I have a 4 year old who will not be attending preschool this year.
oh the horror.
Grab your pitch forks and fire.
Yes, she turns 5 this year and yes she will be in ‘big school’ next year, but I don’t think anyone should care if she attends preschool or not.
My eldest didn’t go to preschool for medical reasons. Early on in her life we found out she had epilepsy, we chose not to medicate her but instead chose for me to be with her full time. And I enjoyed it, even if some days I ended up crying on the kitchen floor with wine in my hand.
Copious amounts of people have specifically told me that it’s ‘mandatory’ to do at least one day a week prior to starting school. That’s just a scare tactic preschools use on parents to make more money.
What are they going to do? Not let her go to school??? Mandatory my ass.
We are a very social family. We attend many activities that she’d never be unsociable when it comes time for school. She goes to ballet, she’s in the gym crèche 5 times a week while I work on my buns of steel, we’re at the beach all the time. She is a beautiful, well mannered little brat whom I absolutely adore spending time with.
She knows her ABC’s and her 123’s (thank you Play School). We learn together, we build together, we colour in together, she pushes my buttons, I fart in her sandwiches; it’s usually pretty fun.
There are some occasions where she acts like Shirley Temple on crack. You know, those days where she screams in her brother’s face as soon as I get him to sleep. Those days where she punches me in the butt because I cut her cheese the wrong size. Those days where she refuses to do her normal bedtime wee and then cries in the morning because she pee’d on her favourite sheet set. I genuinely wish I could put her in preschool for those days.
Don’t tell me she’s missing out, she won’t be ‘ready’ or that she’ll be behind in her class. Bitch please. This girl is sassy, vibrant and could swing herself at the age of 3, I think she’ll be fine. Preschool teachers warned me of that bullshit with my eldest daughter. She aced every subject in her first year. *insert smug look here*
Don’t feel sorry for her, don’t feel sorry for me. We don’t want your pity and we love our time together.
Who knows, I might end up getting to term 3, begging any and every preschool to take her. Or… we may just enjoy our last year together before she is lost in the school system forever.
Most importantly- it’s MY choice… not yours.
Have you chosen to keep your child home til school?
What you call Preschool is called Kindy here in WA. That year is to prepare kids for school and to socialise them ie teach them to take turns etc. That’s what you are doing anyway with her at home anyway. She will be fine. I put my children in Kindy because I worked from home so I worked when they were there.
Disagree. As an early childhood educator preschools do not tell parents to enrol their child to make more money. Ridiculous notion – do you think fees are stashed away in a bank account making the preschool rich? Hardly – they are not money hungry businesses; and due to underfunding from government, fees hardly cover running costs for many of them anyway so a few families deciding not to send their child isn’t going to make much difference. If you ever volunteered on a preschool committee you would know this.
As for preschool, no it’s not mandatory attendance before starting school and preschools admit this. A preschool’s job is not to teach writing, arithmetic, counting, ABC’s and colours. This begins as incidental learning in a toddlers life and later is the job of the school beginning in the foundation (prepatory or kindergarten year – the name of which depends on which state you live). However, this incidental learning continues through preschool and ample opportunities are given to reinforce and further develop this learning. Your child may count from 1-10 but often you’ll find this is done by rote – place a collection of 6 random items in front of her, can she immediately recognise them as 6 items, can she categorise and sort the items?
Thankfully many schools in the foundation years are now applying a play based learning curriculum which is a continuation of the child’s preschool year, recognising that a child is still young and not a lot changes in their development between the end of the preschool year and the commencement of the foundations year (about 6 weeks) – this play based curriculum will than later transition out into more school, based through that year.
A preschools job is to help socialise the child among other children in his/her own age group, which in turns fosters decision making, problem solving, independent thinking and a do for themselves attitude – which builds resilience and confidence appropriate to the child’s age.
You may say your child is already quite well socialised with siblings and children of friends/mothers group but take your child out of an environment in which she is familiar and then thrust her into the enormous playgrounds and large buildings of school. Does she know who to go to if she needs help, can she negotiate her own play/desires/needs to unfamiliar adults and children, can she meet her own emotional and physical needs? Does she know what to do if an unfamiliar child takes her food/toys/hurts her? Does she know how to listen to a story, share news, take turns in conversations, stay on topic, participate in group experiences, sit on the mat the way the teacher would like her to? Or, are you expecting her to conform into this straight away?
Some primary teachers who teach the foundation year will be mighty unhappy they need to teach these skills to a child who should already have them, therefore taking time away from the children who are ready for more – this may backfire for your child in the learning environment (I say some, not all teachers).
If the child is mainly around adults and familiar siblings/peers, how are her behaviours and attitudes that are accepted by them then bring crossed over and translated by unfamiliar children? Is there an understanding of each other as being on the same level? Preschool brings in these many variables and understands how to guide and teach the child to cope.
I’ve met children who’ve never attended preschool, but have done some kind of early education such as family day care, long day care and gone on to school. This is perfectly fine, just as your choice is. But, remember the preschool educator is also “removed” from your child (initially) so has no preconceived notions about them and will plan/teach accordingly based on her/his observations and the information gathered – not all schools may do the same and expect your child just to know.
You are the child’s first caregiver so you’re also vital to the child’s early learning, but you are also invested emotionally in your child – have you thought this may cloud your ideas? My son is 3 1/2 – as a parent I think he’s a genius, than I hear from his FDC and more recently his preschool teacher to understand he is completely different for me as he is for them.
Parents also need to understand, that though it may seem your child is coping, it’s not till the high school years that some social and cognitive issues become apparent. There’s a definite flow on effect that’s not felt till years later.
It’s difficult for families to understand that their bright, confident child at home may not like to be in big groups or is an unconfident child elsewhere or in certain experiences/situations – preschool, or any early education facility, gives those early life experiences essential for making more grown up decisions and relationships later on in life.
Your article has read as quite critical of preschools, I appreciate your choice not to send your child – I’m not criticising that, but perhaps you should really consider what a preschool offers many other children.
DB thanks for such a fantastic response. This is so well put and gives anyone considering skipping preschool a lot to think about.
Amen! Thanks for your loving and realistic post. Loved reading it. My kids aren’t going to preschool either. Quite funny seeing people’s faces when they find out. A fair few fellow mums have no idea it’s even an option!
Preschool seems to be understood as necessary which is utter crap. Has its benefits for sure but has serious negatives too. All must be considered. Vast majority of mums I know who use some form of care do so so they can return to the workforce(whether for finances or sanity). So glad the option is there for them, but no, it’s not for me! Xxhugs
This may work for some but I know atleast two families where this was a huge mistake. One resulted in the child being sent out of school to do some time in a kinder and the other has the child struggling to cope at school. I think everything that DB said above explains perfectly the reasons why kinder/preschool is a fantastic opportunity and an important step for most children.
I think it’s amusing that Krystal went to Pre-school. Just saying …