This coming summer, my oldest turns 4. This means after the New Year, we'll need to make a decision about preschool for next fall before enrollment opens in February. While I'm grateful our family has a choice, we have always been on the fence about preschool, even though both my husband and I went as kids.
I know my super extroverted daughter will thrive when surrounded by peers, but private preschool can be expensive, and running her to and from would only add to our busy schedule.
Since this is my first time making this decision, I am totally unfamiliar with what is OK. Is sending your child to preschool expected? Or are others considering skipping preschool, too? So, I started researching and found some pretty convincing reason for skipping preschool altogether.
Early exposure to academic material does not expedite the intellectual development of young children, and if preschool does equip them with an academic advantage, those skills seem to fade entirely by the first grade, according to a report by the Heritage Foundation. In fact, when comparing the performance of kids who had been enrolled in preschool with those who hadn't, their research found they basically performed the same in the future.
2. Play is learning
Learning is not confined to the classroom . Anyone who takes the time to watch their toddler experience the world can see how valuable free, independent play is to growing and developing minds. Without preschool, children have the option to spend that extra year or two learning outside of the classroom; they can romp around outdoors for hours, observing and taking note of the way the world works.
3. Delaying school decreases chances of hyperactivity in children
Skipping preschool and even delaying kindergarten for a year may be significantly more beneficial to children than early exposure to academic information. Children who wait until age 6 to start school saw reduced levels of inattention and hyperactivity, traits of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to a recent Stanford Graduate School of Education study.
4. Devote time to developing good habits
Education expert, Charlotte Mason, believed strongly that children should not be in school before the age of 6. This is because she saw the benefit of devoting ample time to teaching children basic habits before they begin school. Mason argued that good habits associated with the basics of everyday living were essential to the future success of every student.
5. A stable and consistent home life increases likelihood of academic success
Children who have a stable, consistent and engaging home life are most successful in kindergarten and the following grades, according to a University of Texas study by Elliot Tucker-Drob. Time at home with involved parents is an important part of developing a healthy sense of self and strong habits that will play a role in future academic experiences.
Children are only toddlers and preschoolers for so long before they quickly move on to elementary school and then the adolescent years. If keeping your child at home is something you want because you and your child are not ready to end your time at home together, then listen to your gut and keep them home. Ultimately, the decision is yours, and you know your child and their needs.