Over and over we thought about if we wanted to put our three year old in preschool. We were told over and over that he was too young and there is no need to start him so early. With my wife being an ex-educator I felt that she had a good idea of what to do. Was it a bad idea to start him when he had just turned three about a month before school?
When thinking of putting your child in preschool it’s important to really know what’s best for them. Don’t get me wrong, the break you get from having a toddler away is nice, but is it the right thing?
Huffington Post talked about putting kids in school too soon and here’s what they said:
I go into preschools and see 2-year-olds practicing flash cards about shapes. Why would these children need to recognize ovals and diamonds? I see 3-year-olds being forced to stand against the wall to recite what they are being made to memorize.
They are punished for not standing still for the thirty minutes required. I see 4-year-olds being made to write their names on lined paper. Many are unable to hold the pencil correctly. They struggle, but are forced to keep working… even if it is all counterproductive.
Forcing them to take on academic tasks, but have had few experiences to develop conceptual understandings. They are handed technology devices to keep them busy and have fun. Playing with puzzles on a screen instead of playing with real puzzles. They read words from a screen instead of holding real books. There will be plenty of time for technology. There is very little time for childhood.
I get it. The child isn’t ready for this moment, but as parents we compare our kids to others and push them to be like the next. Fortunately for us we decided to put our son in preschool for different reasons.
He’s very active and social so we felt that preschool was appropriate for him. He enjoys being around other kids his age, but also in a structured atmosphere does so much more for him. Having that social setting for him has been a total blessing with his communication.
We were nervous at first because he would come home and tell us that he hit is friend. My wife had gone to pick him up and since she got there early she figured she’d ask his teacher. She hadn’t noticed anything, but did notice that he and his friends like to play tag. When playing they would say, “You’re it!” and then slightly hit the other one as they ran away. The teacher felt that it was a game more than a problem.
After asking us how old he was, they said, “When doing circle time he tends to wander, which is typical for younger kids.” But other than that, he was doing great and loving every second of it.
Does this make us bad parents because we put our son in preschool early? Absolutely not because we are planning on having him in three years of preschool. He is an August birthday which would either make him super young or old in his grade level. When my wife taught she noticed the kids (boys especially) that were younger in the grade took longer to pick up math and reading. They were also typically less developed socially and tended to play with the younger kids like our son is doing now. She taught 2nd grade and noticed things started to even out in 3rd and 4th grade but age played a major factor early on. We want him to get the best education and not do anything that would make it difficult for him.
Saying that now, we will see what happens because you never know. But for now he is loving preschool and we couldn’t have made a better decision.