The Value of Pre-schooling

Updated on July 20, 2010
R.G. asks from San Diego, CA
15 answers

My daughter is a couple of months shy of being 3 years old. I am full time mother and we have a new baby in the house. In the last few months, my husband and I have been touring pre-schools with the intention of enrolling my daughter into a program either this summer or in the fall. However, due to special circumstances we will have to travel overseas a few times this fall, and we are wondering whether it even makes sense for us to enroll her and then have her leave and rejoin a number of times until the spring of next year.
Here is my question - what is the value of pre-school? All schools we have talked to say "social development". My daughter has a very high social IQ and has no problem chatting it up, making friends or even following instructions in class (ie ballet). But since she is going through some degree of insecurity right now because of the new baby in the house and mom's divided attention - I thought school would be a good distraction for her. Now with the travel thing we may not be able to pull it off, and I am wondering if we will be stunting my little one by not sending her to pre-school.
What be your opinions, oh wise moms?

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So What Happened?

You moms are awesome! What else can I say? Great ideas re: pre-school activities at home. There is such a lot of stimulation at home already in the form of constant witting and unwitting teaching from Teacher Mom and Teacher Dad and our daily activities...but I look forward to taking the advice and starting to do more directed pretend pre-school activities. The idea to start a Mom and Toddler preschool playgroup is really good. I will check out sonlight. And, yes - I was feeling very uneasy about sending her off to "school" and taking away even more precious time with her. Your responses reassure me and put my mind at rest...Thank you!

More Answers



answers from Portland on

I suggest that your daughter is already having to deal with too many new things and would benefit from the stability of staying at home with as familiar a routine as is possible with several overseas travel. Preschool would not be a positive distraction. It would be one more change with which she would have to learn how to deal. Keep her at home.

I agree with Bethany C. about whether or not preschool is necessary. You can begin exposing her to letters, numbers, colors, etc. She's already social.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

I wonder if you shouldn't just forget about preschool right now...with the new baby, upcoming travel plans etc, she is already adjusting to a lot of new things...why throw one more thing in the mix?
If you aren't already doing it you can start teaching her so many things at home. My 2.5 year old grandson already knows so much!! His letters, numbers, shoot he knows more about dinosaurs than I do!!! Start taking her to childrens museums, nature centers, zoos, there are so many wonderful things out there to expose her to!!! Incorporate learning in her "school" with her and teach her her numbers, alphabet etc, if she doesn't already know them.
Maybe you could find a Mom's group there somewhere ( or start one!!) and have "classes" once a week or so...each Mom is responsible for rotating daughters Mom's group does so many interesting things...everything from making tie dyed t shirts ( matching for mother and child!!!) to planting seeds in the spring. It is a great social opportunity for the toddlers AND the Moms.
You could also start talking to her about where you are going to be traveling too this year. What a great opportunity for all of you!!! Good luck and enjoy your overseas adventures!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I would not put her into pre school till you guys come back. In my opinion the social argument is a joke. Is your child locked in a room where they don't talk to anyone? I doubt it and it sounds like your child has no problem talking to people. Have fun on your trips.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your LO will be FINE!! I had my first daughter in private p/s b/c and she wasn't so social. My 2nd daughter was in it for the last 2 months of school this year, is (and always has been) a social butterfly. I'm not worried about her going to "school". Most of what they need to know, they learn before kinder, and most of it is taught in school and what hasn't been taught at home (or preschool), they teach in kinder. If she's already a social kid, and you work on basics at home then no, there is no reason to "have" to go through preschool. I just send my daughter b/c it's fun and I'm a stay at home mom. You might try a MDO program instead.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

There are natural ways of preschooling at home that might help her transition to new baby and travels. Including her in cooking and cleaning projects, setting out paper and scissors, singing, dancing, reading together, trips or walks to a park, going to the library for story time, etc. all are preschool activities. Since we home school, this time is magic (and I've had lots of 2 and 3 year old/newborn combinations, because of how babies came in our home.) Sleep deprivation, because of the newborn is always the biggest challenge, but all usually works out.
We like a curriculum called Sonlight, and they have a wonderful literature based DOable curriculum for 3's and 4's (Core P3/4 Fiction, Fairy Tales and Fun for Little Learners). Great suggestions and books you'd want on your shelves even if you were sending your child to a preschool.
Just reading with your little one and doing things with her, enrich her.
Traveling, and being with mom and dad, will provide your child with wonderful experiences, and will only give her a foundation from which to thrive.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have been in the education field for 20 years. I worked at preschools putting myself through college to become a teacher so I know this field. The importance of preschool is for the children to learn to socialize with others, follow directions and how to stay focoused. Also learning to "flow" from one "subject" to the next (i.e. outside time to story time, story time to music time). If you think that your traveling will interfere then I would wait until after that time. I know from being a kindergarten teachers for many years that the children that have preschool are (usually) better prepared for school, can write, sometimes read and can stay focused on school work. Of course it is the parents choice so don't let any one "bully" you into putting her in preschool. Good luck.



answers from Honolulu on

I sent my little girl when her sister was 6 months old. It was a hard transition for her, even tho she had been well socialized in classes, took the lead in meeting new friends on the playground etc. The hardest part was to separate from mommy. It took her at least 9 months to get dropped off without crying which broke my heart. But after 2 years of preschool, she was so ready for kindergarten! We had absolutely NO PROBLEM dropping her off into a very large elementary school with a new teacher and all new kids and everything. I think it was a worthwhile experience for us. Now in your situation, it sounds like it really is not feasible! Will she start kindergarten next year? You should have 2 years before she enrolls in Kindergarten, so just wait another year. Several of my nieces and nephews have not gone to preschool at all, and they have gone through their transitions in Kindergarten, but they are now perfectly fine kids who are well accepted by their peers and do well in school. Just do what makes sense for your family.



answers from Indianapolis on

I tend to disagree with the majority of responses. My kids are in full-time day care because we're both working parents, so I strongly advocate everything that having your kids in some kind of structured environment brings.

It doesn't sound like all preschools offer a curriculum. We're fortunate that our day care does. Our son just turned 4, and in conjunction with what we teach at home, we are convinced he'll be reading well before his 5th birthday largely because of the practice at school with letters, phonics, etc.

Even if you focus on teaching things at home (which every parent should be doing anyhow) and socializing through things like dance, I think the most invaluable lesson of preschool/day care is recognizing other authority figures and having to understand how the academic environment is structured (also things like consequences for not listening, misbehaving, etc).

The other thing that she'll benefit from is getting adjusted to the schedule. All of our neighbors who are SAHM said they had a tough transition to kindergarten for their kids who didn't have day care/preschool first (being able to focus longer periods of time, being tired, etc).

The travel component certainly makes it challenging and unique. So, perhaps, I'd wait, but I think I'd want her involved in some way when you are at home (even with more travel upcoming).

Good luck.



answers from Detroit on


I had a friend that skipped preschool for her daughter due to finances. Her daughter adjusted just as well as my son did to Kindergarten and he went to preschool and she didn't. My friend just made sure her daughter had enough social interaction with other kids through the school year. She joined a mom's club that had play groups and I think that really helped. They also had home preschool time every afternoon for an hour.

Hope that helps,




answers from Los Angeles on

I started my first son at three when I had my second son. I will also be starting my second...almost three, since I have another coming soon. And he is very excited. This worked out great. It allowed me time w/ the new born, w/out my other feeling jealous. The pre-school did a great job as to making a big deal at school about the Big Brother:) The enter action w/ other children is great. Plus they read, sing, do art, and play. They generally come home exhausted and take a nice nap too. My gym also offers classed for small children. It give them something special of their own. You can also freeze your member ship when you are going out of town:)



answers from Chicago on

Don't forget the library. This is a great resource for teaching. My friend and I did a preschool curriculum for our 3 yr olds. She found out that the library already had prepackaged curriculums put together for parents to check out. And there is usually story time at libraries & book stores like Barnes & Noble, just to get you both out for a little variety.



answers from Las Vegas on

I would put her in preschool if you feel it is the right time. It seems the travel issue is part of life and she will have to deal with that.

As for the value, each preschool is different. While my daughters school does not offer a curriculum, they still teach them something everyday. They are more so goals. So she just moved out of the more social related class and will move into more of a preschool class. She is 4 and currently works on her writing skills (numbers & letters), and computer skills. They make many projects which she is very proud of and she has several friends which seem to be very important to her.

Previous to preschool, she was in an in-home daycare and at 19 months we felt she was not getting what she needed any longer.

It seems your in the position that you can give it a try and if you don't feel the benefit, than take her out.



answers from Los Angeles on

As a mom and a teacher, I think you should hold off on sending her to preschool. Starting and stopping midstream would not help the insecurity issues that she is dealing with, but instead would probably exacerbate them. Instead look into some of the programs that your city parks and recreation department offer. They are often a few weeks to a few months long, so your daughter would have closure when ending the program with everyone else. And there are usually many to choose from (dance, music, mommy and me, just to name a few). If she is not yet three now, you will be able to enroll her in preschool next year before sending her to kindergarten. Also know that you will be giving her great opportunities in a new area (country). Talk about how the new town/home is similar and different from your previous one. What are things she likes, would change, etc. Hope that helps. Good luck in your travels.



answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with the Moms who said to wait until you won't be traveling so much. She's only 3 and has at least one more year at home until Kindergarten so there's really no rush to start preschool. You can do things with her at home or on the road while the baby naps and public libraries usually have storytimes and other activities for preschoolers that you can attend for free and around your schedule.



answers from New York on

I own a preschool and I would wait until you can be consistent with her attendance. In order for her to adjust she needs have a routine, so I don't think taking her in and out will be good for her. She has some changes going on right now so it is no crucial that she attend preschool right now. As long as you do activities with her and keep her social by going to the park, library, etc. she will learn to make friends, and become comfortable in new surroundings. Good luck.

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