Preschool to Prevent Separation Anxiety for Kindergarten?

Updated on March 27, 2010
A.C. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
13 answers

My daughter is 4 and will be 5 in January. I really do not want to do preschool but am considering it for one main reason - to get over the separation from Mommy issues before Kindergarten.

She goes to Sunday school and gymnastics but she knows I am just in the next room there. She does o.k. with a babysitter at home, but I know she would cry for hours if I ever "left" her somewhere. It SEEMS it would be better to address this issue before kindergarten since there is a big possibility she will be in all day kindergarten next year and since attendance at kindergarten is mandatory (it's not like we can ease into kindergarten a little at a time).

But I REALLY don't like the idea of preschool for many reasons (including that I think it is a costly trend that isn't really beneficial to them [as backed up by most experts in child development] and that I don't want her in an "instutional setting" for half the day three days a week until necessary).

**Ammendment: Based on responses I have received so far regarding her not being as academically prepared as those who attend preschool... my daughter can use scissors, tie her shoes, do basic addition and subtraction, and she can read and write with no help from me (words like good-bye, Winter, lemon, pool, crash). So the academic issue is not a concern.

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answers from Kansas City on

My son had to start Early Childhool classes in the public school system at 3 years old. Fortunately I had him in daycare before that because he had already adapted to those things I would have never thought about teaching him at home.

He already knew how to make friends on his own, how to negotiate and manage aggressive kids (my son is very shy and has a speech delay, but he knows the daycare rules of ownership and feels confident in stating that to other kids), he knows how to take comfort from adults other than me when he skins his knee, he knows the correct social behavior when eating at the table or waiting for food, or waiting for his turn at show and tell. He was only 3 years old the first time he had to take a bus to a room full of complete strangers, be bussed back to daycare and he was amazingly OK with it.

It is probably true that kids that didn't go to preschool catch up with the educational things pretty quick, but I feel less stressed for him knowing he recongizes his letters, can read and write his name, can count to 20, do simple math and subtraction and use scissors. Sort of like starting a new job that you already have some experience in vs. one where you are completely lost... sure, you'll catch on, but those first few weeks are torture.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I commend you for wanting to do preschool as a transition to help prepare your daughter for being away when Kindergarten starts.

But, I will also disagree with you on the value of preschool. Sure, some people may do it as a trend. We don't do preschool. Both my husband and I are full-time working parents (always have been). Our kids are in full-time day care, and they are so well-educated because of it.

They have different educational needs at almost 2 and almost 4 years old. Our son is writing all his letters and learning to read simple words. He's assigned jobs at school such as Botanist and Zookeeper. Our daughter has her colors down, working on letters and sign language, shapes, etc. There is a significant different between where are kids are currently vs. our friends' kids who are at home (usually with a younger sibling that needs more of the parent's time/attention). This has been our observation, personally.

I believe giving them any advance education going into the rigors of full-time school will help make the transition so much easier.

Good luck in making the right decision for your daughter and your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When I volunteered in my youngest child's Kindergarten class, I could tell the kids that hadn't gone to preschool. For some it was trouble following directions, others didn't know their letters, numbers or how to hold a scissor correctly.

Most of the kids caught up to their peers by the end of the year, but when the whole class is on the same page, they can move forward as a group.

Kindergarten now is like 1st grade when I went to school (early 70s). They don't play as much and the kids are expected to sit still, listen and follow directions. In our school district, Kindergarteners are expected to be able to read basic words/books and write phonetically by the end of the year. Kinda sucks for the kids that don't know their letters at the beginning of the year. It's a hard year for them and it doesn't have to be.

Preschool is actually the new Kindergarten. There's more play, the learning is more relaxed, they emphasize how to act and go over some basics like colors, numbers and letters.

Good luck in whatever you decide!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Yes, if possible I would try to find some sort of preschool program for your daughter for next year. It could just be 2 or 3 mornings a week. It will help the transistion into kinder and give your child some confidence that she does fine on your own. The trick is to find the right preschool that shares your common goals for your daughter. There are so many great preschools that are not instutional. I too want to suggest a parent co-op school. What a great experience it has been for me and my 3 kids. It too is play-based and a very loving a caring place for me to leave my child (3 other moms are always there with the director and teacher...great knowing there are 3 other mom's there to look after my child). My kids can't wait to get there. We have also developed friendships with other families in are community that I know will be long term.

Do a little reaseach on Parent Co-op Preschools and see if there is one in your area. It is generally a bit less expensive then other preschools because parents run the school. Generally a parent needs to work in the classroom 2 times a month and have other sort of "jobs" that help run the preschool. Our preschool has a director and two part time teachers, but otherwise everything is ran by the parents. It really is a great experience.

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answers from Detroit on

Look into Head Start; you may qualify; have her go at least a few days a week if you're worried.



answers from Seattle on

I thinknpreschool is wonderful! Ours is not institutional at all. We do co-op, which is play-based. I've seen several kids start out not speaking or leaving their cubby turn into fully socialized little people over the last two years. There are many bnefits to preschool, you will see once you try! Just tour a few to see which type is best for both of you.



answers from Detroit on

Not even gonna get into the whole preschool debate... None of my kids have gone/ will go to preschool...

We were a bit worried (as all parents are) about how our kids would adjust to Kindergarten when they started. Our school does All day every day ...

But neither of our 2 in school had any issues. No matter what your child will adjust pretty quickly. The main thing is that she MAY have an issue NOW because she's not as mature as she will be in the fall...

Do not act worried... Perhaps ask for the name of a few other families she will be in school with and arrange some play dates so she "knows" some friends already.... Talk about how COOL school is! Take her to the "open house" days or arrange to tour the class room before school starts a few times and meet with the teacher...

Do not assume her reaction would be horrible if you were not with in reach... She will suprize you and you will have a harder time than she will....



answers from Detroit on

I am a big fan of preschool. I was offered a flexible part time job with great pay.. I had to put my kids in daycare/preschool.. they were 22 months and 3 1/2 years..

The preschool experience has been so good for them. my older child was always shy and anxious. She is now much more confident.. she would not use the bathroom at school for a while but then she got used to it and uses the bathroom. My younger child is very social and talks about his freinds at school. I would suggest finding a coop preschool for your child. That way you can work in the classroom one day per month and that lowers the tuitition a bit.. In our area the Lutheran churches often have nice preschools that are reasonably priced.

I would sign her up for preschoool.. Try it.. she might love it and you might find that she really blossoms.. I fyou are home I would take the 2 day a week option.


answers from Jacksonville on

We put our son in a K4 program 3 days a week (9am-11:45 a.m) for the same sort of reason. So he could learn how to "be away from mommy" basically. He needed to be comfortable going to the bathroom somewhere besides home without ME nearby. He needed to learn how to ask other adults for help with things. That kind of stuff. He was used to time in a church nursery, or occasional babysitters, or being with Nana overnight,... but those are NOT the same as being in a group setting with other kids where someone NOT related to you is in charge for several hours and Mommy isn't even on the premises.

Look around. Surely you can find a small private preschool program that is play oriented. We did. The local Methodist church had a program. We could take him 2 days a week (T,Th) or 3 days a week (M,W,F) or all 5. We chose 3 days a week... but he LOVED it because it was so much fun for him and he made great friends. He wanted to go EVERY day, not just the 3 we signed up for (and fortunately for us, there was an empty slot on T,Th so they allowed him to at no additional charge). They went on field trips (local fire station, post office, planting potatoes at one of the teachers' houses) and had monthly "parties". They did not stress "academics", although they had plenty of educational materials for play time. They were very hands on - taught the kids to write their names in shaving cream with their finger, had puzzles with the alphabet, were required to do what they were able (if they knew how to tie their shoe laces- the teacher had THEM tie them, if not then she would do it/help them). They had a library corner with a small kid sofa and they could sit with books and read (if they were able- my son was). Play kitchen... all kinds of play things. Very loosely structured with lots of activity and NO DESKS.

AND, weather permitting, they went outside EVERY DAY for 30 minutes.

It was great fun and he transitioned seamlessly to K5 the next year.



answers from San Francisco on

I am very anti-preschool for may reasons. One, being the cost to teach my child everything I can teach them at home for free, along with the separation from mommy before 5 years old. Along with having kids do things their bodies are not yet mature enough to do, like sit down and be quiet.

My MIL is a K teacher and she said the kids that stay home and don't do preschool tend to be better behaved and more mature.

We actually homeschool now but, I did have my oldest daugthers in public school for a few years. On their first day of Kindergarten, they walked in and sat down where their names were and didn't even care that I was leaving. I thougth for sure ther would be some crying and clinging. It ended up being me that was crying. Go figure.

Separation anxiety in preschoolers is a natural reaction to being left when they are not ready or old enough to be left. Kids know they should be with their mommies. They are smarter than we are. We give it a name, separation anxiety. They are not ready to be separated.

6 years old is a good Kindergarten age, and at that time maturity is better and they can understand they need to be away from mommy to go to school.


answers from Saginaw on

If its just about separation anxiety, then I don't think in your case preschool is necessarily needed. If your daughter is on the shy side...then yes I think preschool is important. (Speaking from a mom who has an extremely shy daughter who just started preschool this past fall)
It sounds like its just separation anxiety, if so why don't you read up on some tips to make it easier and work on that. I also just suggest you start leaving her places and letting her get used to it. There are many tips/suggestions about getting through separation anxiety.


answers from Detroit on

I run a small preschool/daycare in our home. My son is 5 and I have 2 other 4 year old chidlren. They learn alot and also get the benefits of learning to be around other children. Maybe a smaller home based preschool part time might help ease the transition. Here is my website if you are interested in what home based programs are like.



answers from Los Angeles on

I’m so with you on this! I’m anti-preschool! LOL I have 2 kids and neither went to preschool. It’s great that you have your daughter in sports. Believe me it’s doing more then teaching her gymnastics but it is also teaching her to take direction from another adult, a teacher. Same with Sunday school. She is already getting exposed IMHO.

My daughter never went to daycare or preschool and transitioned into Kindergarten like a pro. She did gymnastics and martial arts starting at age 3. No one could believe, even her teachers that she had never been to preschool. She was very independent and was reading and writing (I homeschooled) by the time she started. She was the only one who hung up her coat the first day without being asked to do it! That’s right I taught her all this at home! Can you believe it’s possible?? =-)

She is now in the gifted program, all her teachers love her, active in sports and in church. Plus she was always very social, no seperation anxiety. My son, whom is very shy, not social has never been to preschool/daycare either BUT I’ve homeschooled him too and taught him all about social graces (washing hands after bathroom, putting toys away, eating without making a mess, manners, etc. and I’ve witnessed all this when we’re outside the home). We schedule a lot of play dates too. Moms always comment how well he interacts with the kids, how great he is with conflict, saying sorry, thank you and how mature he is and well behaved. I love having him at home with me and I did enroll him in a sport and art classes. It’s been great!

He is now 4 ½ and starting kindergarten next Fall 2011 so will just have turned 6. He will start Jr. Kindegarten this Fall, 2 days a week from 9-12, but they don’t teach academics in the program I signed him up for. They do music and art everyday, cooking, drama, puzzles, reading AND he will have the opportunity to learn circle time and take directions from a teacher (I teach the academics at home). Plus they get playtime on the playground. He is so excited about going and we talk about it all the time. For him being as shy as he is, I know it will be good for him BEFORE he starts Kindergarten in 2011 going 5 days a week. Going from no school at all to 5 days a week I know would have been the toughest for him.

I’ve had comments about how he would do sitting with other children eating lunch but I’ve already witnessed that at birthday parties when the kids sit to eat. He can very well sit in between other kids, raise his hand when he wants something, and clean up after himself. It’s all about how we raise them at home.

Stick with your Mommy instincts on this one. Sounds like you’re doing a great job at home teaching her. I hope my success stories have helped you!!

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