Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preschool Thoughts

My oldest son is 4 1/2 years old. Most, although not all, of his church friends are in preschool now or will start preschool in the fall.

schoolbus front

My boy, however, will not. I thought I'd tell you why, starting with what my ideal preschool would look like.

There would be a comfortable structure, with time every day for my son to choose their own make-believe roles. There would be time outside. There would be fairy tales. Time for creativity every day. The food would be nutritious and comforting. The teachers would love and care for their kids, making an effort to understand and connect with the kids in the classroom.

I know there are preschools that fit my parameters here in North Carolina. I also know that they are WAY out of my graduate school stipend budget.

So I'm making the best and most frugal choice for my family. We'll avoid preschool, while incorporating those aspects I value into our daily lives. We now have a morning routine for "school". We spend time outside every day. I'm checking out books of classic fairy tales from the library, learning them so that I can be a better storyteller.

And we'll make our own way, and the Lord will bless us as I recognize responsibility for this stewardship.


  1. The budget issue is a big thing for me. And the number of kids I have issue is another big thing for me. I've sent my kids to playschool (like a preschool co-op with another two parents), but I'm more of a homeschool person. I'm only sending Nana to kindergarten because I realize with the other kids I can't put in the time she needs while also fulfilling their needs. Schooling and kids requires some tough decisions sometimes! If it means anything--I like your plan a lot.

  2. I love to be able to find a place where people speak my language. Boo yeah!

    I know people mean well by teaching in preschools, but nobody can give your kid attention like you do. And jump on a moment of sparked creativity instead of asking them to get back in line. The research shows (See awesome book: Bright from the Start-- not what it sounds like) and you'll see there's no academic advantage to sending your kid there either. I'm with you Em. And free play is HUGE until Kindergarten. That's where social language develops and vocabulary is learned. So if your a mom who talks to your kid about everything under the sun and labels things for them and takes their questions seriously, you'll have a curious little learner on your hands.

    Everything that costs more than free is too expensive right now, and I'll admit, I'm a little hoarder of time with my little sweetpea. :)

  3. Hubby's stepmom's jaw literally dropped when I told her #1 wasn't going to preschool. Can't wait to tell her about home schooling! :)
    We did do a "preschool" thing with my friend though where he basically went over and played dress ups. They might have sung the abc song a few times too....

  4. I have to say I loved preschool for my now 5 year old. We're finally finished with adult school so the budget thing was a little easier for us. I'm not very creative and I felt like my and my husband's perfectionism really stomped on any creativity my daughter attempted. I would try to plan creative activities and I would always get frustrated by having to do all of the project. At preschool (it was one with the same curriculum my husband had when he was 4) my daughter didn't learn anything super essential. But she did have something to look forward to. She was in a place where the teachers loved her and listened to her and encouraged her. She came home with project after project- which she did a small part of each one. There was a lot of playing. I'm actually a little worried she'll have a hard time with how school really is next year because she's had so much creativity and fun this year. There were a few things I didn't like- the "snacks" and the handful of times they watched movies! (around Christmas they watched classic Christmas movies)but overall it was a great experience.
    She also did Summer preschool at BYU before we graduated and I was able to see some areas that I didn't expose her to enough. She loved all the sensory activities there- playing with water, sand, cornmeal etc.
    I agree preschool isn't essential. I'm excited for those of you who can plan things and teach things and have your kids listen and be excited about it. My daughter is getting more receptive and curious and after reading this post I'm encouraged to take a more active role in "planing" learning activities over the Summer. I could improve in the teaching department. And I'm worried since preschool ends next week what my daughter will do until kindergarten.

  5. I was very gung-ho about sending my son Toby to pre-school this year. He'll be 3.5 in September and is more than ready academically, and socially I think he could use the experience. He's an only child, and we do try and take him places where he has to interact with kids and adults often (music classes, Church/nursery, playgroups, the park, etc). Anyway, I was so excited thinking about it and getting ready to send in our enrollment forms...

    And then I thought about it, and prayed about it, and during Conference I got the impression that I need to keep him home for at least another year. He isn't done teaching me yet and I need to have him around so I can learn what I need to before he heads off into the great big world. I guess I need to teach him too, but he teaches me so much more than I could ever hope to teach him!

    Now we are looking into doing "Joy School" with a bunch of mommies from my ward. I like that it's no pressure and that it's basically a learning-time at playgroup, and that each Mommy takes a turn hosting and teaching.

    As for homeschooling, I would like to, but truly think Toby needs to have a school experience. I am hoping to send him to a private school though. I know many people can't afford it, but we can (or will be able to once he's old enough), so we're gonna go for it. Also my mom and my grandma are both teachers, and both would murder me if I tried to home-school. Think me a wimp if you like but these women who I love and adore can be terrifying sometimes. We delayed vaccinations for a year and I thought there was going to be a mutiny from them, yikes!

  6. This must be a topic on everyone's mind. I also had a post in mind similar to this, just on summer schedules!

    Way to go Em! I think you are doing an awesome job and if it works for you, then great! I used to want to homeschool my son, but then I realized that he does so much better behaving for everyone else and thus is able to learn more! And that is how it is sometimes! LOL We were fortunate that he was able to get into an awesome preschool that really taught him a lot with 4 teachers and 15 kids per class. For those who know my son, he will sit down for 20+ minutes now to color/draw. That is huge! I also realized there were so many things that I was not letting him do (cutting with scissors) that were skills he was needing to know.

    During the summers I am on my own. Last summer we had a loose schedule 3 days a week (one day "in the kitchen", one day crafts, one day science or fun) with a general theme. The kids really seemed to like the predictable parts we did at the beginning (talking about weather, the days of the week, etc.). This summer I am hoping that since they are older we can do a little more advanced things on top of our schedule last year. I got a book that a couple of my friends rave about and have been doing with their kids over this past year. The book is called "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". I'm excited to see how it works for us this summer.

    You reminded me that I need to improve my storytelling, too. Any books you recommend?