Monday, June 23, 2014

Talk to Me.... About Preschool!


Four to six days a month we send off our three year old to daycare.  Because he doesn't attend very often my expectations are low - care, play, food, nap pretty much covers it.  In our area though it is normal to start "preschool" at the age of three and while I love our early childhood teachers, whenever I see them trying to do school all I can think of is this:



There's a part of me that loves early learning and I don't think children's days should be without any time of learning environment, but the other part wonders about what was wrong with the days when Kindergarten was enough to prepare you for school.  Currently, I do know that we don't feel it necessary to seek out a preschool for three year old's program, but next year we'll be feeling the pressure so I wanted to open up my comments to hear from you!

What worked for you in the pre-school days.  Did your kid love three and four year old preschool?  Was it the last thing on your to-do list?  Did you let your three and four year old run wild and naked in the backyard and they still managed to learn their letters and numbers?  Share with me, write blog posts and come back to share!  Enlighten me.  =D

20 comments:

  1. We did three and four year old preschool for my oldest. I am definitely glad we did it, because Kindergarten is TOUGH these days! Im talking, 8am-3pm every day of the week, reading, math, writing, homework Kindergarten! If he hadnt at least had the 4 year old year of (3 days per week, all day) preschool, it would have been a HUGE adjustment to jump into Kindergarten. This way, he was eased in quite well and we didnt have quite the shock that others had just starting. My second is starting three year old preschool in the fall. At first we werent going to do it, but we decided to for two reasons... first, it is cheaper than sending him to daycare... and second, he has been begging for it, and hes already working on his numbers, letters and putting them altogether. With my husband and I both working full time, it makes sense for us to have him in the environment where he is learning and playing rather than just at daycare. I think if I was a stay at home mom, I would skip the 3 year old year and start at 4.

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    1. Thanks! It makes me sad that Kindergarten is like that now, we have the option in our school district for half day which is factoring into our decision because we might not need to do full time school until he's almost 7 (late birthday means he'll be 6.5 when he starts 1st grade). I really don't understand why Kindergartners need homework though. =(

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    2. Totally agree. The Catholic school we go to only has one option for Kindergarten, so we had to go with it. He's a winter birthday, Dec, so he was 6 only a few months after starting Kind. I think that helped. I'd check into how Kind and 1st are in your district, I know that really influenced our decision. Definitely think it will help that your son will be a little older when he starts full day!

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  2. My son went to preschool at 4 and to be honest I wish he would have gone earlier, but not because I think he needed an actual school. Both me and my husband work FT Mon-Fri days so my son was with his step-Grandma all day long 5 days per week. She also cared for my son's cousin who is a year older. She was certainly overwhelmed by the strong will of the boys and I do not think she had it in her to sit them down and read, or have them draw/color/practice writing, etc.. and since we only had him to get ready in the morning and for dinner, bath and bed time at night during the week we didn't have a ton of time to work on those things with him, either. And, when we did try, he really didn't want to, that time of night is not good for kids to focus.

    I would say, if you are able to spend a lot of time with him yourself, or if there is a quality caregiver who spends some time on those things, he will be fine. Find out what the school you are leaning towards expects of kinders and work on those things, but really, don't worry too much.

    I will say, my son LOVED preschool. He is an only child and really loved having kids to play with (preschool is A LOT of play).

    Another thing to consider, a lot of preschools are only a few days per week and a few hours in the morning.

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    1. We currently have our schedules set up where Mom or Dad is home everyday except Tuesdays and a couple Wednesdays and Sundays a month, so we definitely have the time to do more of the things at home and we do crafts, language and numbers at home.

      The bad thing about starting him in preschool next year (our daycare does it free mornings or afternoons) is that I'd feel like it was cutting into our time together unnecessarily. So tricky to figure out.

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  3. I didn't do preschool with my daughters who are school-aged for a few reasons. I stay home so I could devote part of the day to helping them develop their "school skills". I also checked our school's website were the kindergarten teachers have posted things they are teaching or expectations they have of the students when they reach kindergarten. I made sure my girls would meet these expectations. I didn't feel like they needed the structured environment and would benefit more from an "unschooling" type of preschool at home. Now as my son is approaching three at the end of summer, I may consider sending him to a preschool next year because a structured environment may do him good.

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    1. I wish I could find an expectations list, might have to email the school in the fall.

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  4. Our 3.5 year old is just finishing his first year of preschool (in the UK). I think sending him has taught me a lot about him, especially how reserved he can be without me / in New situations. I hope that will make the transition to school easier, not just because he will have already had a school experience, but also because we will better understand him and his needs and will have the support and expertise of the preschool teachers to help get him ready. We only do 2 afternoons a week, though, and will continue that next year, because I don't want him to spend so much time away beforehe has to!

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    1. I think I could do 2 days a week; at the moment I seem to have a very extroverted child - he's the one who will start to play with ANYONE.

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  5. We're sending Grace to half day preschool in the fall. She'll be four (a week before school starts! so she'll probably be the youngest) and honestly, she already knows just about everything they're supposed to know when the kids are done for the year. We only have one Catholic school here, and the only options are half or full days, five days/week. Most do full days, but maybe a lot are working parents who don't want to run their kids over to daycare at lunch every day? I'm not sure. I know that the structure will be very good for her, and since she doesn't play with other kids her age very frequently, it will be good for her to have more social interaction. It helps that it's a small school, I know her teacher is great, and we do have the half day option. I think full days would be too much, and I don't want her time at home cut so short. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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    1. I think I'd be less conflicted if we both work M-F jobs, but our days off are during the week and even part time preschool (we only have M-F morning or afternoon in our area) seems like a big chunk of our time together. =(

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    1. Haha! I thought you had something on the topic Kendra, just hadn't looked it up and honestly that's how I usually lean towards, but then there's ALL the THINGS!! Honestly, right now he's three and can recognize about 80% of the alphabet, can count to 20, knows his colors and shapes (will even correct you when it's an oval not a circle). What else does he need to know before Kindergarten?

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    2. Nothing! He doesn't need to know anything else!

      Do you guys have any preschool coops around you? We have a bunch around here and it sounds like that kind of program would be awesome for you - you could be in the room helping out (or your husband, or another caregiver) so it wouldn't cut into your time together as much, and you would get to be more involved than in a traditional preschool.

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  7. My older kids did a preschool with their daycare ( I worked part time during the school year) and they loved it. My younger kids did not do the preschool as that daycare had to close down. I saw a difference in attitude, behavior, and cooperation with the younger set. I think being able to be in a place geared for your age level with other kids your age helped socialize them better. (We don't socialize a lot outside of the family much - me working means I want to actually spend time with my kids when I have the chance, and we don't have the money to spend on sports teams and dance classes) . I wound up sending my 5th daughter to our Catholic preschool twice a week because she needed something that was just for her age level. My next child who did no preschool had a rocky time in pre-K (the Catholic school does an all day pre-school) and Kindergarten; a lot of that has to do with personality, but I think a few days a week at preschool as a 3 year old may have helped ease the transition. My next boy is going straight into the Pre-K this fall, but he's a lot more outgoing and fearless. He'll do well.
    Take time to think about your child's personality and what the school offers. My kids benefited from the socialization and the fun activities, but not every child needs that. Do what fits best with your family. Good luck!

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  8. We did two day a week AM preschool when they were 3 and then three day a week AM when they were 4. Our kindergarten option was three day whole day and two day half day - a great transition option.

    Most school districts have a list of expectations for kindergarteners - if you haven't been to kindergarten round up (or whatever they call it in your area) they should give it to you then. Usually I includes things like being able to count to 20, recognize and write the alphabet, recognize and write their name, follow one and two step directions, play with others, etc. Nothing earth-shattering and something that can be done at home or in other settings - Sunday School, music classes, etc.

    Hope you find what best fits your family!
    Lea

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    1. I'll have to remember to sneak in this year to find out what the deets are. =)

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  9. We did three year old preschool. It was what made me decide to homeschool. Four year old preschool and most of kindergarten was running free, playing, going places together. Now my almost 9 y/o (!) is an avid reader and all around cool person, so I recommend the running wild.

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    1. What was it in particular about the three year old preschool? Just didn't fit?

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  10. Keep him home with you! These are such precious years. Spend lots of time together, outdoors, at parks, in the garden, cooking and making a home. What a blessing this bonding will be in future years when school requires him to be gone so much! I admire how much you enjoy being with your son, and all the creative things that you do together.

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