Play Based Vs. More Academic Preschool

Updated on February 03, 2009
T.B. asks from Seattle, WA
4 answers

I have a son who is going to turn 4 in April. This year he has been attending a small preschool that is play based. They don't really focus on academic learning, although they do offer some academics, but the kids get to choose if they want to participate. My son generally choses not to participate. I really feel like my son needs to know his letters and numbers before he starts kindergarten, but I am not confident that he will learn them where he is currently in school. I also want my son to learn that school is fun.

Soooo, I'm considering switching schools for next school year. I hate to think about switching schools and getting him used to a new teacher, new location, new friends, ect. But on the other hand I am starting to feel that maybe he does need to go ahead and get used to a bigger environment with more kids, and to have the academic stuff a bit more at the forefront, although not in a pushy school either if you know what I mean.

How important are the "academics" at this age? How important will it be later after school starts? I've read some articles that say a child who enters Kindergarten without knowing the basics will start out behind most of his peers and that it will take quite a while to catch up. Is it worth switching schools at this point in the game? Is it worth having my son go through a big change like that since he'll have to do it again for elementary school in 2010?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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answers from Seattle on

kindergarten evens out quickly in school and play is a type of learning anyway-
i would recommend that you teach him his letters and numbers- parent involvment (thruout school) has a lot to do with student success, so starting now sets good habits. there are lots of educational books, videos, etc. but since you have a younger child who probably keeps you busy, working it into your daily activities is a great and fun way to teach. when you read books show him a few letters each time, get foam letters for the bathtub, make a game of finding the C on the cereal box... or the S on the stop sign. practice counting at lunch- how many pieces of apple/sandwich/cookie do you have? how many stairs at the playground? making it a game and keeping it positive make it fun. Also, the children's museum, aquarium, library, etc. are great places to teach things and he might be having so much fun he won't even realize he's learning.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


Leave him where he is until he starts kindergarten. He'll be fine. I was talking with the current Kindergarten teacher at the school that my son will be attending in the fall, and she says that she gets the whole gamut and that by the time the year is over they are all on the same page, literally.

These little ones are little for only a short time, let them BE little. If he's adjusted, plays well, and is having fun, why rip up the roots that are being laid down? When he's ready to learn he'll learn.

Hope this helps,



answers from Seattle on

Hi there, I have a 4 year old in preschool right now who will start Kjndergarten this Fall. From what I've learned about this, is that preschool is about social skills, getting along with others, being away from the parent, following directions and such in a "school" environment. They learn everything they need to learn acedemically in Kindergarten. I wouldn't worry this year, but it wouldn't hurt to go to an acedemic based preschool next year, so that letters and worksheets will be a familiar thing once Kindergarten hits. You could also buy a preschool workbook and let him practice in it at home.
Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

I would also leave him where it is. Does he like books or the card with pictures, etc.? Maybe you can choose more of those where you can teach him yourself just by repetition. That is what this age is about anyway... Hope this helps :)

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