So should you do it? Should you send your toddler out into the world of teachers, discipline, school-mates, homework and of course head lice and strep? Or would it be perfectly acceptable to keep them home with you for just one more year? The answer is different for every family.
Many parents send their child to preschool out of necessity. In fact, childcare is simply replaced by pre-SCHOOL at a certain age. Although from someone who has children and worked in a preschool, I can tell you it is pretty much the same until your kid hits primary school. Other, stay at home parents put their child in preschool because of outside pressure to do so or because that is part of their family vision.
The truth is that, either decision is fine. I promise, because as a mother of four, I have done it both ways and ALL of my children have experienced the same academic and social success in the long run. But there is one difference.
2. Pre-Schooling Isn’t Always Best Option
First of all, there are some interesting studies at the United States Department of Education that seem to indicate that preschool doesn’t make children necessarily smarter. In fact, if your child will be attending a public school for their education, the same necessary tools of counting, number and letter recognition and early reading will be taught in kindergarten. Sure, if your child has been under the fine leadership of a professor at their Pre-school, they may know these things – and they will be forced to relearn them. More interesting, is that children in kindergarten, because they are older – learn these skills more quickly and with more confidence. Score 1 for keeping your child home! And at the end of the year, most kindergarteners pan out the same. (Score 2) Of course, the kids that were already in pre-school are normally more adept at following teacher instruction and have already adjusted to the structured day they will find at school. They also have blown past that first sick season that typically hits children when they enter the ‘real world!” The late comers to school have to learn and learn to adjust all at the same time and will likely catch every cold and virus that is floating around.
By the end of 1st grade, most students, whether they went to preschool or not, are at the same level and score equally on standardized testing. Suffice it to say that a lack of preschool isn’t going to ruin your child’s genius status.
3. Academic Success in general almost Same
However – I can say for sure that while the academic success of starting school early or staying home seem to be the same, I cannot say the same is true for the emotional aspect of child development. I am under the old school of thought that little children NEED their parents. I also believe that children who stay home a little longer seem to forge pretty strong bonds with their family. They also get to sleep in, eat when they are hungry, take a bath at noon, visit parks, stay up late, not share with others, have one on one time with their mom and dad and never be victimized by some preschool teachers bad mood or a bully’s teeth. At least if they stay home until they are older, they are more mature and hopefully better equipped for structure and social issues as they arise.
4. My Personal Thought
Personally speaking – I wish that I could have that one year with the one daughter I sent to school earlier back for safekeeping. We would lie in the grass on sunny days and discover images in the cloud. We would snuggle in be together on cold winter days. We would stay in pajamas till noon. Yes, she certainly is a smart cookie now, but no smarter than my others who stayed home until the ripe age of 5. It seems that today, parents become so immersed in giving their child an advantage, in pushing their progress that we forget that part of who we are…human beings…means we should just ‘be!’ Your child will be adjusting to preschool or the lack thereof. And while they will have ample opportunity to be educated for the remainder of their lives…they have but one chance to be little, to be held by someone that loves them whenever they choose, and to stay home. This gift will not return to them until retirement.