Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Personal Thoughts on Preschool

Someone asked about what I think about preschool. Those who know my thoughts on preschool may be surprised to find that I am putting Lauren in preschool this year. So I thought I would put my personal thoughts out there on the subject to answer both versions of the question.

Generally I am anti preschool. I haven't ever put a child in a preschool before. Well I did do a couple months of a co op preschool with Ann Marie before she started kindergarten but she was older for her grade and my normal concerns about preschool were not present in that situation.

I debated long and hard about whether to do preschool with Sabrina or not when she was 4. I did the research and visited a very nice school. She wanted to go. Ultimately I decided not to put her in. My reasons were as follows:

1) I was pregnant would have had a new born and Annie at home all that year. Who was Ann Marie going to play with if Sabrina wasn't home? How was I going to entertain Annie and take care of a newborn? Sabrina was so helpful. If there was a child I needed "help" with it was Annie or the baby. Why would I want to send off my big helper?

2) $$$$ Let's face it. I am just cheap. Half the reason I nurse if because I can't bring myself to pay for something I can get for free.

3) Sabrina is smart and social. I didn't feel like she "needed" the extra lessons or socialization.

4) Sabrina was young and often would come home from play dates sounding like her friends. I don't mean to say her friends said bad things. They didn't. But she adopted their tone of voice and their little sayings. I didn't want her to sound like Jane or Kate. I wanted her to sound like my Sabrina. I think she just needed a bit more time to solidify her own identity. Having the extra year at home helped and she didn't have a problem with this when she did start kindergarten.

5) I enjoyed doing preschool activities with Sabrina at home and loved watching her learn.

6) If I was going to send my child to preschool I wanted to KNOW the person teaching and the kids in the class. I was just freaked out about sending my little girl to a bunch of strangers.

7) After I decided based on the above reasons, I prayed about my decision and felt good about it.

I felt pretty much the same way when Annie got to that age except that I was less worried about #4 because Annie is Annie no matter what. I also knew people the people in the co op I did with Ann Marie really well and trusted all of them.

Now to Lauren. My first reason is pretty much turned upside down. If I keep Lauren at home all day I will be fending her off the baby most of that time. Let's face it, if Camille were still alive I would not be sending Lauren to preschool. She would be Camille's playmate. But Camille is not here.

I have a friend who runs a preschool and I trust her. I know many of the kids in her small class of 8. And most importantly I have prayed about sending her and feel good about it.

So the moral of the story is that while I am generally personally anti preschool, different situations, kids and families may make preschool a good thing worth the money. In my family and our situation right now I think that is the case for us. I guess we will see.

Good Luck in finding what is right for your family, child, and situation.


Allison said...

Thanks - it is interesting to see other perspectives. I've noticed in Utah, and in the LDS community in general, preschool seems to be less popular.

I have a five year old and 3 year old twins. Our five year old went to preschool last year, and loved every minute of it. I think she needed that time away, and the twins have each other to play with so they were fine without her at home.

This year, the twins are starting preschool. Mostly because they've been asking for a year now! Just 2 days a week, for 3 hours. Should be fun!

Sleepless In St. George said...

This year all my kids are in school full time, except for my youngest...she turned 3 this month. I found a fantastic preschool. I will be going with her two days a week as a helper. We are exchanging my help for her tuition. This is the best of both worlds for me...we get a little time out of the house, she enjoys preschool while I get to be involved with her learning, and I won't have to pay a dime! I agree, preschool decisions should be based on what each child needs.

Todd and Amyjoy said...

I am surprised at the thought that someone would be anti preschool in general. (I am talking preschool, not daycare.) Each preschool is different and no parent should ever leave their kids with someone if they don't feel good about it. But there are A LOT of great preschool situations out there, with much for the students to learn. Consider how much other people have to offer in their talents. Even being a teacher by training myself I am grateful for talented teachers who can benefit my children even more. It is not just for the benefit of socializing alone.
I hope this is a good year for Lauren. I have a preschooler this year as well.

Ann Traynor said...

Preschool is 90% for me, 10% for my children. I cannot cope with as many preschoolers as I have (4), all the time. That's just me. But you know me. My problem is that my twins are in afternoon kindergarten, and I need them to be gone one or two mornings a week. But they are in kindgertarten, so there's no preschool for them. What do to. Really, my 1 and 3 year old together are easy compared to my 5-year-old twins.

Karen said...

Children here in the UK start normal school the September after they turn 4.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments from everyone, I think its so wonderful we are afforded the opportunity to make our own decision for our own families based on our needs. I too hope Lauren enjoys her preschooling experience.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

Preschool is a personal choice. As a preschool teacher, one that has am and pm sessions that last 2 hours, I love all the benefits it can offer. I think it can do wonders for the child who has no siblings or has some social issues. I can totally relate to what you think about it also. I take offense to daycares that call themselves preschool...I think there is a big difference there. I am retired now to watch my grand babies but I do teach a Music in Motion class in between sessions and my grand daughter attends the school! It is very important to feel comfortable when you leave your child! I hope Lauren enjoys her time in preschool! Would love to see pictures of Noble ... he must be getting so big!

Anonymous said...

I too would like to see pics of Noble. I'll bet he's changed so much since the day you brought him home. Who does he look like in your family? Hope all is well!

Cardalls said...

I have a degree in early childhood, was a preschool director for 3 years and am grateful for the different perspectives. I have sent my children for preschool when they are 4 for 2 days a week (for 2 hours) to prepare for kindergarten. I like them home close to me and for me to be their main teacher. I appreciate your perspective and think all decisions about our children should be done with the prayer and pondering you have talked about!

Cathy said...

Good things to think about. My little man is almost 3. I've got a while to decide what I want to do. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your blog.