To preschool or not to preschool – that is the question 😉 Sorry Shakespeare, to misquote you.
When it comes to preschool these days, and whether or not you should send your child, it is almost controversial. There are many strong opinions. Both sides have some good arguments and you might find yourself starting to go crosseyed.
If you start looking online at what people say about preschool you definitely see two schools of thought. One side is very much “you HAVE to send your child to preschool” and the other is “you don’t need to, there is no point.” Confusing isn’t it!
I might start being bold and offering my opinion more in these discussions. Personally, I find it hard to bite my tongue when these discussions come up. I do have strong opinions, but it is not that I can’t see both sides.
For some families, utilizing day care and preschool programs is vital due to work schedules. Not everyone can be a stay at home parent. Or maybe you are and you want to put their child in a program for a number of reasons. You have to do what works for you and what you feel is best for your family (and sanity).
Let’s look at the pros and cons. In doing my research I made sure to look at both sides to just present the “facts” or “info” as listed online. Some of these come from educational institutions. Some come from parents. There are some interesting studies out there, but they have limitations with the control groups they studied, so “definitive answers” are not really out there.
PROS OF PRESCHOOL
- A learning environment outside of the home
- Provides exploration opportunities
- Friendships can be formed and practice social skills
- Learning conflict resolution
- Teaches respect for authority figures
- Gets children ready for school
- Develops cognitive and motor skills
- Teaches children to follow directions
I have seen it presented on many different websites (majority are school websites) – “Giving your child a quality preschool education will set them up for greater success in every area of life.” For many, that is their belief. I can see their point of view and where they are coming from.
And did you know, according to some studies, children who graduate from preschool have lower incarceration rates later in life? (This study I find interesting.)
CONS OF PRESCHOOL
- Lack of one-on-one time
- Forces kids to learn too early
- Children can have separation anxiety
- Can have less social opportunities
- Less play-based learning
- Too rigid in structure
- Hours don’t correspond with work hours
- Limitations on creativity and free exploration
We might actually get better results [closing the achievement gap and going to college] from simply letting little children play.Dale Farran
IS PRESCHOOL FOR EVERY CHILD?
There are no set requirements around the world. Every country has their own ideas and opinions. Every state here in the US has their own too. Here in GA it is not mandatory (and for that I am grateful). But even if it were mandatory, is preschool for every child?
Preschool might be suitable for children who:
- Show an interest in early learning
- Like and thrive with structure and routine
- Have good concentration and attention spans
- Enjoy interacting and learning with other kids
Not every child handles preschool. Some need extra time at home with their family.
So, to preschool or not preschool? It really is up to personal choice that suits your family. I am a huge advocate of play-based learning and for not pushing early learning on children. This is one reason I homeschool.
So, what is my opinion? And this is coming from someone who has education degrees, has taught, has worked with children for over 30 years and is evolving in her view of education. I don’t think preschool is necessary. I think your child will be perfectly capable of entering kindergarten in a public or private school without having been to it. The older I get and the more I look at how education is changing, the more I struggle with the push to have children learn things earlier than they may be developmentally ready for.
When I look at the “reasons” why a child should go to preschool, I can honestly counter them all. I have friends who are early childhood teachers and they are amazing. This is not having a go at them or at any early childhood educator. This is my personal opinion, coming from someone who wants to do education differently (but struggles as to how to make changes in the system). You don’t have to agree with me. I don’t need you to agree with me.
But let’s not leave it at that. Look at the pros and cons that I have compiled. As I said above, in doing my research I made sure to look at both sides to just present the “facts” or “info” as listed online. I think it is perfectly acceptable to have your own opinion on preschool and whether or not your children should go. You are the parent and you can decide. You have to do what works for you.