I have been discussing preschool options for DD with a friend of mine. She insists that if a child doesn't go to a 4s program of some kind for preschool that they will be extremely disadvantaged when it comes to kindergarten. Now, this doesn't seem right to me. Preschool is optional. And since our preschool option just fell through I am worried after listening to her.
But then this morning I had a chat with a parent at swim lessons who happens to be a teacher. She said preschool was a waste of time for them and that the kids cover what they need in kindergarten. She gave me a rundown of the learning outcome for kindergarten and they were the same things that my friend had said were so great about preschool.
So, what do you all think? Is preschool really necessary or is it a nice to have?
There are definite advantages to preschool and I do think that some children are put at a huge disadvantage if they don't attend. Some children are not given many opportunities for language, socialization, and learning at home and they are able to get those things through preschool. The demands placed on children in Kindergarten are huge (writing 8 sentences on a given topic by the end of kindergarten!!!), and without the pre-academic skills obtained in preschool some children just flop when they start school. Definitely seen it happen.
However, if you are providing learning opportunities for your child at home I wouldn't panic that she can't attend preschool. Work on some basic pre-academic skills (colors, shapes, letters, writing her name, etc.), provide opportunities for interaction with peers (church, play dates, dance class, etc.), and set expectations for behavior at school (remain in a designated area, follow directions from other adults, etc.).
I'm sure your daughter will be just fine! Don't worry!
I don't think it's necessary but my child benefited from it a great deal.
Re your original question... My kids did preschool and I don't think it was necessary from an academic standpoint. I taught them their colors, numbers, phonics sounds, etc at home. However, since full time kindergarten is common here (all the public kindergartens are full time in my school district) I think preschool is good "practice" for managing a full day in a classroom setting. If your school district still does 1/2 days I wouldn't worry about it, but if they do full days it might be a good idea.
I think it depends on where you plan to send your child to school. I had a friend who sends her child to an elite private school. She sent me an e-mail with all of the requirements for her child just to get IN to that school's kindergarten. I was panic stricken and spent 2 hours a day making sure my 3 year old could do everything on the list. In the end we ended up sending DD1 to a private school for pre-school, but not that same one. She was way above all the other kids. With DD2, I did not stress so much. Just did normal things with her and she also was more than able to do everything on that list. We are homeschooling now, but I still strive to have my kids able to do everything the more elite private schools require of their students. Public schools are completely different. There will be some students who go into kindergarten not knowing anything. They are used to that and many do just fine.
Long story short, if you are sending your child to a pristine elementary school, then preschool or at least working heavily with your child at home will be necessary. If you are sending your child to a normal public school, your child might be behind some of the other students but most likely will catch up in no time.
I wouldn't worry a whole lot about pre-school. Robbie never went and he started kindergarten being the only kid who could read, but Christmas break there were 4 kids but he was so far ahead (and still is in Grade 1). Kindergarten in the Canadian system is to teach kids the basics and prepare them for grade 1 where the learning really starts.
There were tons of kids in Robbie's class that did not know their letters or anything before coming to school, they moved on to grade 1 with no problems.
Sean (38 )
Robbie (8 )
Bailey (April 2, 2011)
"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." Caroline Myss
And as far as the academics go - she does most of it at home. She already knows her alphabet verbally and visually. She knows a lot of the sounds too. She can count to 10. She understands the concept that numbers relate to how many things she has. She is working on writing letters as well. And all of this she did herself because she wanted to learn it. I will be surprised if she can't read my kinder as she really wants to know how. She is really determined when she decides that she wants to know something.
I am a preschool teacher and I do not believe that all kids need preschool. There are some children that definitely need it, kids that have major separation issues for instance benefit greatly from the skill of trusting another adult to meet their needs. I have 3 kids and 2 needed preschool, 1 would have been fine without it.
Right now the focus is on building skills in vocabulary and small motors skill, a lot of research is showing strong skill in these areas show great long term success. If you decide she doesnt need it, my suggestion would be to do a lot of cutting, pasting, watercolors and that kind of thing while reading as much as you can.
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson