BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Not Doing Preschool
Berkeley Parents Network >
School & Preschool >
Preschools > Not Doing Preschool
Starting Kindergarten without Preschool
My 4 yo will begin K in Fall 2011 and I am beginning to do
preliminary research regarding which schools would best
suit her. My 11 yo is starting middle school at Windrush
this Fall so I am focusing my search in the El Cerrito,
Berkeley, Richmond area and have found 6 schools that I
think would be a great fit.
Does anyone know if any of the following private schools
will consider a child for K that has no preschool
experience? Windrush, Walden, Crestmont, The Berkeley
School, Berkwood Hedge and Montessori Family School.
My husband hasn't worked since August 2007 and has been
staying home with our preschooler. The only recent
experience she has with daycare is when I take her to the
backup care near my job, maybe averaging once a month or so.
Should I try to enroll her in preschool for this Fall, even
if it's just 2 mornings a week, so she can get some
preschool experience before applying for K? If so, any
recommendations for good, affordable preschools in the area
that still have Fall 2010 openings?
Also, if anyone has any experiences with the K programs in
the schools listed above, I'd appreciate any reviews,
advice, insights, etc. We are thinking of moving to
Hercules, Pinole or El Cerrito in October, so we will also
be researching public school options once we know where we
Mommy to 4 yo with no preschool
I would try to enroll her in the Berkeley Parks and Rec FREE
preschool program, it's 3 days a week and they have 10 and I
think a 20 week session, I think you can only do one
session. I have heard great things about the curriculum
(Tools of the mind) I am hoping to get my daughter in when
she turns three in the next few months, since we live in
Oakland we can try to get it but Berkeley residents are
first priority. Good luck!
OH and if you can not do the preschool thing before she goes
off to K, don't fret,My sister's children never had
preschool and all four of them are in honors and advanced
I have 2 daughters at Walden,
and preschool experience is
not a requirement. Some children come into the school after
being home-schooled for a time, some come from a preschool.
It is a small school with amazing teachers. Pamela is the
K teacher and she has an amazing ability to include all
children, help the wiggly ones focus, allow the focused ones
to lead, and teach a subject all at the same time.
My younger daughter started there early and will do a second
year in K this coming year, and we are thrilled to have
Pamela for 2 years. Ruby will be 5 this Sept. Pamela is
very able to incorporate children of different abilities /
maturity. The curriculum is different every year, based on
the children's interests. It's a small school with lots of
individual attention, and lots of encouragement for each
child to ask questions, think for themselves, be creative,
work together, solve problems, etc. Walden is a wonderful
place with integrated arts, music, drama, sign language, and
Spanish. I'd be happy to answer any more questions you
have. Best of luck with relocating.
My son will be four in a few months, and has never been in day
care or preschool. He does go to friends' houses without me, at
least once or twice a week for half a day usually. He
separates easily, does fine, loves to go, gets along well with
all kids, loves to play with just about anyone. I am home with
his younger brother and don't really have the money to justify
putting him in preschool. Of course, I feel the pressure from
many of his neighborhood peers, but, I do think that he gets
certain emotional benefits of being with mommy that kids in
preschool don't (a deeper level of attachment, having his
feelings heard and mirrored, all his speech understood, his
days filled with field trips and fun, bonding and sharing with
his little brother, etc.). I must admit, I don't want to miss
a minute (well at least not too many minutes!) of him being
little, either, since the time flies. I so rarely meet other
parents who aren't putting their kids in preschool. Am I
missing something important? And, if you are in a similar
situation and want to get together for play, please feel free
to leave me your email address as we are always looking for new
playmates who aren't busy with preschool each day.
Somehow we've become the exception instead of the norm...
My son entered kindergarten without a stitch of preschool! He
also entered ''early'' by today's standards as he just turned
five two weeks before school started. My son was extremely
social, often more so than his older, preschooled classmates.
He thrived in his kindergarten class and I truly feel that it
was his time at home with me that gave him the confidence to
succeed so readily. Now we are off to first grade at the end of
the summer and very excited! Trust your instincts. I think you
are spot on in knowing that your son's time with you has been
beneficial and immeasurable!
Well, here's a quick response to your query. There's nothing
wrong with your staying home with your 4-y-o, and enjoying every
minute of it. That said, if he starts in kindergarten without
some sort of formal group experience, he will be behind his peers
in social development.
It used to be that kindergarten was the time when kids would
learn to sit quietly in a group, listen, respond in turn, and
deal with other important school social skills. For a lot of
reasons, now kids in kindergarten are expected to know all that
already so that they can begin the great tasks of learning to
read and write. (you can say what you like about it--and I know
many who don't like--but that's the way of contemporary
education.) Of course a certain amount of socialization will
happen in kindergarten, but most private schools--and even public
schools--do expect kids to arrive in kindergarten with some group
You sound like you a terrific mom and are giving him great
attention and learning experience. However, he will need to know
how to conduct himself in school without you there to mirror his
experience and help him articulate his feelings. His teacher
will help, but your child will be one of many kids in the group.
Playdates are one thing, but formal group settings are another.
There are co-op preschools where you could be more a part of your
son's preschool experience. There may also be schools where your
son could go part time. Both of those options would help with
your cost and time-apart concerns.
On the other hand, your son will probably do fine in kindergarten
w/out preschool. Just allow an for extra measure of adjustment
when he starts.
I am not at all into pressuring kids, overscheduling them, or
doing what your neighbors are doing. That said, kindergarten is
quite academic nowadays, in large part due to NCLB (a
whole 'nother problem). Kids are expected to be ''ready to read.''
My daughter was in K last year, and the 4 kids that didn't go to
preschool did struggle as they didn't know their letters and
sounds, were not used to the large groups of kids and structure,
etc. (I know this as a frequent classroom volunteer). Preschool
is a lot of fun for many kids, and provides them with
experiences you're just not going to get going next door to the
neighbor's house. Why not find something very PT, say 2 mornings
a week? Maybe a co-op where you work (and the cost is low) at
the school one day and he goes by himself for a day as week (by
day I mean 2-3 hours). Really, I think it's a valuable
experience for kids and they usually love it. Think of it not as
something you ''have'' to do but a fun opportunity for your son to
learn, make friends, and get used to the idea of school in a
very low-key way. It will make the transition to ''real school''
much easier, I guarantee it.
I could have written your post (and thought about doing so many
times) I am in the exact same (seemingly unusual) situation -
drop me a line if you'd like to meet up at a park!
same boat mama
I take care of my grandson full time while his parents work.
He is 3 now and has not gone to preschool. I make sure he has
plenty of fun and educational things to do. We go to the park,
on field trips to Fairyland,Habitot,Studio Grow, University
Village classes, Soccer,T Ball and story time at the library.
He knows all his letters, numbers, can read at a first grade
level, add, subtract, knows his colors, can write pretty good
and has a great imagination. The only thing I think he is
missing is one on one playtime with kids his own age. You are
right that kids not in preschool seem to be a rare breed in
this day and age and if you are interested in another playmate
for your son we would be happy to get together for a playdate.
The answer is simple...do what is best for your and your family.
If you are happy with him at home, then keep him there until
kindergarten. If he is going on play dates alone, then he is
already being exposed to different value systems and rules, he
knows how to share, etc.
I think that families use preschool for different reasons.
Sometimes it is societal pressure...sometimes it is for
sanity...sometimes it is because to nurture a budding interest...
Maybe you could find a local homeschooling organization. There
are certain to be plenty of kids who have the same flexibility in
I think you should put your child in preschool. It sounds as if
your child does well in playdates, but there is so much more to
preschool. Learning to work in groups, understanding the
differences between people, learning to take direction from
teachers, developing play ground confidence, writing, reading,
math, science, art, music, etc. My son is starting Kindergarten
this fall and I know he will excel and be happy, because he
learned confidence in a school setting and met friends and
developed into a great kid. Teachers expect quite a bit from
kindergartners today (most in my sons preschool class are
reading) and I think it would be to your childs best interest
to check out preschool. Sounds like he'll love it and really
the cost is pretty nominal to help set the stage.
Don't worry about a thing. It will all work out just fine. Enjoy your time together. We
did. It's true that there are kids in my son's first grade class who have more
academic skills, but you know what? My son learned about life. He can cook, keep
his room straight, grow his own patch of pumpkins, raise a baby animal, enjoy
nature, and just be a total pleasure to be with. It did take him a few weeks to get
into the school routine at age 6, but in the hands of a supportive teacher, it wasn't a
big deal (for him anyway! I was the one crying!)
School has offered him a lot too, and I'm grateful for it. But I have to say that it
disrupts family life, so don't do it before you are all ready for a big change. It
sounds like everything is going well for you and your son right now just the way
things are. 'The Grind' can wait.
that time was precious
Well I'm a nanny. You'd think I'd be all for paid care, but in
fact I'm not. If you are the kind of mom who is suited to
staying home with your child and you love it, and everyone in
the situation thrives and leads a varied existence (you
mentioned regular playdates and field trips), then yes, you
should continue it until s/he goes to Kindergarten.
Sure, there's the possibility that your little one will freak
out when school hits, but that possibility exists regardless.
You're totally right that time flies. There is no such thing as
perfection anyway. The best any parent can do is make decisions
that feel right for their own family. My suggestion: go with
that, and don't compare.
In my opinion, nannies are ideal for parents who aren't suited
to being with their child 24/7 (there's no judgment in this -
our world includes all personality types), or who need to work
for financial reasons.
I really support your intuitive sense to just keep your child at home.
neither of my kids went to preschool. they loved it at home and
so did i. we had daily activities and got together with other
preschoolers regularly. when my kids entered kindergarten they
were well adjusted socially and ahead academically. the kids are
now in 10th and 8th grade. both highly gifted and still socially
well adjusted. they lost nothing by not attending preschool and
gained everything by being at home. looking back, if i had to do
it again, i would have kept them at home for another year, until
1st grade as kindergarten was too chaotic and many of the kids
were very immature and mean. personally, i thought it was a waste
do what is right for you and your family
enjoy your kids :)
I think it's important for young children to be around groups of
other young children early in life. In the old days, this
happened naturally with groups of cousins, neighbors, etc. My
mother did not go to preschool, but was always around a large
group of siblings and cousins from an early age. As a result, she
was always comfortable with other people. However, I did not go
to preschool, was mostly alone with my mother all day, and grew
up cripplingly shy. In kindergarten, I cried every day for a
couple of months. I was overwhelmed by the large group of
children -- it all seemed so chaotic and confusing. After many
years of hard work, I learned how to force myself to come out of
my shell, but I still struggle with painful shyness.
I think socialization is like language -- there's a ''critical
period'' in those early years where your brain is primed to learn
it, and if you miss it, it's much harder to catch up later.
You don't have to send your child to full-time preschool (a few
hours a day, 2-3days/week is fine starting at age 2) -- that way
you can still enjoy that precious time together most of the time!
We've started looking at preschool options for 2005 for our
child, who will be 3 next year, and up until now, has stayed at
home with one parent.
Frankly, we're feeling discouraged by the whole process--cost,
lack of ethnic diversity (or seemingly so?), competitive spirit,
etc. All of these things have made us stop and think: Preschool
is *not* compulsary, so must our child go, and at 3 yrs. old?
I'm not looking for pros and cons of preschool (or a debate),
per se, but more advice from others who have kept their
child/ren at home until kindergarten (or at least until 4yrs.
old). For instance, what sorts of activities do you do to keep
them busy at that age? If they've entered kindergarten, have you
sensed that they're somehow lacking in anyway when compared to
other kids? Was it possible/easy to find other kids that age
not in preschool and form playgroups with them?
Just want to consider all the options...Thanks.
Preschool novice mom
After doing a year of preschool partime when our daughter was 3,
we are now home-preschooling for age 4. (We intend to go to one
of our local public schools for kindergarten.) Since all her
friends even the younger ones are in school of some sort, we felt
it important that she felt she was doing something rather than
''not going to to preschool.'' We tapped into some homeschooling
activities so she could meet other children who are at home in a
fun but purposeful manner. We signed up for preschool science
classes at LHS, a performance arts type class, a music class, go
to the weekly story hour at our library for the 3.5 - 7 age set
and listen to language cds with that extra car time. We do a easy
hike 3x a week in the mornings (~45 minutes). We also have two
regular weekly playdates with friends that don't go to preschool
every day. It's challenging but I'm having more fun than I
thought I would and I don't have to pack lunch anymore.
My kids will not go to preschool nor have they been to day care
before they will attend kindergarten. I would be interested to
hear adjustment experiences of other parents whose kids have
gone to school without preschooling. I imagine it depends on the
child but there might be a ''general'' trend.
Our three daughters started kindergarten without ever attending
preschool. The two oldest daughters were anxious to start school and I
noticed very little difference between those children who had attended
preschool and ours that hadn't. Surely within the first semester any
advantage had evened out. Our third daughter was apprehensive about
leaving the nest and going to school, coupled with the birth of her baby
brother a month before she was not too sure. She was fine when school
started. No clinging to my leg begging me to stay. Also, all 3 girls
missed the cut off dates to start school(the youngest by 1 week, the other
2 by a month) so they all started school at 5 1/2 so I would imagine that
played a part it their adapting.
Don't sweat it; kids do fine either way. Neither of my sons
went to daycare or preschool and both were fine in kindergarten.
I wish you the best
I chose to send my daughter to preschool, but my sister-in-law
decided to keep her daughter (same age) at home until
kindergarten. The one main difference between the kindergarten
experience of these two girls was *not* academic, but rather,
social. My niece struggled with dealing with her peers for an
extended period of time, on her own (without mom's help or input).
My SIL had assumed that because her daughter went to Sunday School
each week, she was getting peer-experience and teacher experience.
While this was true, it is totally different being with 19 other
children for three to six hours every single day, all week long.
Her daughter did not have the social skills to deal well with
conflict, negotiation, sharing, compromise, and so on. To her
surprise, her daughter had a hard time for the first six months or
so. She has thus decided to send her now three year old daughter
to preschool for a year before kindergarten.
A Preschool Happy Parent
More Questions about Not Doing Preschool
I want to preface this by saying that I am a normally pretty
relaxed momma who is beginning freak out BIG TIME about pre-
school. I don't think I felt as anxious about choosing my own
college or grad school. My almost 2 yr is thriving now in our
nanny share with our dear nanny but I am looking for pre-school
for next year so he can socialize in a group. He is a happy,
social, verbal child who also loves gross motor activities,
music, animals, books, general silliness, and being outside.
My big problem is cost, we are planning to try for baby number
#2 and there is no way that I can afford to pay our nanny and
even part-time pre-school. I really can't believe how much Bay
Area parents are paying. Some full-time schools are as much as
$1700 per month and many part-time programs are about $800 per
month. As a full-time working mama with a commute, I can't
really swing the coop thing. I keep thinking that maybe we
could transition #1 and #2 to pre-school at the same time but
most pre-schools don't accept toddlers.
Has anyone kept their older child at home with their nanny and
younger child and skipped pre-school or waited until just one
year before K. If so, how did it go?
We are middle-class but looking at these fees I feel poor.
Maybe I just need moral support that this is ALL crazy. Back
in the day (the 70's), my brother and I went to a parent
participation nursery school for one year before K (I vaguely
remember making paste) and we are fine.
a normally chill momma who is freaking
I'm a working mom of two kids - 2y 4mos apart - and am baffled by
the costs of childcare / preschool. Part of the way we've been
pulling it off is by our very affordable preschool - Smiles in
Montclair. It's a very straight forward, play-based with
structure school with teachers who've been there a long time.
Full time is under $1000. That being said, I just went to an
open house for a pre-K program for my son who will graduate from
smiles and am not even sure if we can afford it - since we'd also
send his younger brother there too (for logistics sake). It's
like having a second mortgage payment!
In retrospect, I would have given more thought to spacing my kids
out more so that we weren't hemorrhaging financially in these few
Looking forward to public school....
Our almost 4 year old isn't in preschool for the same reason you
are describing. Since we have a baby and her, we couldn't
afford daycare and preschool. Our daughter's doing just fine
and we just make a bit more effort to make sure we get together
with others who have kids her age. We've let go of all
the ''preschool'' stress and have confidence in the fact that
there is no one ''right'' path in life.
My son did three years of preschool and is thriving in 2nd
grade. My daughter did one year of preschool and is thriving
in kindy. Yes, one year of preschool is definitely enough if
you believe that's all you can afford.
Another middle-class family struggling to afford childcare
We are contemplating sending our second child to preschool and I
am looking for input from people on both sides- those who
believe in it and those who do not necessarily think it is
needed. We sent our first child to preschool and although it was
a good experience we find ourselves wondering if she would have
benefitted just as much by being home and engaged in more
playgroups and activities. Our plan was to start sending our
second child who is three years old to preschool during the
summer along with our five year old daughter so he could gain a
comfort level while his sister was still attending. However, our
beloved preschool is closing in June! And, we are expecting a
third child in July/August. So, I would love any input on the
following: 1. We are concerned about the adjustment in August
when we have a new baby, our daughter is starting kindergarten
and our son is starting preschool. Some schools have summer
openings to help our 3 yr old adjust to the idea of it before
the baby comes but the preschools we really like either are full
for the summer or are too costly for us. We thought about
waiting several months into the new school year but we fear that
we would not get in to any decent preschool considering all of
the long waiting lists. 2. Cost versus benefit. Our three year
old is involved in two regular playgroups, a gym class and a
music class. If we added one more activity for socialization
would that be enough socilization? Preschool is expensive
considering he would only be there about 6-12 hours a week. 3.
Does he need to be away from mom/baby and develop independence?
This is the big question for us and we are really stuck on this
one. We thought about joining a local health club that offers a
great, structured childcare where we can leave him up to two
hours a day (the baby too which would allow Mom a bit
of ''sanity'' and much needed exercise time too). Would this
allow him the opportunity to learn to be away from Mom and gain
enough independence? We are comitted to sending him to a pre-K
program next year but we are really questioning what to do this
coming year when he would be age 3 to 4. Thank you so much for
I believe that the benefit to preschool is much more than for
socialization. It teaches your child how to ''go to school''and
better prepares them for kindergarten...where they are expected
to sit at one desk, preform certain tasks, stick to a routine,
etc....I think if your child doesen't go to preschool s/he would
be much less prepared for that environment. Secondly, the odds
that s/he will go to college are greater if they go to preschool,
which let's face it, in this day and age, is needed to survive in
the world. I hope this helps in your decision....
You can't believe how much 3 and 4 year olds are capable
of!!! I have my 3 yr old (just turned 3 in January) in full time
preschool and she is exposed to so much--activities,
friends, adults (teachers and adults who come in to lead
activities), field trips, food, books, music, physical
movement, and just free play time. This means that when
we're home, at the end of the day and on weekends, I can
just BE with her and that's cool with everyone. I also have a
one year old who goes to daycare. If I were in your shoes
with yet a third child on his/her way, I would let the two
bigger birds spread their wings away from momma bird and
make room to focus on the baby and mother's needs, which
will not be insignificant especially in the first year!!! I also
learned in the past year that despite all my fears and hopes
to do things perfectly, that my toddler was quite resilient and
stepped up to doing preschool! She's having a great time.
Just a quick two cents on the preschool issue: very good friends
of ours did not send their daughter to preschool, mostly for
financial reasons (though she was in daycare for about a year,
until she was 2 1/2). Instead, she spent the days with her then-
unemployed father and younger brother taking hikes, swimming,
going to museums, etc. She is now halfway through her
kindergarten year and is doing extremely well. So, while there
are a lot of positive effects to be had from a good preschool
experience, it's clear that there are many other ways for
children to get the kinds of emotional, social, and intellectual
stimulation that will prepare them for primary school. You should
choose what works best for your child and your family. (BTW, the
correlational data relating preschool and college attendance that
were referred to in another posting should be understood in their
proper context: they were collected in homes and communities that
did not provide adequate developmental support for young children
-- no books, child-centered activities, etc. -- as well as having
a host of other complications that affected children's health and
well-being. Preschool attendance in and of itself does not
guarantee future admittance to Harvard.)
My daughter (who attended preschool) started Kindergarten last
Fall. All the children in her class, with the exception of one,
attended preschool or a developmental kindergarten program.
Well, the child that did not attend preschool, from the get go,
is the most well adjusted child in the class! She is quietly
confident and assertive. No one walks over her. Clearly a very
secure child. Has many friends and is genuinely liked by all the
kids although her personality is not out there. She has never
had a day where she has had a problem separating from her
mother. We still have children (who attended preschool crying).
Maybe it's because her mother didn't push her out of the nest in
a big hurry and when she went to Kindergarten she was truly
Don't be in a rush
I'm thinking of doing some sort of very small, at-home, joy
school for my three-year-old daughter. She is very imaginative,
has a large vocabulary, and has a pretty active mind. Is there
anyone out there that has tried a joy school at home? Any
advice about activities, or do's and don't's? I'd like to work
with her for a year or two before she starts kindergarten, but I
don't know where to start.
I'd love your advice, rebecca
Check out Before Five in a Row:
I can't recommend it specifically, but we have gotten a lot out
of Five in a Row (for older children) and plan to get it.
Make books with your child. She draws the pictures and dictates
the text to you.
Play tic tac toe. Good for 1)thinking skills in general,
anticipation of possible moves 2)understanding symmetry (if first
player goes in middle, all 4 corners are the same and all 4 non
corners are the same move) 3) teaching letter writing. start
with x's and o's move on to c's and l's, r's and f's, etc.
Explore the juvenile non-fiction section of your library for
topics of interest --- backyard birds (get an ''identiflyer'' to
learn birds and frogs by their call), dinosaurs, dogs, lizards,
whatever. Try to find fiction about same topic --- talk about
fact vs. fiction. My 4 and 2 year olds love the ''See How They
Grow'' video series. The anthropomorphic presentation of facts
about the development of farm animals, sea animals, forest
animals, pond animals really appeals to them and has been a
springboard for us for further exploration and imaginative play.
My 4-year-old loves all the DK (Dorling Kindersley) books:
Ocean, Shell, Reptile, etc. They are usually available in
libraries. The Lawrence Hall of Science has an overlooked
biology room downstairs with turtles, lizards, frogs, chincillas.
The docents take the animals out and let you feed and hold them.
The authors of The Well-Trained Mind say that early childhood is
a time for amassing information, ''pegs'' to hang other information
on later,and a basis for analysis and critical thinking which
comes later. I like this idea and young children do seem to be
amazing fact sponges. So just find a topic that appeals and dive
daughter loved tidepool creatures for a while, so we learned all
about periwinkles, starfish, hermit crabs, etc.with library
books, videos, trips to the shore (Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in
Half Moon Bay), Steinhardt and Monterrey Bay Aquaria, etc.
The Ooey Gooey Handbook is a great resource. If you get a chance
to hear the Ooey Gooey lady talk, GO! She is a marvelous
inspiration and a very entertaining speaker. She has ideas that
I remind myself of all the time: ''Control the Environment, not
the child'' is a great one. I also like ''Artwork is not a receipt
for childcare'' ie, the artwork should be about material
exploration for the child and not about producing some
recognizable thing that the parents will appreciate!
Develop critical thinking as well as have fun by reading your
child's favorite books ''wrong''. Say the wrong colors, wrong
names, objects, feelings, etc. and let her catch and correct you.
Kids usually love this (sometimes they get mad, though!).
Hi, I am a parent of two preschoolers and have received soo much
pressure to enroll them in a preschool from family and friends.
I am also a teacher but have taken the past three years off to
be at home. I spend maybe a half an hour a day sometimes not
even that, on fun activities that promote learning the pre-k
skills. If done in fun and games they catch on soo quickly. I
believe parents are the best teachers and role models for their
children at this time and if given the opportunity to stay home
why not spend the money on dance or gymnastic classes instead.
I make sure we are doing things in the community and are
involoved in a mom's club for the social interaction that I
agree is neccessary. I was wondering if there are others who
feel this extreme pressure to enroll their children too? It's
kinda funny because a girlfriend sent her daughter to a good
preschool and now that she is in kindergarten and the teacher
informed her she doesn't have all the pre-k skills needed and
what to work on at home-it would not have taken but minutes to
teach those skills earlier. Plus it is fun to have an active
part in their learning- I do believe those first years children
are like sponges and as parents we should take every opportunity
to fill thier minds with intrique.... please let me know if you
have felt the same way. I understand working parents need to
have child care but maybe a fun, nuturing environment is just as
good as one that is strict and makes our children grow up to
soon. Just a thought.
Kudos to you! I think it's great that you're staying with your
kids for as long as it feels right to you!! My older child is now
in kindergarten, after 2 years in preschool, and looking back
I have to wonder if it did that much for him. It was fun, and it
gave me sanity time, which I needed, but if he hadn't gone it
would have been fine for him, I really believe. Do what
you're doing!! You go!
I can certainly understand your frustration at feeling pressured
to put your child in preschool. It sounds as if you are doing a
very good job of parenting. On the other hand, I think you
might want to take a look at the reasons behind why your friends
are bringing the issue up. I'm sure they mean well and aren't
reflecting at all on you parenting or decisions, although they
may be trying to tell you something about your child that could
be worth listenting to.
Preschool is as much about socialization as it is about learning
and being a day care type of option. Is your child well
socialized? Does she get along well with others? How is she in
a group? Is she really getting as much exposure by spending her
days with you as she would be by interacting in a group
situation with kids her own age? Does she seem to make friends
easily? Rather than it reflecting on your parenting skills, it
might be a hint that perhaps your child would do well to be in
more group situations, and preschool can be a very good option.
And it's really quite fun for the children, once they get used
to the new routine, that is.
I found that when I finally put my child in preschool, he was
genuinely happy about it, even though we had to give up our
together time. He was just as loving and delightful as he was
before we made the switch, but had even more people and
activities in his life to make him happy. I was the one that
had the tough time, frankly.
I'm sure that whatever you do will be fine with your child, but
there really is a lot to be said for broadening her horizons by
giving her even more than you already are. Best of luck!
My opinion is that unless your home environment is impoverished
there is no reason you ought to send your children to preschool
against your wishes. There are many fine reasons to put your
child into preschool: your child is very outgoing and loves to
play with large groups of children, you need some time off. But
I really cannot believe that preschool can provide children with
anything that a loving parent cannot. I think the arguments
about socialization are crazy. In developmental psychology (this
is straight out of a textbook) socialization is: The process by
which children acquire the standards, values and knowledge of
their society. If you keep them at home and teach them your
values and enrich them with your knowledge, you are socializing
them. If you meet with families whose values your share or
respect and let your children play together, play with other
children and help them to learn to share, be respectful and not
hurt each others' feelings, look out for younger children, say
please and thank you, or whatever it is that you think is
important, then you are socializing them.
At preschool they learn the standards, values and knowledge of
I am not particularly impressed with preschool society, as
preschool knowledge seems to consist of rhymed taunts -- here's
one my friend's kids came home with: ''Babies drool and big kids
rule.'' Their values are ''Lord of the Flies'' where even the
sweetest kids at the best schools (another friend's daughter)
come home saying, ''I hate you'' and ''I am going to kick your
butt.'' Of course, they do come out of it ready for school in the
sense that they know how to stand in line, raise their hand to
talk, and learn that the world is full of rules.
I have had bouts of sending my 4-year-old to preschool (because I
want some time for my own projects) and I looked around at many
options and tried two that seemed to be among the best. Some
of the very best programs are full time and I was not interested
in full time. THe first was very Lord-of-the-Flies. There were
lots of sensory tubs, free crafts, playdough, manipultives, but
the kids ran wild and the full-time kids ruled the roost, pushing
smaller kids down and throwing sand in their face, not letting
new kids into the clique.
We took a year off preschool. My daughter is now going to
preschool that is ''more structured''. She says she enjoys it, she
likes the ''crafts'' (teacher makes sure they come out pretty so
the parents will be pleased with their children's art --- ugh.)
The other day my daughter listed all the rules at her
preschool: No throwing sand (fair enough). No playing with sand
on the jungle gym. No playing under the jungle gym. No toys on
the jungle gym. No climbing up the slide. Only good kids get
a treat. Bad kids don't get a treat. I just hope that 6
hours/week there won't squelch her independent spirit!
I think both kinds of socialization (by kids a la Lord of the
Flies) and by teachers (follow the rules, raise your hand, don't
do this, don't do that) can easily wait until kindergarten, or,
We are feeling like we're the only parents in the Bay Area who haven't signed our
kids up for preschool. There is so much talk of preschool in these newsletters, on the
playgrounds, and in the Mothers' Groups. Are there other stay-at-home parents out
there who plan to give their pre-kindergarten kids the basics at home? My oldest
daughter is 24 months, and speaks in 5-7 word sentences, knows the alphabet, colors,
counts to 20+... I know that socialization is a big reason to send kids to preschool, but
with all the classes & activities available in this area (kindergym, music, Habitot, etc.,
at the Y, libraries, etc.), I feel like she gets that without having to spend hundreds of
dollars (some preschools charge more in tuition than my state university did!) every
month. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, a Berkeley mom
Hi. Our daughter is three and we're just starting her in preschool. She is
also very verbal and smart and knowledgeable. We're doing it for a few
reasons. One, we don't have the time and resources to engage her in as many
projects as preschool will. Two, we want her to make friends and learn to
spend time with the same children on a regular basis. Three, we haven't
been able to get her into all of the programs out there that we'd like to
(like those that you mentioned) and want her exposed to all of those
Bottom line, though, is that you should do what you feel is right for your
child and definitely not put your daughter in because you feel any type of
peer pressure to do so.
Good for you for questioning the dominant paradigm concerning preschool. My
son will be 3 this spring. About a year and a half ago I almost went crazy
because every one I knew who had a toddler was totally preoccupied with
getting their child enrolled, or on a waiting list for a preschool. Many of
those moms were actually frantic about it, and I got caught up in the frenzy
myself for a while. I spent a half a year researching and touring preschools,
some of them co-ops, some not, about 9 total. I did not find any that even
came close to meeting my expectations. They all appeared to me to be highly
enriched and organized day-care centers for the middle and upper class, with
prices to match! Some of the ratios were as much as 6:1, sometimes with a
population of 24 children! To quote a teacher I once met at a playground who
homeschooled her own children, ''children do not gather knowledge, or become
socialized in a wholesome way when they are placed in packs!'' Or did she use
the word ''herds'', I can't recall. This is a third grade teacher telling me
this! She is not the only teacher I have met who chose to avoid government
institutions when it came to their own children. So my advice to you is listen
to your brain and your heart. You are your child's first and best teacher. I
think that people are deluding themselves if they think that they are sending
their child to preschool so that they can get properly socialized. My son
meets with a peer group 3 times a week, has one-on-one play dates on a regular
basis, and attends various short programs of gymnastics and music and
movement. He has lots of friends of both genders, is very social, and easily
shares things with others. Meanwhile, academically he's pretty much at
kindergarten level. So who needs preschool?
I have a 30 month-old daughter and a baby on the way and I am not
considering sending my daughter to preschool yet. I feel the way you do
that with all of the available activities in the area she is getting plenty
of socialization. I have been feeling the pressure since almost everyone I
know is talking about preschool, but I am not ready. My feeling is that she
is going to be in school for a long time, and my time with her is so
precious that I want to take full advantage of it. From what I understand,
one year of preschool will prepare most children for kindergarten, so if you
are not in a hurry, then wait.
I was a preschool teacher before my daughter was born, and I have no plans
of sending her to preschool. I've ''tutored'' some other children, but
really, see no need for preschool.
Just my $0.02!
although we briefly enrolled our (now 7.5yo) in preschool for a couple
months, we have not felt it necessary for him nor his siblings. Our 5yo has
never been to preschool; nor his younger sister. So, if absolutely nothing
else, you're not alone.
No, I don't think it is. I didn't go myself, and though I suffered in the
socialization skills (I entered kindergarten only knowing how to be a bossy
older sister. Took YEARS to re-learn social skills), I excelled
My son will be attending this year, mostly because it will be cheaper and
more stimulating than his babysitter.
Go with what suits you and your child.
Preschool is fun. I don't think there is a right or wrong choice, but I do
think that my daughter (age 2 1/2) has blossomed in preschool. It is not
that I cannot take her to gymnastics or to music classes, but in preschool
children get the opportunity to trust adults who are NOT their parents,
problem solve without the help of a parent, negotiate, bond with other
children WITHOUT the help of a parent, and so on. My niece did not go to
preschool, and my child did (they are the same age, 5). The way these two
girls dealt with problems that arose was quite different. My niece's mother
was always jumping in to work out her daughter's problems, or defend her, or
simply remove her from a difficult situation because her daughter did not
have the skills to deal with the issue on her own. Now that this child is
in kindergarten, there is a huge change in her. She seems so much more
confident (even her mother notices the change!).
Most importantly, for me, is the fact that my 2 year old LIKES
preschool. She LIKES the music, the art, the mix of children and teachers,
celebrating other people's holidays, and so on. She LIKES her friends, all
of whom she chose for herself (rather than me choosing them for her and
arranging playdates with the children I liked).
One last comment. Preschool doesn't have to be all or nothing. There
are many half-day or part-time preschools around, co-ops, and so on. If you
are interested in preschool, you can always find a balance that fits you and
your child's needs.
With my son, pre-school was a good thing. It enabled him to learn how to get
along with other kids and he needed the stimulation, plus the structure. He
needed a lot of structure. He was a very active kid and needed limits. By
the time he was five, pre-school had calmed him down and got him used to a
school-like schedule. He could sit still and listen with the best of them.
Eight years later, we left our daughter in a home care situation so she did
not start school until Kindergarten. She didn't need pre-school. She got
along well with other kids and was very smart at an early age (very early
reader). She had no problems with listening and was not as hyper as her
older brother. If anything she was the total oppossite in that she would
rather read than run around.
It all depends on your child. Pre-school is not a status quo thing. My son
needed it, my daughter didn't. You can learn all the skills you mentioned in
a non-pre-school environment (and I don't mean by sitting them in front of
Sesame Street everyday either). From your description, your child sounds
like she can already pass the kindergarden entrance test so I wouldn't worry
about it. It sounds like you're doing a great job with her.
a non-Berkeley mom
this page was last updated: Aug 31, 2010
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network