I am thinking about preschool because I just finished signing Kinley up for a three-day-a-week class in the fall. This will mark the first time any of my children has ever attended preschool. I have mixed feelings about that.
On one hand I'm not really a big believer in the need for preschool, but on the other hand I have to go back to work and it's better than daycare any day.
When I tell people that I don't really believe in preschool they look at me like I'm crazy, but here are my thoughts on the subject.
#1: Neither Brian nor I, nor any of our siblings ever attended preschool, so it isn't something we were ever exposed to or familiar with.
#2: As a stay-at-home mom I kind of think, "Why pay someone to do what I can do at home anyway?" And after all the reason I chose to stay at home with my young kids is so that I could be the first and biggest influence in their lives. I really don't want to hand them off to anyone else.*
#3: Once a child begins school at age 5 the school system will control his/her/your schedule for the next 16 years. Why add two more years on to that? Freedom to travel and play and visit is too valuable to give up before it is mandatory.
#4: I make sure that my kids get plenty of social interaction and time in a classroom setting so that they are prepared for school. This week Kinley will have been in a classroom setting with her peers (and without me) for 12 hours just due to the programs that I participate in (MOPS, church, Bible study) which provide childcare and instruction as well. Now, this is an unusual week. But even on an average week she spends 5 hours in class. Next year in preschool she'll only be there 6 hours all week.
#5: I take my kids to preschool screenings offered each year to make sure that the instruction they are receiving from me is comparable to other children their age. My boys have always tested high for their age. Kinley will be tested for the first time in April. She already knows all of her letters, colors and number up through 20...not only by memory but also by sight. We are working on writing her name now.
So why am I sending Kinley for one year of preschool? Well, it looks like I will be getting a job this fall. I wasn't planning on going back to work until Kinley was in Kindergarten but the opportunities in my area appeared this year so I really can't wait.
It isn't that I think she won't like preschool, on the contrary I think she'll love it. It isn't that I don't like the teacher. Quite the opposite. I think the teacher is wonderful. I just wish it wasn't necessary for her to go. I know we'll adjust to the new schedule and she'll be thrilled with her school life, but I'm sad to see the end of the years of us together at home.
For everything there is a season.
*If I were a working Mom my children would have attended two years of preschool each, no doubt. I think it is the best alternative for working mothers.