Is Preschool Necessary?

Updated on July 30, 2010
L.J. asks from Du Bois, PA
26 answers

My daughter is 4 years old, turning 5 in Oct. In our area, she cannot attend kindergarten until next year. We have been looking at preschools all summer and cannot decide on one. It is difficult to find something that works with my and my husband's schedules. Also, the cost! They are running between $1500 and $2000 for 2 or 3 days per week, from Sept. until May. My daughter is also taking gymnastics and dance. She has been attending a wonderful in-home daycare since she was a year old. My question, is do you think preschool is really necessary? I know she would love it, because she did go to a summer preschool last year at a church, but the schedule and cost.....She is a bright child and socially well-adjusted, and gets along well with her peers. My husband feels that she does not need to go. My mom feels that it does give children a head-start, but that Mya doesn't NEED to go. I am feeling like I just want to let her take the activites she enjoys and forego the preschool. Can anyone help/tell your experiences?

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answers from Harrisburg on

I would HIGHLY recommend preschool for a 4yr old. I was in my daughters classroom for Kgarden weekly and you can def. tell the children that have not been in preschool. It gives them such a start for "real" school and gets them ready for the "real" thing. Daycare/babysitting is just NOT the same. My second child is only 16 months and we already started talking about putting money aside for his preschool because we think it is SO important. No I would not recommend going to preschool when they are 2 or 3 that is just glorified play time. The 4yr old class really gets them ready for k-garden.



answers from Allentown on

It is not just the academics, it is the social aspect also. Kids are expected to sit and pay attention for long periods of time without interruption. This might be a bit harder for boys then girls. Depends on the child.



answers from Anchorage on

It is not a must, but it will help her next year if you work with her on writing her own name, and tying her shoes.

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answers from Allentown on

Hi, L.:
No, the child does not need preschool.

We have been conditioned to believe that sending the child off from home early helps them, Indeed it does not! The best place to learn is at home.

You can teach your child everything she needs to know right at home.
Good luck. D.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sharon on

Educational, emotional and social success are more to do with the home environment than they are to do with school. Study after study has proven this. I would say that she can skip preschool and be just fine.

The only problem I can foresee if is she gets bored at daycare if she hits the wanting to learn stage. If you have been doing this daycare since she was one then surely they would be able to read her needs?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think your mom nailed it. Some kids NEED it, and some don't.

My son was one who did, for various reasons. He absolutely blossomed/rocketed upwards. And then when he started getting crushed in K and we pulled him out. We now homeschool and it took six months, but he started blossoming again. (Aargh... that one year did soooo much damage). We've been HS'ing for 3 years now and it's been phenomenal. But if I ever won the lottery his preschool teacher would get 2 chunks... one for her and one for a scholarship fund for other students to attend. Sending him to preschool was the BEST thing we could have done for him AT THE TIME. Just as pulling him out of public school a few years later was the best thing that we could do at the time.

In each case we looked at what HE needed, and what was best for our family.

IMHO that's one of the cool things about being a parent... you're the one who knows your child the best... so you get/it's your responsibility to do what's best for them.

Sometimes that means doing what's "normal" and sometimes it's what's off the beaten path. Neither is inherently better than the other. If your gut is saying : She's doing phenomenal NOW, with what we're already doing... why change that for something that even just *looking* at it is stressful?

Don't fix what isn't broken.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Preschool not necessary. How about Nature School? Got a nature center near you? Any activity outside the home, like her dance and gymnastics, is teaching the socialization skills she will use in Kindergarten. Sometimes, if you teach them all the letters and numbers and how to read really well before they get to school, you set them up for extreme boredom and frustration at school.

Once I overheard a teacher say, "IT ALL EVENS OUT BY THE 3RD GRADE. JUST TEACH TO THE MIDDLE." Well, yeah, 3rd grade - - but up until then, the kids who enrolled in Kindergarten with advanced reading skills have been sitting, bored, twiddling their thumbs, while classmates "in the middle" learn HOW to read.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from York on

I was in the same boat. Here are a few questions I would ask yourself :
Can your daughther recognize and write her own name??
Name at least 10 parts of her body and point to each one?
Count to ten and say the entire alphabet unassisted?
Recognize at least 8 different colors?
Use scissors?
Does she take turns easily and share with other kids?
Can she sit for an extended time (more then 15 minutes straight) quietly to hear a book being read or to do a project.
Can she work with other kids on a project (building a tower or finishing a puzzle)?
Can she follow a 2 step oral direction (please take your coat over to the coat area AND hang it up)?
If she can do all these things and has had social interactions with other kids (which it looks like she has with gymnastics and daycare, then I would say NO it's NOT neccessary for her to go to preschool. The above things are basic things that are expected from a child when they enter Kindergarten and as long as she knows those things, she is right on course "academically" and even if she doesn't know all those things now - YOU can work on them with her at home over the next year. That being said, if your daughter goes to a preschool near where you live, your daughther will most likely meet kids that she will be going to Kindergaten with next year and that alone may make that transition easier for her come next Fall.
T. C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I think that preschool is a great stepping stone into kindergarten. It's more about age appropriate peer interaction and socialization than it is academics. It can really help them to better adjust o the expectations of kindergarten, like having to be within a more structured environment, dealing with transitions, trusting and respecting other adults and their teaching style, getting used to sitting and being focussed for about 20 minutes at a time... If your daughter is a child who has trouble adjusting to new situations, socialization with larger groups of her same aged peers or separation, preschool can be really helpful.

Ultimately you have to decide what you can afford and what's best for your family though. Your daughter will adjust to kinder without attending preschool, but she would definitely benefit from going.

Good luck~

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We did pre-k for both of our older kids for their 3 and 4 year old years. They LOVED it. The 3 year old class was way more of a social hour, but the four year old class they focused more on letters and counting and patterns, etc. So I think it is worth it and a great stepping stone into full-day school. Our youngest won't go for his 3 year old year, beause with my husband out of work we simply cannot afford to pay $160/mont for two mornings a week on top of his day care bill. So he will get the educaiton stuff at day care where there are two other 3 year olds. It is not a must - a lot of kids don't go, but I think it's a great thing!! Don't feel bad though if you cant :o)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

I don't think that it is absolutely necessary for children to go to preschool. It is a personal choice. Many kids do just fine in school without the benefits of having attended a preschool.

I did send my oldest to preschool at a church which cost me $80 a month. She loved it, particularly the field trips. My middle child was having problems with potty training so I couldn't send him to the same preschool that his older sister attended. However, I did find out that the local high school runs a preschool for their child development class. It only cost me $70 for the four month program. This program helped him with his temper tantrums, his sharing issues and his potty training. My youngest is not yet ready for preschool but I will send her to the high school one when she is ready.

In my school district, the kindergarten went from being a half-day program to a full-day program a couple of years ago. This would be a big adjustment to go from being at home all day to being away from home for 6 hours literally overnight. It was important to me for my son to get a little taste of being away from home for half that time and to have the benefits of working on his socialization skills before entering kindergarten, which he will do in a month.

Good luck with your decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

Some people send their children to preschool -others don't - it really is your choice. My children always went and had a great time - just got them "used" to school - by that time they were ready for some school - not only for learning, but social aspects also. With that being said I could not afford the large price tag you are talking about either. My first child went to a preschool held in a church (sometimes they do this to earn a little extra money) My second child (and my four year old now) went (and will go) to a preschool at our local high school - the high school students help "teach". The cost equals out to about $40-50 a month - for three days a week. Maybe you could look around for something that is a little more reasonable for you. Good Luck.



answers from Harrisburg on

I agree with some of the other posters that some children need to go so they can do better socially or academically or both. I have 3 children and did not send any of them. Because I actually worked with them at home, my kids all do much better than the other children when they are tested for kindergarten. It's amazing to me that some of these kids that did go to preschool (and some that didn't but their parents didn't work with them) go to kind. not even knowing how to cut with scissors, not know their letters, etc. I don't know if our preschools around here are just particularly bad or if the parents don't continue teaching at home or what. Either way, if you think your daughter has plenty of outside activity and you do work with her, my advice is to save your money and work with her at home.



answers from Harrisburg on

You should check with the daycare to see if they're starting to teach them the same "academic" stuff they would learn in preschool. Also, that seems really expensive for preschool. Are they half days? My son (same age) is attending a preschool that is 3 half days a week for $105 per month which I believe works out to $945 for the whole year. She's probably getting the social interaction she needs at daycare so I wouldn't worry about that part.



answers from Johnstown on

We never bothered putting any of our girls into preschool. 1) Was the cost. 2) Neither my hubby nor myself had attended it nor any of our relatives. All of our girls have Jan. birthdays, so they're late starters. When our older daughter was ready for kindergarten registration/testing, she actually tested out of kindergarten AND first grade and was ready to go right on into 2nd grade. We kept her with her own age group because she needed the social skills. Now our twins are starting this year and they have both also tested beyond the kindergarten level. Let her skip preschool and be a kid a little longer. She'll be in school for a minimum of 13 yrs anyway. I'm very local to you and if you have any questions, fell free to pm me anytime.



answers from Philadelphia on

We never sent our kids to daycare, although I worked part-time. (We had someone come to the house to watch our kids.) We did send our kids to preschool, however, but to a wonderful one that was totally developmental and not at all academic. I don't believe in needing to be in a formal academic environment at that age...what they learned that was more academic-oriented they just picked up from being with me and the world around them. My kids both got a lot out of preschool, though. It was an amazing place for them and I was sad when it was time to move on to kindergarten! My son still has best friends whom he met in preschool but with whom he has not been in public school. (I met terrific parents through the preschool, too.) We never considered not sending our kids to preschool, so I was not in your shoes, needing to make that decision. I actually cannot think of any kids we know that did not spend some time in some sort of preschool environment. I would agree that kids generally do not need to go to preschool, but my husband and I are so glad we sent ours--they did get a lot out of going.

Good luck with your decision...the first, perhaps, of what may be many decisions like this over the years! :)


answers from Pittsburgh on

We have many friends from Europe and none of them send their children to preschool. My 3 older siblings and I didn't go. I don't think its necessary for all kids, and our son may or may not go (and if he does, it'll only be for 1 year, unlike many of his friends that go 2-3yrs).

You know your daughter. Not sure if this was mentioned, but would it matter if her kindergarten was full-time or half-days? If its full-time, the preschool may help with adjusting?

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

No, preschool is not necessary. However, I do feel that it can be quite helpful with socialization and learning. It sounds like your daughter is well-adjusted, so i wouldn't worry too much about it though. Just do what works for you and don't worry too much about what others think...



answers from Indianapolis on

Please take our advice with a grain of salt. We're all opinionated in our own ways for our own reasons.

I, personally, believe every child should go to preschool. My mom was a SAHM, and I was in preschool from 3 years until kindergarten. Part socialization, part recognition that I was a quick learner and to start preparing me more for full-time school.

I'm a working Mom. We're fortunate that our day care has a strict curriculum, and our son, at 4, could easily enter kindergarten this year based upon what he already knows. Much is learned at school. But, we proactively work to reinforce when we're with him, too. He turned 4 in June and blew away his developmental milestones at his well-child visit. We expect he'll be reading well before his next birthday - they work very diligently on letters, phonics, etc. in his class.

In-home day cares are more challenged from a curriculum stand point because they have such a wide variety of ages and learning abilities to incorporate. We'd looked at in-home, too, and we opted for a traditional facility because of the structure.

It doesn't mean mine is the right opinion - it's just how we feel in our house, and it's noticeable between our kids and others on the street who are similar ages who have not attended a more structured environment (speech, manners, socialization, etc).

Good luck. Perhaps involve her in the decision and see how she feels. If she's interested, I'd encourage it since so much of their fundamental learning is already taking place.



answers from Denver on

Kids are expected to learn how to read by the end of kindergarten. It's not just fun, games, lollipops and 'learning how to be in school', like it was for me when I was in K. Academically it's very rigorous. My DD went to my local school's preschool and did very well in K because she was able to keep up. The kids who did not go to preschool had a very hard time keeping up and were already at a disadvantage since the teacher covered certain topics and moved forward. I volunteered in her classroom and it was obvious the kids who didn't have the preschool advantage....and they fell further behind. This is my district though. Maybe it would help to talk to the kindergarten teacher at what will be your DDs school and ask them what they see is the best. GL.


answers from Williamsport on

It's not necessary. I almost pulled my 4yo daughter from her daycare/preschool to home school for one year until Kindergarten for cost because I had started going through writing and math workbooks at home with her in addition to her piano, swimming, etc, and she's learning very fast. She too is social and well adjusted, and through the daycare she was, in, she already got all the sicknesses and germs the first year brings. Phew.

At the last minute I found a K4 in our area and decided she would like the structured classes they offer so we switched her for fall-though it's still unnecessary, since she'd be ready for Kindergarten next year for sure without it (she already is), but we were able to do it so we are (but still may pull her at some point due to cost if it's not awesome).

I think if you make sure she has basic learning workbook stuff done up to the kindergarten level (very easy and fun) you shouldn't worry about it at all, especially with her dance. Your husband is right, she doesn't need it.



answers from New York on

She's not required to go to kindergarten but it is a good idea. As someone who works in an elementary school, we do see the difference. When my oldest was preschool age, I was working f/t and she was in an at home daycare. Sure there were a couple of kids her age there, but I sent her for a year of preschool when she was 4, five afternoons a week. She needed to become familiar with the structure of the school day. Also keep in mind that even if your child is where she should be academically, the things that you need to work on with her are things like buttoning/zipping her own clothes and coat, following a three step direction, etc.
Good luck



answers from New York on

Both my daughters attended preschool. After two months, my daughter started reading, and entered K at a 2nd grade reading level. It was a wonderful experience for both of them.

All children who attend preschool will benefit in several ways. They learn to be away from parents, relate to a teacher, take turns, numbers and letters, how to recognize their names. It really helps to prepare them for what will be expected in K.

Is it necessary, that depends on the child. Considering your daughter is taking gymnastics and dance, she may be learning many of these skills in that environment. You could work with her at home with some of the academics (numbers, colors, letters).

You need to decide what's best for your family. Maybe you could cut back on the gymnastics and dance, and use some of those funds for preschool?

Good luck.



answers from Detroit on

You can also send your child to a HeadStart program...



answers from Atlanta on

I don't think it's absolutely necessary, but I think it depends on the kid. Here in GA we have lottery sponsored PreK that is free, and it's primary purpose is to make sure that all kids are ready for kindergarten and know their basics -ABCs, colors, shapes, numbers, etc. I'm sending my son because it's free and the after care is only $140 a month! They also get into a lot more than the basics, and even though he knows all of that stuff, he'll enjoy learning the extra things, and I think it will help him to be on a daily schedule and get used to a school routine before kindergarten. If I had to pay that much, then NO! His preschool he went to for socialization and did actually learn a good bit was half-day for 3 days a week and costs about $290 per month. If I wasn't working full-time and he couldn't go to the free pre-K -then he would be going back there just to give me a break and play with friends. Bottom line -if she knows her basics and enjoys her current situation -keep it up! She has to start school next year, and she'll have the rest of her life to be in school or work.



answers from Washington DC on

You don't have to send them to preschool , your daughter does get social interaction by going to daycare and with gymnastics and dance. If you really want her to go , and the cost is an issue , because preschool being only half day you would still have the cost of daycare on top if you are at work , then can your mom look after her when she get's out of preschool? If no-one is available to watch her then you have no choice but to keep her where she is.

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