Is Preschool Necessary?

The debate is up and running. Do I need to send my preschool-age children to preschool or will they do as well at home? Let’s look at several considerations then the ultimate decisions is up to each child’s parents. These considerations are in no particular order.

One important consideration in determining the cost. Can your family afford it? Many communities are now offering preschool as part of their public education. Some offer preschool to those that are low income or those whose have a child that is developmentally delayed. In these cases, there is no cost to the parents.

But this is the exception and not the rule. So, each family will have to look at the cost of sending their child and see if it fits into their budget for one or two years.

Is there a parent at home that can qualify to teach the preschooler at home? Some parents have degrees in early childhood education while others have taught themselves. If this is not the case in your home, you may want to send your child to someone who is better qualified.

When entering kindergarten, there are expectations that your child will have some basic academics under their belt. Kindergarten used to be the place to begin learning numbers and letters but in most school districts this is not the case. Your child will be expected to have these basic ideas begun but not necessarily mastered as they enter kindergarten. Preschool can give them this foundation.

Another consideration when determining the need for preschool is the personality of the child. If your child is with-drawn, shy or uneasy around other children, it would be essential to expose them to preschool so that they will interact with other children. This will bring them out of their shell and they will learn what it is like to play with others their own age.

If your child is out-going and has opportunities to be around other children his/her own age outside of home, then the need for preschool is not as urgent. If your child is out-going he/she may be bored staying at home all the time. Preschool can be their excitement, something to look forward to. Try to think of these personality differences when making a decision about your preschool-age child.

Your child needs to be outside their comfort zone. They need to be able to function without Mom or Dad around. They need to feel comfortable in a setting outside their home. Preschool offers this setting.

You may be able to find an alternative such as lessons of some kind like gymnastics, a playgroup, soccer or t-ball team or by trading off with other moms. The opportunity for this social interaction is vital for your preschooler before they enter kindergarten.

How old is your preschooler? If he/she just missed the deadline for kindergarten, do you want them to miss some type of formal education for another year while they are waiting to enter public school? Preschool not only gives them basic education, it gives them the social interaction they need.

Preschool not only helps with interacting with their peers, it also helps them interact with adults. A preschooler learns how to wait, how to listen, how to follow directions, how to sit, how to raise their hand, and how to learn. A good preschool has a routine, a schedule that is followed.

Be sure to ask to see the daily schedule before choosing a preschool. It should include time for free play, art, music, gym, circle time, story time, and snack. It should include a theme for the week also.

By carefully examining a preschool, you can find one that is fulfilling all of these needs. You don’t want to choose a daycare and you don’t just want a babysitter for your child. You want an establishment that teaches and where your child will learn. The learning will take place because the environment and routine are set up for learning. It should encourage learning without a pressure to learn.

Now the parent has a decision that is of up-most importance. Should they send their preschool age child to preschool or should they try to set up an environment of learning and social interaction in their home and other places? Best wishes with this critical decision.

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