When I was a kid, preschool was often known to be a frivolous life choice of the rich mom who wanted guilt-free time away from her child. Preschool was basically glorified day care and seen as completely unnecessary by many—dare I say, most—parents. I didn’t go to preschool. Heck! I was homeschooled through kindergarten and never missed a beat. I never gave the idea of preschool a second thought.
My view on preschool has morphed through the years after being an elementary school teacher and now a parent looking to send my children to school as well. As moms of young children, my friends and I try to navigate through these little, but big, life decisions for our kiddos. I’ve been a part of many a conversation surrounding opinions of the validity of preschool and find myself firmly on the pro side of the matter.
Listening to many other moms share their thoughts on why preschool is not necessary for their child, I find myself feeling that there are still so many myths surrounding the topic of preschool. Here are the most frequent misconceptions I hear and my response (if asked).
My child gets a lot of socialization already so we can skip preschool.
Parents, today more than ever, make huge efforts to give their kids amazing life experiences, exposure to a variety of activities and socialization with other kids. While this is so vital for your kiddos (and you), it does not replace the value that preschool has to offer.
In addition to socializing with their peers, preschool teaches kids how to interact appropriately in a school setting. Vital skills, like knowing how to sit quietly in circle time and raising their hand when they have a question, are patiently taught, modeled and mastered by the kids. These skills are not taught on your average play date or trip to the zoo.
Preschool promotes a healthy balance of work and play and sets the stage for excitement surrounding school in years to come.
My kid is very well-behaved, so they don’t need to do the preschool thing.
Preschool is not just where kids learn how to be good, so to speak. Preschool is where kids learn how to interact with their peers. It’s where they learn rules, sharing, taking turns, trying when something is hard.
Some well-behaved kids, who are used to always doing the right thing, can be stressed when dumped into full-day kindergarten having not had exposure to life in a classroom setting.
My child is so smart that they’ll be bored in preschool.
Whoever thinks preschool is solely academic is mistaken. And thankfully so! While kids do learn some academics in preschool, like letters, shapes, colors and numbers, a huge portion of the learning that goes on is not ABCs and 123s.
In preschool, the learning is so much deeper. Kids are exposed to routines; they learn to respect authority and get accustomed to being away from their parents in small regular increments of time. Preschool promotes a healthy balance of work and play, and sets the stage for excitement surrounding school in years to come.
While preschool is not an option for everyone, I firmly believe that all kids can greatly benefit from what it has to offer.