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To Preschool or Not To Preschool

To Preschool or Not To Preschool

By Amalah

Hi Amalah,

I’ve read your column for years now and always love the advice you give. So, after weeks of indecision about preschool, I decided it was time to ask the expert. I have an awesome 4 year old son. He has a September birthday, so he missed the deadline for going to Kindergarten this coming year. Right now he is going to a mommy-based preschool with some friends from church. Four kids total, each mom takes a turn to teach two times a week. Overall it has been awesome. But! He hasn’t learned anything. He knew his letters, sounds, numbers, etc. before he started. He loves going and being so big with his backpack and playing with his friends is awesome, but he really hasn’t learned anything. So here we are looking at one more year of preschool ahead of him and I’m trying to decide what to do. An in-home preschool around here costs $150-$175/month, for two-three days a week depending on the teacher. At a public daycare-type preschool it’s about twice that. I’m a stay at home mom with a three-year old and 4-month old as well.

Adding an extra $150/month expense to our budget would be a huge financial hit to us. Yes, we could do it, but I feel like we would be sacrificing a lot in order to make it work. But yet I feel like my son WANTS to learn more than what he’s getting from this little mommy group and another year of repeating sounds and numbers is not going to help him and might even bore him. And even if I wanted to do the mommy preschool again, all of the other kids are enrolling in a more formal preschool, so at this point it’s not even an option.

So I go back and forth. Is it worth the money and sacrifice to put him in a “real” preschool? Or do all kids just even out by mid-kindergarten anyway so no one can tell who had preschool and who didn’t? I feel like I have to do something for him, he’ll feel so left out when all of his friends are going to school next year and he’s not anymore. Should I send him to Kindergarten a year early? I’m positive he would pass the screening, but I don’t want to be that mom that tries to prove how smart her kid is, so let’s bump him up a grade! I don’t want him to be at a disadvantage because he would be younger than the other kids, but yet I feel like if I don’t do SOMETHING for this next year then I’m also putting him at a disadvantage. I just want to do what’s best for my son and my family as a whole. Oh goodness, I’m completely overanalyzing this, I know. So, just tell me what to do so maybe I can get some sleep tonight.

Signed,
Preschool Drama Queen

“You will never regret any money spent on your child’s education.”

That’s the advice I got — and ever-so-thankfully followed — a few years ago, when we were debating whether to send our oldest to a private, special-needs preschool. Also a screamingly expensive one. (If you’re looking at $150 a month for preschool, I guess that means we paid for…133 months’ worth. GAH.) It was a huge financial sacrifice, and at the time I had real doubts over whether it was worth it or necessary — we were already getting a half-day of special education preschool for free through the school district! — but we eventually decided to go for it. I wasn’t even 100% sure where the money would come from, so it was very much a “leap and the net will appear” kind of decision.

We do not regret it. At all. It was probably one of the best decisions we’ve made for him. Absolutely life changing, for all of us. If we HADN’T sent him, I’d still be regretting THAT choice and kicking myself for it to this day, because I always would have wondered what he’d be capable of if we’d just tried that program. And the advice I got was absolutely true, even for my other “typical” children who will also have three full years of preschool under their belts before kindergarten. I don’t regret spending any of that money, either. (Though I’m certainly looking forward to getting down to one tuition payment next year, when my second goes to kindergarten, and then being freeeeeeeee in two years or so.)

So, obviously, you asked this question of someone who is hugely, overtly biased and very pro-preschool. My kids were all enrolled in some level of preschool before their third birthdays — my youngest wasn’t even two! I think it’s fundamentally important and not even a little optional and the fact that we don’t guarantee every child in this country at least a year or two of preschool makes me rage-y, because it’s SO GOOD FOR THEM.

My two oldest boys also have September/October birthdays and juuuust miss the cutoff. Pushing them ahead, however, was not ever an option I considered — they’re both quite smart but socially and emotionally? No way were they mature enough at four and and just-turned-five for kindergarten. I hate to gender-generalize, but boys in particular seem to benefit from an extra year of maturity pre-kindergarten.

And that’s the thing. Kindergarten is…intense. I sense we live in very different areas of the country ($150 A MONTH? I’M SO JEALOUS I COULD CRY.), so it’s possible that your public kindergarten isn’t the pressure-cooker environment that it is around here in my Washington DC area/suburb. Here, kindergarten is full day, five days a week, and is basically what you and I would have considered first grade, growing up. Maybe even with aspects of second grade, in terms of academics and structure. Preschool basically IS kindergarten now, and everything else has shifted up accordingly. It’s a brutal transition for just about every kid I know, even for those with plenty of preschool experience. (And yeah: a few kids who did not attend preschool were quickly singled out and put on the remedial/pull-out services track, usually for reading/handwriting.) We upped our second son’s preschool enrollment to full-day this year, in hopes of easing his transition next year.

So I’d encourage you to arrange an observation visit to your local kindergarten and see what it’s like. Obviously, it’s late in the year so you’re not going to get an accurate view of what these kids were like back in September, but you’ll at least get a sense of the class size and social environment and how much sitting and structure will be expected of your son. Kindergarten might be a completely different, laid-back animal where you live, but I think it’s important information to have before you make a decision. (I visited our kindergarten in January a few years back with a group of parents, and I believe our collective reaction was one of OMGWTFBBQ MY KID IS SO NOT READY FOR THIS.)

Academic readiness is really only one small aspect of preschool, honestly. I love how much my kids have learned at preschool, but the social piece has always been just as important. Manners, following rules and directions, working within a group, conflict resolution, hands to yourself, use your words, all that. So if you were, say, to skip enrolling him in a formal preschool in favor of a homeschool curriculum (which might be worth looking into anyway, for your three-year old), you’d definitely want to find some way to get him regular exposure to a structured group setting as kindergarten prep. Which might be difficult to do for free if all his peers are enrolled in preschool, but even just some kind of art or sports class would be good for him, if you can find a reasonably-priced one.

If preschool really will be a financial hardship for your family, investigate every available option you can find. Are there any co-op schools nearby? (Which would be similar to your mommy-run preschool, but possibly with a “real” preschool teacher in charge while parents simply fill in the aide role. They’re typically the most affordable option around here.) The YMCA? Check out Head Start, maybe, or contact your school district or Early Intervention or find out if your county has a childcare referral/voucher program. Our district has a great special education preschool program (PEP), and one of the options is called PEP Pilot, where high-functioning special needs kids attend preschool with “typical” peers. Those typical peers attend for free, and get the benefit of a preschool program designed with the public school kindergarten curriculum in mind.

A homeschool curriculum (you can find a lot of good ones online) might also be more affordable and provide him with a more personalized, academically challenging program — your three-year old can join in as well! — provided you can find some good community resources to get him interacting regularly with peers. Again, a visit to your local kindergarten will be helpful, since you’ll know if he’ll be in a class of 12…or a class of 30.

Anyway, yeah. I personally think you should send him to preschool. It certainly won’t be the end of the world if you don’t — he’s clearly bright and has a loving, involved family and will be JUST FINE, I’m sure — but…you won’t regret it. The sacrifice will be worth it. That I can pretty much guarantee. And if there’s even the slightest chance that you might regret NOT sending him…well, this sadly isn’t one of those situations where you get a do-over.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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sassy
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sassy

I started kindergarten at 4 and also skipped 4th grade. I would second the academic readiness is not the be all end all. I did fine until skipping a grade and academically my grades went up and I did much better but especially in middle and high school it was very hard for me to make friends. I really didn’t have any friends until college. My son also barely misses the cut off and we’ve already decided to do preschool for that extra year instead of trying to start him early. Also think about him going to college early he’d… Read more »

Stephanie
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Stephanie

So, while I agree with Amy on several points, totally different perspective on the young kindergartener.  Both of my kids have October birthdays.  When they were your sons’ age, the cutoff in Michigan was December 1st.  So it was up to us to decide whether or not to send them to kindergarten as four-almost-five-year-olds.  How I agonized over it with my daughter (the oldest)!   Both of my kids went to preschool starting in the three-year-old class (again, as two year olds for a month or so), and the teachers at the preschool assured me that they thought my daughter… Read more »

Krista
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Krista

My daughter (who has an October birthday)  attended the aforementioned PEP Pilot class for 2 years.  She also attended a preschool program at our local high school (run by students and supervised by their teacher).  Three years of preschool and it cost very little.  See if any local high schools have a preschool program.  Sometimes you have to dig to find low cost options, but they are totally worth it when you do!  

Amy
Guest

Research shows that kids who attend preschool have better outcomes than those who do not..  Here’s a good summary of the data:  http://www.ounceofprevention.org/about/why-early-childhood-investments-work.php My own kids have gone/will go to a preschool at a nearby church that is phenomenal in terms of academics – I feel that my daughters were extremely well prepared for our competitive school system (nationally ranked #16 for math – boo ya!).   Most churches do preschool as part of their outreach mission, so you may be able to negotiate for a break in tuition based on your family’s financial situation – possibly in exchange for… Read more »

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest
Hi, I'm Natalie.

Yeahhhh… The preschool/kindergarten scene where I live (one of the most highly educated and THE highest income levels in my country) is nothing like DC apparently. Here, probably half of kids go to preschool. Kindergarten is a significant transition, but WAY more mellow than what Amy describes. Here, academics are extremely important, but independent play is even more valued for those age groups. (My brother, who was a geologist before getting his MEd, thinks the structured stuff is WAY overrated for *most* kids.) So… I think it probably really depends on your area, and what the grade schools expect/encourage. And… Read more »

Meghan
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Meghan

I also agree with Amalah – I would love $150/month preschool. But just wanted to throw out other suggestions for you – definitely contact the Headstart program (they admit based on your financial situation) and also contact your local school district. Several of the high schools in my area run preschools through their early childhood education programs. And I know it is either free or very inexpensive. So just something to check out.

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest
Hi, I'm Natalie.

Regarding the data that says that kids who attend preschool have better outcomes than those who do not…

The data is skewed by kids who don’t have very educated parents who have the time/resources to spend a lot of quality time with their kids. (Which is probably why the no-preschool kids in my city have an easier time with academics.) So. Know your area. And your family. It’ll be ok.

Cary
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Cary

Highly recommend checking out at the church preschools. Some may offer 2,3, or 5 times a week based on your needs. We are not religious, but just felt like they had the joy, interaction, and all the warmth you want your child to have in preschool in comparison to some of the other schools we tried. However, we live near Austin, TX, in an amazing highly acclaimed school district, but my son was so bored in kindergarten. They spent a great deal of time, making sure kids knew the basics like in/out, up/down, and their ABC’s. If there are any… Read more »

Jenn
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Jenn

Just wanted to second (third?) about church preschools, unless you prefer not to use them.  We have had wonderful results with a Methodist preschool and my sister’s children go to Lutheran preschool.  Real curriculum, lots of socialization, manners, acting appropriately in group settings, and reading and writing.  And much much cheaper than the secular options we looked at.  

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I agree with Amy’s advice. Preschool does great things for kids. Socializes them in a smaller environment than Kindergarten. Children (at least mine) are much more likely to listen and do things for teachers that are not their parents. Your child also needs an opportunity to be without you. It’s an important skill. Now, my children are in full-time daycare, but they have learned so much. They do art, music, science, cooking, dance. Things I certainly would never be able to teach them (reading? yes. math? sure. Art projects? nope). The other day, my husband said the name Helen. My… Read more »

Cassie
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Cassie

Heee! My reaction to your response was art projects? YES! Math? SURE! Reading? Well, I make sure he practices the letters the pre-school teacher taught him to write and I read TO him a lot. Does that count? Just proves that all parents have their own strengths. 🙂 I think being in daycare/preschool has helped tremendously with those things that I certainly *could* teach my son, but may not think of or do a good job with. In fact my son is 4 now and won’t hit 5 until early December, so he’s going to go to kindergarten as an… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Definitely check out the kindergarten and talk to teachers or parents of kids who have gone through kindergarten in the last few years. In my daughter’s under-funded urban public school, every child was expected to know how to write his/her name, write every letter (upper and lower case), count to 100, identify quantities up to 20, etc. on day 1. I’m sure there were kids who weren’t quite there yet, but that’s the level the teacher was teaching to. They came home with a list of sight words the first week and have been expected to write short sentences since… Read more »

emah
Guest

There’s also this article:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/the_kids/2013/01/how_important_is_preschool_if_you_are_researching_early_education_philosophies.html

That said, my kids are going to preschool, so I apparently didn’t buy it 🙂

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

ha! this article was all the rage at my daughter’s last parents meeting in her preschool. Oddly, we all agreed with it yet there we were. Sitting in tiny chairs at an accredited program.

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

I have nothing to add re: preschool.  No skin in the game, so to speak.

I just wanted to say thanks to Amy for the “leap and the net will appear” thing.  I needed to hear it for different reasons.

Holly W.
Guest
Holly W.

As someone with a preschooler, I agree with Amalah, though mainly for the social reasons. While academically, I’ve always appreciated our full-time preschool, however, the social aspects were really where we saw a huge impact. And to be honest, this is especially compared with other kids my son plays with (neighbors, church, swimming, community activities) – the ones who mostly interact with siblings, small playdates, or even small, in-home care have a lot more trouble navigating busy social situations. things like hitting friends, throwing crying fits, not being patient with the other students, sharing, etc. etc. are all structured behavioral… Read more »

Olivia
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Olivia

Yep, church preschool. I was hesitant to send my daughter to one because we are not religious, but once all the pros and coins were weighed we went for it and it’s been wonderful. I’m on Indiana and it’s only $94 a month for the extended day program, even less for shorter day program. And the only religion she has come home with is a prayer said before snack time.

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Just seconding what Amy has said, that education is absolutely a great thing to spend money on. Obviously not if it will mean not eating (!), but kindergarten is such a valuable grounding, and yes, I think children who don’t go, miss out a lot, not just in terms of academics, but on the introduction to what schooling actually is, the social side, the way it works, being part of a group… a whole range of stuff.

traci
Guest
traci

This is not meant to be inflammatory, but Amalah and the other posters are giving personal viewpoints that are not grounded in research and they are wrong. I am an experienced early childhood educator, am certified to teach kindergarten, have a Master’s in education and a Bachelor’s in developmental psychology. I’m a big advocate for developmentally appropriate early childhood education and kindergarten, however most of what I see does not fit that description. I’m also a realist. The research shows that preschool is hugely beneficial for at-risk kids and those with developmental delays. Average joe kids see no long term… Read more »

jessica
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jessica

This poster can claim to be expert but she’s referencing some very biased data. The study that said Head Start’s benefits fade by 4th grade has been largely discredited. (It was put together by people who wanted to defund Head Start.)

betttina
Guest

YES, yes, yes to everything Traci says! I’ve taught middle and high school for ten years and it’s amazing how important the social skills are even for older kids to do well in school. Are there library programs for his age? Then he could practice sitting still and following directions for 20 or 30 minutes. Do you have to sign up for a whole year of preschool? Could you just do next summer before he starts kindergarten? Then you’d have a year to save up for three or four months of preschool. I hope this helps! You’ll make the right… Read more »

sarabean
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sarabean

Another voice agreeing with Amy. I stay-at-home and preschool was a stretch for our budget (esp since she could be home with me), but it was worth it 100%. Social skills, projects, exploring friendships, starting on K skills. I would echo what everyone else said about church related preschools being more affordable and would encourage you to check out other preschools – lots of them have tuition assistance. Especially with two more kids in the hopper, so to speak, my preschool loves to court parents with several children because often those are guaranteed filled spaces in the future.

lh
Guest
lh

Speaking as someone who’s got four kids from 14 to 7, kindergarten has changed SO MUCH just in the 9 years since my oldest was in kindergarten himself. It is *way* more difficult. My youngest was in kindergarten last year and he was expected to know his numbers up to 20 (including being able to recognize them in print), letters, and shapes (including the rhombus, which, idek) from the first day. The kids who didn’t know that stuff got letters and practice books sent home to get them “caught up.” He’s a focused, very bright boy, was prepared, and still… Read more »

Lindsay
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Lindsay

I’m totally nodding to Amy’s point about social education in preschool being every bit as important as academic. Amy’s right that preschool is awesome and life changing for so many kids, but it’s especially so for kids who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Which is not the OP’s kid, who already knows his letters and numbers and good behavior in a school-like setting. My take, as someone who researches this professionally, is kids like yours will be fine with or without preschool. You can probably save your money by either skipping preschool or at least going with the less expensive option,… Read more »

Jeannie
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Jeannie

I’m pretty pro-preschool myself, as I have two bright kids who really thrived with the social learning that took place with preschool, and who made a seamless transition to kindergarten because of it. Having said that? I agree that you are not, in any way, depriving your child of anything by not going to preschool. It’s possible it might make the transition to kindergarten a bit rockier, but that will be over in a couple or three months — and for all you know, he might be SO ready that he will leap into it and never look back. So… Read more »

Kathleen
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Kathleen

Preschool is great is your child has separation issues. It allows them to adjust to being without you before entering the school system. But it sounds like your son has no problem with that — he is already happy with his mommy-based program. So if that’s the case, he totally *doesn’t need preschool*. Preschool is great, but if you are happy with him at home, keep doing that. This is your last year with him! Things are going to change so much once he enters the school system. If you’re able to, keep him with you and savor every second… Read more »

Deedee
Guest
Deedee

For the socialization and group sharing-type skills in lieu of another year of preschool –  classes for preschoolers at the local gym or Y or recreation center (karate, swimming, music gymnastics, dance, cooking, etc) work well, can be relatively inexpensive and are fun too. Or of course team sports like T-Ball and soccer. Programs at the local library are another option. Our smallish city has a playhouse that does productions once a year with the little kids (Little Red Riding Hood, Wizard of Oz, etc.) I think if you work with your child with their reading and writing at home… Read more »

Jennifer
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Jennifer

Re waiting a year for kids to attend Kindergarten, I thought this article was interesting.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/the_kids/2013/09/academic_redshirting_what_does_the_research_say_about_delaying_kindergarten.html

autumn
Guest
autumn

I would suggest a compromise.  Look into community programs for socialization, sports, swimming, etc, and work on the academics at home this year.  Next year, spend the money on “real” preschool.  A Ready 4 K program would be best to prepare him.  It costs a ton, but it will make your life the following year so much easier. As to the socialization aspects, my 2 1/2 year old who is totally an introvert, had one of our (adult friends with a similar age child) friends over, and they just knew how to play together.  They were running around our house… Read more »

Nikkles
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Nikkles

I am afraid I’m also partial to preschool, particularly for the whole experience of larger group size, adapting to the process, etc. the real reason I am chiming in, though, is to gasp at these prices. I live in the Bay Area, and while I knew real estate was more expensive, I hadn’t thought about what that meant for child care and schooling. Our daycare (4 hours x 5 days) was $800. Preschool plus aftercare 3.5 days per week is just over $1,000.

vanessa
Guest
vanessa

as a certified early childhood teacher…yes, preschool. (i think preschool should be universal and free, and every kid should go. among other things, schools–ideally–act as a safety net, to help make sure kids are getting what they need at home. obviously not an issue for you, but this is my big personal reason 😉 
anyway, yes, the science is clear. kindergarten has gotten crazy hard. which is a problem,, but also a fact. and preschool–the academic AND social emotional parts–is vital prep, in addition to just being good for kids. all kids.

J
Guest
J

You can do A LOT at home with your child. You don’t have to send him to preschool to get a good educational foundation. Look for a Lakeshore Learning Center near you — they sell many educational toys, books etc. If some things cost too much money, look on eBay for a used version. The Kumon workbooks are great too, I’ve found. They have cutting and pasting, mazes (great for pencil skills, problem solving etc). There are lots and lots of math and english workbooks — they will help you identify what your child ”should” be able to do, and… Read more »

Angela
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Angela

I agree that finding a good school can be an amazing thing for your child, but I do know plenty of people who regret money spent on their child’s education. When my son was 3 I enrolled him in a preschool that was a little pricier than the norm because I wanted to give him the best start horrible. I did research the program but around here they do not let parents observe classes. I toured the school, met the teachers and talked about the curriculum/schedule. I got the impression that it was play-based when it was not. Apparently when… Read more »

Amy Renee
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Amy Renee

I think one of biggest factors is going to be whether K is all day or 1/2 day. If all day, I highly recommend preschool simply to ease the transition – all day K was a rough transition even for my kid who’s been in preschool/daycare all day his whole life. Academically, he would probably be fine either way – but socially and emotionally it would probably be an easier transition with preschool in between. One other factor no one has mentioned here is germs. When I worked at a public school, th attendance officer pointed out that you could… Read more »

Stephani
Guest
Stephani

Another Early Childhood educator here, and just for clarification, The High Scope studies that Traci sites above are actually taken from studying the Perry Preschool. This highly respected curriculum is the one that any certified Head Start program would be using.

jill
Guest
jill

For background, my oldest started 2 (half) day a week preschool at 3.5 and is now in 4 (half) day a week preschool at 5.  He will start kindergarten in the fall, but he asked to stay for “lunch bunch” two days, so actually he’s there til 2:30 twice a week and LOVES it.  His kindergarten will be 9-3 5 days, so I’m actually glad we increased his time now so he’s used to it. That said, I definitely understand not wanting to spend a lot of money on what seems like a bunch of extra play time.  I will… Read more »

Frances
Guest
Frances

I do not live in the USA and (thankfully) am not affected by the insanity that seems to have gripped the US education system — but frankly, I am appalled by the notion that preschool should include anything that could be described as “academic”.  It SHOULD be “a bunch of extra play time” — collaborative, exploratory, discovery-based PLAY.   They’re little kids!  They’ll learn so much more exploring the world around them and messing around with art supplies and building things with the recycling and listening to stories and counting the forks when they set the table and pressing the… Read more »

Nicole
Guest

I participated in an early childhood education program for a couple of years with my daughter. She played with other children her age while I sat in a class learning about parenting and child development. I am so incredibly grateful for the experience because I was provided with resources that helped me understand how important it is for my child to be able to play. … And it made me feel disappointed in how the U.S. does focus SO MUCH on an academic approach to learning when children are still so young. For that reason, I have kept my child… Read more »

Angela
Guest

I am also a SAHM (who just started working from home very-part-time) and I wasn’t sure whether my son would benefit from two years of preschool vs. one. I ended up enrolling him at age 3 for two years basically because when my daughter, my oldest child, was preschool age, I was working and she was in a preschool daycare program, and I wanted my son to have a preschool experience similar to my daughter’s. He really enjoys the program and his face lights up when we tell him it’s a school day. Right now he goes two mornings a… Read more »

DontBlameTheKids
Guest

I agree that introducing academics too early and too intensely is a problem, and there are many crazy places in the ultra-competitive DC that I would never send my girls to. The preschool we use teaches basic math, reading, and writing, but also does a lot of play interspersed throughout. The math etc is done through games. I think they do a good job of teaching without making it stressful.

DontBlameTheKids
Guest

Like Amy, I live in DC, so preschool here is…exactly 10 times as much. I am incredibly jealous right now. We made a lot of sacrifices to do preschool, but it was so worth it. I can only imagine that it will be for your child, too, especially given his age. He is probably ready for kindergarten, and could be pretty bored without some sort of structured schooling. It’s your money and your life, but please remember this: The early years, as far as education goes, are the most important. I could send you a hundred links on the subject,… Read more »

camille
Guest
camille

Our daughter had been attending preschool for the past two years (starting at 2.5 yrs), but basically came unglued when she started again in September. We pulled her out (my husband is an at-home parent, with a son two years younger than our daughter), which was a hugely difficult decision because preschool=future educational success, right? Well, it depends. Here are a few articles I found helpful, which basically found that in homes with attentive, caring adults (i.e. parent at home and actively interacting) preschool can actually be detrimental. Our daughter turns 5 on Thursday (and our son will be three… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

I know I’m a bit late to the game in commenting, but I wanted to chime in with our experience. First of all, all of the studies that show enormous long-term benefits of preschool are focused on under-privileged/at-risk kids.  This is not your son.   Second of all, I am going to disagree with Amy and say that you might regret spending money on your kid’s education.  If your family really can’t afford it, you may regret spending that money.  My oldest did not attend preschool at all, mainly because of finances.  We live in an area with insanely expensive… Read more »

kimm
Guest
kimm

My son loves his half day,2 days a week preschool. He is such a social person, I wanted him to get to play with other friends. He has learned so much, he is doing great at sharing and being patient, loves his teachers. And its nice to have 1 on 1 time with my new baby. Anyway, see if u can find something u can afford, its worth it.

Susan:)
Guest
Susan:)

It sounds to me like your son would be fine not going to preschool, since he already knows the basics and has been in a preschool setting already. Of course you have to do what you think is best. But I would recommend doing a lot of fun and enriching experiences at home and around town. Especially since you also have a three year old who would benefit from that.  I take care of my two nieces. The older one is in kindergarten this year. She went to a 2 morning a week preschool at the YMCA when she was… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

I was just debating spending the money on a montessori program for my daughter…timely advice. Thanks!

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

I am completely pro-preschool but where oh WHERE does this person live? We pay approx. $1,500 a month for private preschool!!!! Do I think kids who do not attend preschool are at a detriment to those that do? No. But I also think that it is excellent preparation for kindergarten. I don’t know anyone who regrets sending their child. 

Brenda
Guest
Brenda

I’m glad so many were surprised by the cost.  With twins who will be attending preschool in the fall (mandatory 3 days or more), the cost is $130/DAY!

Lars
Guest
Lars

OP here,  thanks so much for all of the good advice. Since everyone is asking, I’m in Gilbert, AZ.  There are several former kindergarten teachers-turned preschool teachers that have little classrooms set up in their homes.  They all keep their prices pretty reasonable.  I think I’ve FINALLY made up my mind to send him to one that my friend already has her son enrolled this year, so we could carpool.  $135/month for M/W/F from 9-12.  I also found out my husband’s work has a flexible spending plan that we can contribute for preschool to help off-set some of the cost.… Read more »

Kim
Guest
Kim

I’m a huge fan of the co-op model.  Having  said that, I;m shopping for a new program right now for my four year old.  Play-based is where my heart is, but her  7yo sister has had  a much rougher academic transition than I had expected.  Now I’m shopping for a secular pre-k near our elementary school so that she’ll get a head start on academics and meet some kids who will be in her class.

Athena
Guest
Athena

Being from NZ, reading the education posts here is always kind of confusing. Because… preschool and *then* kindergarten? Just… what? Here, those two are the same thing. And the cut off is sometime near September? Isn’t that the month school *starts* there? So, the equivalent of maybe February here? So, I can’t quite grasp how five days full time is “high-pressure” when kindergarten appears to be the same thing/age/something as year one here, which, y’know… first year of school. Just… school. Nothing part-time or part-week about that, that’s what preschool is for. And even then, April is considered an early… Read more »

Dapper Muis
Guest
Dapper Muis

I taught at a playschool (pre-school) for a number of years. 2 – 4 year olds. It has become vitally important that they go.  In the my country if they have not been to at least a year of schooling before Grade 1, most of the schools in the city will not take the children.  And for good reason.  When I was at school, what they now teach in that year before Grade one, a lot of it was what we were taught in Grade one! And No I’m not that old!  I started Grade one in the mid 80’s.… Read more »