To Preschool or Not to Preschool?


Kids 360 early learning academy

As a 24-year veteran preschool teacher with a degree in early childhood education, you can probably guess my answer to the above conundrum. However, my years spent in the classroom are the same reason it never occurred to me that this would even be a consideration amongst parents. With e-learning being commonplace and more parents than ever working from home, many are considering home-schooling their children rather than placing them in a preschool classroom setting. As a Mom of three, I can relate to the thought process here. “I’m home anyway. What can my child learn at preschool that I can’t teach them myself?” Or, “My child already knows how to count to 20, recognizes letters, and can write their name. They are all set!”


Ultimately, every parent has to do what they feel is best for their child. But I ask you to consider the benefits of enrolling your child in a quality preschool program even just a couple of days/week.


Language Development: Cooperative play in a preschool setting enhances your child’s communication skills and enables them to learn from their peers. Interacting with and listening to adults and peers also enables children to refine their speech sounds. Your child will learn how to communicate their needs to others, use longer sentences and take turns speaking, all while having fun playing with their newfound friends.


Social Skills: Most parents I talk to do not truly enjoy playing with their children for hours on end. I love my children more than anything in the world, but the thought of playing imaginatively with Barbies for more than 10 minutes is not my jam. I usually find myself styling Barbie hair or organizing the dollhouse. Preschoolers on the other hand can play for HOURS and then some! Their imaginations run wild and when together, they create all kinds of fun scenarios I could never dream up. Playing with peers gives them an opportunity to share, take turns, practice patience, verbalize their needs to one another, ask questions, and finally, how to show empathy for one another. These are all important life skills that will serve them well in kindergarten and beyond.


Academics: Are you ready for your child to teach YOU something new? My preschoolers are SO excited to share songs, stories, and art projects with their parents. It gives them a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. Preschool teachers have a carefully planned, age-appropriate curriculum in place. Every day in my classroom we sing, dance, count, practice days of the week and months of the year, discuss a new topic, listen to a story, practice writing, and coloring, explore science activities, and offer many other learning opportunities your child might not have at home. Speaking of…

New Experiences and Materials: Do you regularly give your child scissors and markers? I LOVE asking this question the first time we use scissors in class. I’m never surprised when about 95% of my kiddos say “no I’m not allowed” and believe me, I understand. Our at-home art station had to be revamped when at the age of 3, my precious Sofiya used a pair of preschool scissors to cut her hair into a perfect mullet.


But at preschool, your child will have opportunities to use scissors, glue, glitter, stickers, plastic jewels, and more. We put on smocks and play in the dirt, shaving cream, and finger paint and then we wash them up before we send them back home to you. How great is that? All the mess and none of the clean-up! Preschool is truly a magical place where dreams come true.


Give Yourself a Break: Parenting little ones is exhausting. I remember the days of belting up our first toddler in a bouncy seat on our bathroom floor so I could play peek-a-boo with her while I squeezed in a quick shower. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. A few hours away from your child gives you a much-deserved breather and makes you an even better parent once you are reunited. Also, it gives your child a chance to practice separating from you, leading to less separation anxiety later on.


Kindergarten is the New First Grade: Have you heard this phrase recently? Remember when we learned our ABCs in kindergarten? Most programs were half day. We had a snack, played outside, sang a song, colored a picture, and our parents picked us up in time for an afternoon nap at home to recuperate from our exhausting morning. Enter full-day kindergarten and the big push for academics. Our children are falling asleep on the bus after their first 7-hour school day and having afternoon meltdowns. Play is not always prevalent and the new goal is for your child to be a beginning reader by the end of their kindergarten year. Our precious kindergartners are being pushed to the limit and it is no joke, my friends.


Preschool gives your child a chance to practice navigating through a school day. They will know how to line up, use scissors and crayons, and sit for a story. They might even know how to take their own coat on and off, put a folder in a backpack, clean up their toys and communicate needs to their teacher. If your child eats lunch at preschool, he/she will also most likely know how to open lunch items and put their things away when they’re finished. Believe me, these things take time and practice, and if your child has already done them in preschool, it will be a piece of cake in kindergarten. (Or as we say in preschool, “easy peasy lemon squeezy!”)


So…To preschool or not to preschool? Every child is different and only you as a parent know what is best for you and yours. However, as a veteran preschool teacher, I have witnessed the benefits first-hand in those who DO attend, and I promise you they will serve your child well in kindergarten and beyond.




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