My son just turned 2 years old. One of the questions that we heard a lot at his birthday party – and in the months leading up to this little milestone – was when we plan to put him in preschool. The first time, my husband and I glanced at each other somewhat awkwardly. We hadn’t even discussed it. “Uhhh…we’re not.”
NO PRESCHOOL? I could practically see the judgement pouring from fellow parents’ eyes. What’s up with everyone thinking that kids need to go to preschool nowadays? I’ve seen the First 5 campaigns. I’ve read the reports. I understand that preschool gives kids a head start. But what if I’m giving them a head start? I left my full-time job as soon as my son was born so that I could be home and foster his development. As a former school teacher, I feel pretty confident in my ability to help him count and recognize colors. Plus, we’re not exactly rolling in cash. Paying someone else to educate him just doesn’t fit with our lifestyle right now.
But what about socialization? We do worry about him getting the opportunity to be around other children and learning to play, share and understand the general idea of community. Fortunately, a lot of that concern is eased by the fact that his brother is only 18 months behind him! We also do our best to set up play dates and put our children in group settings through church and at library meetings and other neighborhood events.
My husband and I both had poor preschool experiences growing up with daycare attendees who didn’t properly supervise activity, so I will admit that our decision was made partly out of our own worry and fear. There is simply nobody else that we trust with our children as much as ourselves.
I think there is absolutely a need for preschool for “at risk” children and busy families whose kids may need a little extra one-on-one time. But I don’t think it’s necessary for every child, and I don’t think it’s a fit for our family.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…what’s your take on preschool?