wonderful for him. It also allowed me to spend some one-on-one special time with my younger son. What a wonderful gift for both your sons (and you!) I was a SAHM too - the best thing I ever did for my children. Shelby

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L.D.

answers from Albany on

My oldest was 3 turning 4 the September I started him in preschool. My reasoning was for socialization as well. (I'm a SAHM too.) I felt the same way but now I'm glad I did it because kindergarten is the new 1st grade. They demand so much and I'm amazed at how many children are either over prepared or underprepared when they get there. It's scary because everybody is on different pages but I can't imagine not doing preschool.

My middle son is now in preschool and the new quandry is whether to put him in pre-K or kindergarten since he's turn 5 in July. Again, they just expect so much and now it's all day! I hate the thought of him being gone all day just a couple of months after turning 5. :(

Good luck but definitely, I would do preschool.

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L.A.

answers from New York on

My name is L.. I am an assistant director of a preschool in Little Ferry, NJ. I understand your concerns with not feeling he needs to go. But I also think it is beneficial for them to go. I know he will only be going 3 days a week but it is good for his socialization and his learning. I also think it gives you a break. I have two children, my son is 4 and he goes to the school with me and my daughter is 8 months and my aunt, mom or husband watches her. She is too young to come to the school, we do not take a child until they are 16months. I think that putting him in school in September will help him be a step ahead for when he starts pre-k when he is 4 and then even more ready for kindergarten. It really is something you have to feel comfortable with. I have parents at the school that feel the same as you but then I also have the parents that work and their children are at the school until 6pm. I think that if I stayed at home everyday I would definitely do a preschool program. If you dont want to do preschool until he is 4 you could always try a gym class at The Little Gym or Gymboree. I hope I helped you a little.

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D.Z.

answers from Binghamton on

D.,

This is a hard decision. My three year old will be eligible for Pre-K in the fall, but she is born just before the cutoff and I don't plan on sending her to Kindergarten until she is actually 5, so that makes it awkward if I send her to Pre-K and then don't send her on to Kindergarten. I have decided to keep her home with me another two years.

I guess you need to ask yourself why you are staying home with them to begin with. This is our only chance to be the main influence in our childs lives, a chance for us to teach them our beliefs and values without a structured program contradicting what we are doing at home. If you really want them to have that solid foundation with you, then I really think 3 is too young to be sent out into the world.

I loved the point that the money would be better spent doing activities with your child. I too have the concern that my baby will prevent me from teaching my 3 year old the things she needs to learn. There is so much pressure on parents and kids these days. My son is in Kindergarten this year and he was flagged the first week of school and put into a remedial reading class because he didn't know the entire alphabet, both upper and lower case letters....the first week of Kindergarten! I guess gone are the days when Kindergarten was for learning the letters, numbers, colors, and shapes, and learning to play with their peers! Ridiculous if you ask me.

I have a hard time doing organized learning with my kids, I always seem to have a baby who needs nursing, which makes teaching the alphabet real difficult. I know that there are many moms out there who can do it all, but I for one am not super mom. Some days it is a miracle if I get dinner on the table before 8pm, let alone teach my child the alphabet!

You have to do what is right for your child and your family. I don't think that academics should be stressed at age 3, but if he needs the extra socialization and you don't feel you can get it through play groups and outside activities, then maybe it would be a good thing. I'm sure every child benefits from preschool, but is it really necessary, I don't really think so.

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