Preschool: Yes or no? Considering sending your child to preschool? Discuss preschool pros and cons and whether you should send your child to preschool.
I don’t normally waver in parenting decisions: I’ll do my research, discuss with my husband and together come to a conclusion fairly easily. When it came to sending my toddler to preschool, however, I couldn’t come up with an easy answer. I would read an article about the benefits of preschool and feel convinced to sign him up right away, only to question my choices when reading another article on the reasons not to. This wasn’t going to be an easy decision.
Should you send your child to preschool?
Below are the different issues my husband and I discussed when deciding to send our child to preschool:
- The cost of preschool. Depending on your current child care, preschool can be more or less than what you currently spend. For us, sending our son to preschool would increase our childcare costs.
- Learning benefits. Attending preschool offers a ton of benefits, including academic growth, socialization and a structure to their day. Kids also learn skills like reading, writing, and coloring. When I toured the schools, I was impressed with what the kids were able to do and realized that preschool could offer a thriving learning experience.
- Your schedule. One thing to consider whether you should send your child to preschool is if it affects your schedule. Some preschools ended at different times of the day and we needed one with a flexible schedule that accommodates with our work schedule.
- Potty training. Some preschools may require that your child are already potty trained. Or perhaps you’re simply more comfortable that your child can use the restroom all by himself.
- Increased sicknesses. As a three-year-old, my toddler has impressively only been sick a handful of times. I’m pretty sure that once he’s around more kids he’ll start getting sick more often.
- Socialization. Preschool gives your child the opportunity not only to socialize but to do with regular children. It’s fine to play with other children at the park, but exposing your child to regular faces will help him learn socialization skills. I’ve always wanted my baby-turned-toddler to have one-on-one time with an adult, but he needs regular time with kids as well.
- A “free” childhood. One thing I wondered was whether preschool will “limit” his childhood. Having the day to himself has its benefits, compared to the scheduled structure of school.
- Lunches. Yes, lunches! I love how my toddler eats healthy food and didn’t want to resort to processed food for his lunch and snacks. I feared he would eat school lunches or cold sandwiches every day.
Choosing a preschool was going to be difficult, so I narrowed my search with greatschools.org where I found three nearby preschools that were well-rated. The first was a Montessori school whose positive aspects included a quiet classroom and involved students, but since each class was in one singular room, they still seemed crowded. They also didn’t heat the children’s food and even encouraged outside vendors to sell lunches. Since I’m all about home-cooked healthy food, this wasn’t too enticing.
The second preschool was by far the worst match of the bunch that I toured. The place seemed rowdy and uncontrolled. The rooms felt crowded with kids and teachers. The noise level was too high. Plus, they had “computer time,” which for me isn’t a benefit and instead a detriment to kids this age. None of this matched too well with my son.
So imagine my delight when I toured a third school, also a Montessori school like the first, but nearly perfect for our needs. The facility had several rooms so that teachers could break up the students into smaller groups. The students were also quiet and well-behaved instead of running around (unless they were outside playing or responding to story time). I liked how they didn’t have any computers, and they even heated up whatever food parents brought.
In short, I imagined my son thriving in this environment. I was impressed with the skills that the other children had acquired, and that each activity had a purpose, whether it was to practice their handwriting skills or learn the meaning behind numbers. The schedule was very flexible, and the location conveniently nearby.
Whether to send your child to preschool or not lies on several factors, from major ones like cost and the child’s readiness to details like whether they’ll heat your kid’s lunches. And each preschool may serve different kids’ needs: some are loud and boisterous just like some children while others are more focused and calm like others.
I want my son to benefit from preschool while still striking a balance with him having an unstructured childhood. After all, he’s going to be in school for several years ahead. But I also feel like preschool would offer him room to grow and thrive.
Get more tips:
- Smart Things to Consider when Choosing a Preschool
- Help Your Child Transition to Preschool (and Calm Your Nerves as Well!)
- Creating an After School Routine for Preschoolers
- Toddler Routines: How to Structure Your Day
- 6 Useful Back to School Tips for Parents and Kids
Tell me in the comments: Do you plan to send your child to preschool? What are your reasons for doing so or not?