Pre - K for 4 Yo How Important Is It?

Updated on September 27, 2010
Y.K. asks from Clifton, NJ
9 answers

i have sort of decided not to put my 4 yo old daughter to a pre- k program for a few reasons. one of them is that we will be traveling this year for 3 months out of state. so i thought taking her out of school in October and then again in January makes no sense. also i wanted to give her 1 more year of "freedom"
however, i don't want her to be behind her classmates next year, kindergarten. how important is pre K, what do they learn that i can do with her at home? are those pre K books enough to learn from? or should i place her in pre K program right now and not worry about her skipping 3 months? is pre K free in public school?

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answers from Columbus on

I did not put my daughter who's now 6 in Pre-K and she does wonderful in school and I'm not putting my son who's almost 4 in Pre-K. You can go to to see what she still needs to work on to be ready for Kindergarten.

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answers from Spartanburg on

I am not sure where you live so I am sure things could differ in each region and each state. I live in SC and here 4K is free in the public schools however there is limited space at the elementary schools (a lot of daycares offer it as well.) The elementary schools that offer it have a screening process and to my understanding your child has to not know a certain amount in order to be entered into the 4K program. For instance, children who already know their colors, ABCs, simple shapes, etc usually do not get into the elementary school 4K programs because they do not need it as much as the children who do not know these things. If your child knows some of the basics (mentioned above) then I believe she will be just fine not going into the 4K program. Most of what they teach them you can do at home:) Those books should be plenty to learn from.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

The most important thing your child will be getting from pre-k is social interaction, particularly in a classroom setting.

I realize you may not be able to mimic the classroom setting with several other pre-k aged children (maybe find some mom's in your area, if you're interested?) but if you aren't going to enroll her in class, please take her to a park where there are other children, preferably close to her age, as often as possible. :)

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answers from Sacramento on

There are all sorts of learning materials available for the preK set. Understand that at this age, children learn through play...that is the best way to learn. If it isn't fun, it shuts them down. (I don't know when this stops, I still think play is the best way to learn for adults too ;) )

Part of PreK is learning social interactions and learning to participate in the ever increasing structure of school.

Some school districts have a two year Kindergarten program for children who have difficulties with transitions. If your daughter has difficulties, that may be an option.

Can you put her into a preschool after you are done with your travels? Give her a few months before Kindergarten?

Ultimately, each child is different. Some children adapt really well to kindergarten without ever stepping foot in a preschool program. Most children seem to really benefit from preschool. The choice is yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Did you see the Today show today? It spoke about this exact subject. It was talking about the children that do attend PreK while 4 and how it increases the learning successes of these students.

I do think every child needs to be treated and listened to for their needs. Some children are just not ready to be in this setting. Some parents are natural teachers and can help their child meet the learning goals..

Here is a link to the story from this morning.

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answers from San Antonio on

She might have some catching up to do with other kids in K if she didn't do pre-K, but so what? It's not like she's an accountant and needs those skills ASAP, lol.

I'm with you. I didn't go to pre-K and I did fabulously in college. I'm a talented artist and a successful business woman with a great family. It didn't hurt me.

In my humble opinion, you really only get your kids for the first 5 years, then school takes them away for most of their waking hours for the rest of their childhood. Enjoy every single second you get!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think it is more the social than the academic skills that are important to teach your daughter before she starts kindergarten next year. She needs to be able to follow directions, listen and do as she's told, sit still when it's time, etc. If she can do all of those things, she'll do fine in kindergarten.

She'll also benefit from working on her fine motor skills, like cutting with scissors, holding a pen/marker the right way, etc. Those are easy to work on at home - just do lots of crafts and art projects. Mazes and coloring books are great for working on fine motor, since it encourages her to follow a path or color/draw within the lines.

For the academic side, get some workbooks that you can do at home, read to her often, and make learning fun and playful. You can teach her everything she needs to know at home. Just make sure she's up to speed on being able to listen and follow directions.

K. - looking for educational toys so your kids can learn at home? I've got 'em!


answers from San Francisco on

We put my step son in pre k about 6 months prior to kindergarten which we paid for it was a private montessori school. His Mom was completely against it because she said "Once he starts school, everything will be all about school. I want him to enjoy his time now" we were completely against it. SO, he lived with us and we put him in. He only did 6 months, and he is behind now. He has a tough time reading, and with Math. IDK if putting him in at 3 (when he came to live with us) or not makes a difference. But with our Son we will be putting him in part time when he turns 2 1/2. My Son isn't around other kids now- and this may help him in the growing process :)



answers from Boston on

I recommend that you put her in. If you look at posts on here, a lot of the students who are having trouble adjusting to kindergarten haven't been in a school setting before, and are all of a sudden asked to follow rules, delay gratification, sit when they don't want to sit, eat when they don't want to eat etc etc. I am 100% positive that you could teach her all the "academics" that she needs to know, but some exposure to a classroom setting would probably do her a lot of good before kindergarten. I wouldn't worry about her skipping 3 months - just start her in January; 5 months of exposure is better than no exposure, in my opinion. Good lucl.

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