Preschool debate

My sister came home last night and a discussion was started about Kindergarten and what kids will need to know by the end of the school year. She happens to be a preschool Montessori teacher and was commenting on one of her kids going on to a mainstream, public Kindergarten.  The parents expressed concern over what is expected of their child next year and how it compares or does not compare to the type of schooling he has received so far.

I am a bit appalled at the long list of things these kids are required to know before even entering kindergarten.  All of the rules and stipulations.  What happened to simple socialization and learning the basics from a teacher?  All for parents to complain about all of the volunteering and money dumped into it? What happened to kids playing, learning to share, and learning from one another?  When did it become a thing that a kid has to exit kindergarten knowing how to write a novel and have basic algebra down?  Okay, maybe I’m being drastic but hear me out.

My sister and I have had several conversations before about public schools versus Montessori teaching and other methods. I can tell you from mother to teacher there are a lot of things we don’t agree on.  Slowly I have come to realize that my husband and I are really going to have to start sorting out our feelings on an education direction with our little one.  Quite frankly I find it to be a bit overwhelming on what to do for those first few years.

It’s not that I’m even worried about her keeping up in school.  Our pediatrician has had conversations with us about Cora being a few steps ahead of the curve for her age. Our doctor has just suggested we keep up not with her age but with where she is developmentally.  So if she needs to do things a 24 month old does instead of her 18 month age, then do that.  So we do that.  But does that mean we put her in the early preschools that start as soon as 2 years of age?  And what does she gain out of it that I can’t just do for her at home?  OR why the heck do I even need to do preschool?  Again, why can’t we continue our learning and socialization at home and with her part-time daycare till its time for kindergarten?  Why are parents so hell bent on preschool?

Don’t even get me started on the discussions I have had with my public school teacher friends.  I get why people start homeschooling.

I guess it comes down to this for me.  I’m not ready for the world of schooling yet.  Your kid is only little so long and only at home for so long before they go out into the big world.  Hell, my own mother kept my brother back one extra year because she wasn’t ready to send her baby to preschool.  I’m not so sure what the hurry is and what preschool offers my kid that I can’t provide in the real, everyday world.  It seems childhood gets shortened a little more with each generation and I want her to enjoy it as much as possible.  Once she starts school, that is it.  It is the same as becoming an adult and getting your first job, exciting day one but then you realize that is it, there is no going back.

I honestly didn’t think I would have so many all over the board feelings about this.  I honestly thought I would send my kid to preschool when the time was appropriate and get on with it.

So what are your thoughts and experiences?

25 thoughts on “Preschool debate

  1. I have no thoughts based in fact on the subject of schooling yet because it’s not front and centre in our lives right now. I have lots of preconceived notions and ideas as I have teachers in my family but nothing that I would pretend to dish out as advice. Needless to say I’m hoping you continue to share on the topic of school so thay I can learn from your research!

    1. Haha I like your honesty. I guess this has all just started mulling around in my head. Probably why I’m not making much sense on it. But yes, I will continue to write about it.

  2. *raises hand for homeschool* because that’s the route we are headed. And Cora will learn plenty at home. I mean…we are already reading here…fluently…not just Sam sees spot. And no preschool taught him that 😜 So I say don’t stress. Let her be a kid.

    1. I’ll have to pick your head on your homeschooling decision at some point:) I’m assuming I’ll just know when the time is right for making the right decision. If that makes sense? Also, didn’t your kid come out reading:) He is such a genius!

  3. We send our older one to Montessori, he will be entering public schooling Fall 2018. Kids are expected to know a lot these days, most kids in my sons Montessori can do basic addition and write their names!
    I am pulling him out (for health reasons, I am tired and sick of his runny nose and non stop infections he brings home from school), but that apart, at 3, my son can tell which is his left/vs right shoe and get completely winter dressed all by himself. None of that I taught him at home, so there is some benefit to pre schooling. Although I wonder, what is the child supposed to learn in kindergarten if pre school teaches it all!

    1. The children my sister teaches are 3 and writing their names and reading. It is a great program but she seems to forget they are still just little ones. At times, she gets frustrated that they can’t open their own fruit snacks and so forth. Just because some kids can do certain things doesn’t mean you have to push all kids to do so. Most do get their basics down very quickly in Montessori but that is what you pay for!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’ve read that they’re finding full time preschool to not necessarily be beneficial. Charlie is going to do three days a week, five hours a day. Her Mother’s Day out program transitions naturally to pre k when they turn three and she loves it there ❤

      1. I agree. Unfortunately it does seem like there are some things they have to know going into kindergarten, so I want for her to be on track, but I also want her to just play too. That really matters for brain development at this age.

  5. Our local pre-school is a combined class for kids who are 3-4 on August 15th of that school year. That means we sent Stella when she was 3.75 (4 in December), and she ABSOLUTELY LOVES IT. There is so much play based learning, and she has such a great group of friends. She goes full day 5 days (so 8-3:20 four days a week and 8-2:20 on early release day), and is just finishing up her 2nd year of pre-k before starting K in the fall. We have zero regrets about sending her b/c she has learned so dang much from them that I never would have taught her (and done a million art projects that I never would have been organized enough to come up with!). Do what’s right for you – I agree that at age 2-2.5, there shouldn’t be a huge push to do pre-k, but in our experience, 3.5 was a great time to send our daughter, and that’s the plan with our son in the fall as well (he’s been begging to go for the last year just like his sis).

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! That is good to know. I think it will help to look into the preschools available in our town and see how we like them as well. Good thinking on the art projects because I can’t Pinterest that many ideas:)

      1. Yeah, every day she has 1-2 group activities outside of the classroom (music, gym, library, art, etc), but they are doing art projects and play based learning all day, every day in class as well. They go snow-shoeing around the school, nature hikes looking for flora and fauna, SO MUCH SHIT that I totally wouldn’t do. Ha! Our pre-k classes are a 15 kid max (1 teacher + 1 assistant) so a 7-8:1 ratio, which we also love. Oh, and they get naptime (huge for my big time napper kids), so after lunch is a 1 hour nap time, and if they’re still sleeping, they’ll let them keep sleeping OR wake them up (parent’s prerogative). It’s only the last month or two that Stella won’t sleep every day at nap, and then she just gets to lay there and read a book for some quiet time. We totally love her school, and it’s part of the elementary school, so they do lots of interactions with the “big kids” too – book buddies, etc.

  6. All I know is I pay way too much for daycare as it is thinking of paying for Montessori as well makes me anxious. I am all for preschool and kindergarten, even private schools (its close to what I am paying for daycare). I think I am going to pass on Montessori though. My son learns much more from school than he does from me already so I think socializing will do the trick just fine.

    1. I often have that discussion with my sister that people are paying for the Montessori thing and basically paying too much if you ask me. It is a lot. I can’t justify that! I only pay three days of daycare in a home so it really isn’t too bad. I know it could be worse!

      1. Our Montessori school actually closed 2 years ago so my kids never went, but it was $10k/year to send one kid there (9 months of classroom + summer care), which is almost identical to what I was paying for 12 months of childcare for BOTH kids, 3 days a week (my MIL watches them 1 day and I have Fridays off). I just couldn’t justify that kind of money!

        Our public pre-k is $500/month (so $4,500/yr) + I pay an extra $25/day for my childcare on holidays / summer break / etc when Stella is home as well. I think last year was about $12k for full day 5 day a week pre-k for my 5 year old + 3 days/week childcare for my son + holiday & summer care for them both those 3 days/week. It’s so crazy when you actually do the financial breakdown! Also, I need to buy my MIL a nice gift. I forget sometimes how much money she has saved us in the past 5 years. Wow.

      2. Montessori has some crazy prices! That is about what my sister’s school charges as well. Our pre-k is much cheaper around here though. About half the cost of yours. I’m very fortunate that my child care (for three days) is only $110 a week. Not bad for home daycare. Truthfully education/daycare is just a killer with kids!!!

  7. Ugh, this is a topic that I hadn’t even thought about. My son’s daycare has a baby section and then a 3-5 year old section. It seems that some parents keep their kids at the daycare that they have essentially grown up at instead of moving them to a preschool. I’ve seen what learning things they do and it’s really great. This week they are all being given a couple small little pots of dirt and they are learning about growing plants and caring for them. How cool is that? They also do more functional learning, but they do it by play, and books and songs. We don’t know if Hunter will be at this daycare for the long haul, and we may eventually look into a preschool setting in our own town instead of the town I work in, but I hadn’t even thought to take the time to look into what skills will be needed for him to enter kindergarten. He might be 20 months old but he seems closer to baby age than kindergarten age so it’s hard for me to get my head wrapped around the idea of kindergarten requirements. So many things we have to think of as parents.

    1. It also blows my mind the difference in just daycares! Some are “Hey we keep your kid alive while you are at work” and some are “hey we can teach them some shit” and others are “Lets get your kid ready for Harvard.” So much to think about. We actually had a good convo about it last nigh and I think we have a small plan that makes me comfortable. I’m sure it will change. The choices in our little town are slim and then there will eventually be how the hell to transport my child to and from when I work, etc. It gets complicated!

  8. I am a Montessori Guide for children 0-3 years. I always say that Montessori isn’t just a type of education, it’s a lifestyle. So it is most definitely something that you could do at home, especially with a toddler 🙂 Through observation, we determine the individual needs of each child. Then we alter the environment in order to meet those needs. Naturally, children (even the little ones) want to be independent and functional humans. So by giving them purposeful “work” (rather than light up toys that sing) and following their individual needs we are increasing their level of independence, increasing self confidence and fostering a love of learning and nature 🌿if you are up in the air about your choice, I would HIGHLY recommend to go and observe at the schools you are looking into. Tuition costs can be high, but you could try asking about grants and scholarships. You might be surprised what is all available 😊 If I were a SAHM I would implement Montessori in the home and wait until my daughter was closer to 3 or 3.5 to enroll her in a Montessori program, but this is just me. Whatever choice you make will be the perfect choice for your family!

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