I stopped sending my kids to preschool and I don’t think many people can grasp why. Of course as a Stay at Home Mom, I do have the option to keep my kids home, but I honestly think I’d choose Daycare over Preschool right now. My children had the best teachers, a beautiful school “family”, and the preschool was associated with our church. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the school. It’s actually PRESCHOOL that I’m protesting. So, What’s wrong with preschool? Is it OK to skip preschool?
Why Do We Send Kids to Preschool?
When I say Preschool, I’m talking about three and four year old kiddos.
During the age of two income families, preschool is very desirable because if you can’t be home with your kids, then you want them to get the best attention, education, and more. What is interesting to me, though, is how many stay at home parents send their kids to preschool. Why?
Some parents feel the pressure to socialize their children, or to treat them the same way the rest of the world treats their kids. In other cases, the preschools are your “in” to the good, private, non-secular schools. But mostly, parents send their children to preschool in order to enrich their kiddos’ lives. We want them to have a slight advantage academically before “formal” school. Preschool is really meant to be helping hand, and we parents have ONLY the children’s best interest in heart.
What’s Wrong With Any of That?
Absolutely nothing. This article isn’t meant to put down anyone who sends their kids to preschool. The world knows that mothers and fathers who care about their children make the decision to send their kids to preschool with great love. The problem lies in two other major categories, though, in my opinion.
- Society driven “norms”
- Preschool Academics
Society Driven “Norms”
The culture is sort of against family in my opinion, and that’s why I feel there is a push to get the kids out the door at an early age. Society makes kids out to a burden, which in turn, makes some families putting their kids in more and more “programs” so they’re not idle, and ultimately bugging us for attention. Music lessons, soccer practice, dance, theater, sports, etc. It’s all just filler. We justify it as enrichment for our kids, or peer interaction for our children. I sit and wonder if my kids’ main memories of me will be in the car.
Let me reiterate, there is nothing wrong in wanting your kids to achieve greatness in any of these areas, but how many have heard their preschool teachers say, “You’re kid is so smart. He knows everything he’s supposed to know at this age, if not exceeding those limits. We do however need to talk about some of his behaviors. Your child struggles taking turns, they can’t control their emotions, and we think he has some sensory issues.”
Take Your Own Path
I thought this was just our situation, until I kept seeing more and more of the same problems from other children, boys and girls. So what was the issue? I’m doing everything the other parents do, I’m trying my hardest. Where did I go wrong? Well, I was following “social norms”
Personally, I have found so much freedom in doing what works best for my family. I’ve learned to focus on our needs and our way of life as opposed to trying to figure out what other people are doing. Maybe that’s the special education teacher in me, because I’m literally coming up with an individualized plan (ever heard of an IEP?) for us. This really is best practice, I promise you’ll find pure joy in this.
In conclusion to this point, we don’t keep ourselves busy, because my children can learn those social skills better here at home. They have to be bored, which means no TV, a little bit of complaining and whining at first (I’m almost a pro at PATIENCE… well I’ve at least grown in that area), but in the end they’ll start to play and use imagination. If there are siblings involved this is where they learn to compromise and share, naturally. If there aren’t siblings involved have friends over. Kids learn naturally, we just have to foster it.
Seasoned preschool teachers will tell you there’s been a change in the kids who have come to the classroom in more recent years. “They are more easily frustrated, crying at the drop of a hat”, less attentive, running into each other, literally falling out of their seats and falling into walls. That’s not something that was seen even 15 years ago. So why do you think that is?
The popular belief among early childhood teachers is that this is the fault of less playtime. For some reason, even though preschool is NOT mandatory, it’s beginning to be mandatory to enter into Kindergarten with certain skills. Those skills are the skills I actually learned while in Kindergarten, along with all my peers. In fact, Kindergarten is still optional in some states. Kindergarten used to be what we are calling preschool. Preschool means “before school”.
Preschool is Optional, Don’t Forget!
Remember, parents are signing their children up for preschool because they want their kids to learn something, or work on development skills, and the like. Today, there seems to be some “aggressive super parent” types who aren’t satisfied unless their child is working on academics (abcs, 123s, etc.) and who voice their opinions. Therefore, directors and teachers are being monitored in a way that’s much different than they originally signed up for. Why should a preschool teacher be pressured to teach kindergarten level stuff?
Outdoor/Natural Environment, is actually how children 7 years and young learn best. Because it’s the best way for a child to work on whole body sensory tools, it helps develop the brain too. Without the use of frequent outdoor play you can expect clumsiness, emotional problems, and some of the same behaviors we were seen in our five year old(story above).
Without play experience, a child will be less likely to utilize problem solving skills.
Aren’t You Forgetting Recess?
Nope, I haven’t forgotten recess at all! Recess seems to be used as (at all levels of education) a brain break. I will argue with anyone about eighth grade students needing ample recess too, but for now we’re talking preschool. How long do you think recess needs to be for a three and four year old? Let me ask it to you this way: How long would you like to see your kids play freely at home?
My personal belief is that a kid can use 1-2 hours of recess at a time. I’m not talking about accumulative. With outdoor being the best option for meaningful play. Your child and mine need to go outside even if it’s raining. Our rule is: Outside for at least one hour a day so long as there is no lighting and no tornadoes (we’re from Oklahoma).
Let me share this incredible resource: How Schools Ruined Recess.
What’s wrong with Preschool?
The schools just aren’t allowed to do the play based learning the kids need and are actually craving. Above I said I would rather send them to daycare than preschool because I am looking for a place for my kid to relax and play. Yes you see play-based learning in most preschools, but it isn’t enough for our children. I feel absolutely horrible that my first child has suffered through so much time in institutions and has missed out on so much playtime and outdoor experiences just so she could go to the “right” school. Quotations on “right” because my real opinion is homeschool is the “right” school.
Is it Okay to Skip Preschool?
That’s your call. If you do send the kids to preschool, I’d encourage you to stop with the extra curriculars and let your child get bored outside as much as possible when they’re at home. Let that kiddo play with nature! Find a place to run and play tag. Climb a tree, collect bugs, jump in puddles, and let that child get completely filthy!