Not Doing Preschool Before Kindergarten?

Lounge By ckkerber Updated 30 Jan 2007 , 4:04am by munkey

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ckkerber Posted 18 Jan 2007 , 6:07am
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How many of you haven't sent or aren't sending your toddlers to preschool before kindergarten?

My oldest son will be 4 in April (so he'll be kindergarten age a year from September). My youngest turned 2 this past September. I haven't enrolled either in preschool yet and wasn't planning on doing so. I'm a SAHM and a former kindergarten teacher. I feel like academically I know what they will need to know before starting school and I can be sure they're ready. We also have playgroups and friends that we get together with so we do get our "social" time, too. I just feel like this time before school is so fleeting and I don't see any need to rush into the school scene.

I do belong to an international mom's group that meets twice a month (on average) and on those mornings, the boys are in a preschool-type setting in that they have their own classrooms, lead teachers, they do snack and play as well as little mini-lessons. It's by no means consistent as it's once every two weeks or so but it is classroom time and time that they're away from me. I also go to the gym from time to time and they have a Kids Play area and the boys play there while I work out. So it's not like they never get time away from me. They also have lots of cousins and often go play at their houses without me.

The reason for posting this is that I get comments from friends / family who have enrolled their kids in preschool . . . comments that I'm not "preparing" my kids or that they'll lag behind in kindergarten just because they won't know the rules / routines. As a former Kindergarten teacher, I had a few of those kids in my classes who hadn't been in school before and after the first few weeks, they adjusted fine so I don't see a problem there. People just make me feel like I'm being selfish keeping the boys home and that I'm doing it more for me and not allowing them to branch out. I don't see it that way, I think they've got a lifetime to be students, only a few years to be home with mommy full-time so I'm taking advantage. But I hate the feeling I get when justifying my actions to others because "Everyone" goes to preschool nowadays.

Does anyone else find themselves justifying this, too?

25 replies
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nefgaby Posted 18 Jan 2007 , 7:10am
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Moms know BEST and every child is different, don't let anybody tell you what to do with YOUR kids, you know them better than anybody else and since you are a fomer kindergarten teacher you know what to expect. Also, I believe the whole point of sending them to pre-k (among other things...) is for them to be social and independent which for what you say they totally are!
I also replied to your other post... as I said earlier, I'm on the same boat and I know, we want the VERY BEST for our kids. icon_biggrin.gif

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elvisb Posted 18 Jan 2007 , 7:15am
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I sent both my kids to preschool, but I had reasons for it. My daughter is one of the oldest in her class, and was painfully shy. She now has a very active social life for a 9 year old. Academically, I was not concerned, but she definately needed to let go of mommy and learn how to make friends.

My son is one of the youngest in his class, and was born a social butterfly. We were more concerned with him keeping up with the learning end of things. We were on the fence the whole time he was in preschool and planned on sending him a second year, until all of a sudden something clicked and he took off. The teachers all recommended we send him on despite his age, and he has done beautifully ever since.

There are a lot of reasons for sending kids to preschool. Some kids need it. It sounds like your kids may be alright without. I think that's something that each parent needs to decide for themselves. You know your kids better than anyone else. Do what you think is right.

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cakemommy Posted 18 Jan 2007 , 7:23am
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WOW!!! We have a lot in common except I'm not a teacher but just a SAHM!

I debated whether to put my boys in preschool. My youngest just turned two in December and I'll start him in preschool in April. My oldest, 4 1/2 has been in for over a year now. He's learned quite a bit since I enrolled him. I have to admit, I was hesitant at first. I was also sitting on the fence about it but I finally did it. I have to get him registered for Kindergarten as he'll start this Sept. I haven't the foggiest idea as to what to do to make that happen!!!!!!!

I as well attend a Mom's group, MOPS! Is that the group you attend? I also belong to a gym and go about three times a week.

I don't think you're wrong at all for not enrolling them. Especially since you're a teacher. You know exactly what they need and where they should be intellectually and emotionally by the time they start school.

Don't listen to anyone who tells you you need to put them in preschool. Anyone who knows you should know that you're taking perfectly good care of your youngsters and they will be more than prepared for school when it's time!

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nefgaby Posted 18 Jan 2007 , 7:31am
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Oh, I forgot to add, my now 4 1/2 year old started preschool twice a week when he was 2 1/2. I decide to do so since we are a bilingual family and needed for him to listen to more english that what he was getting at home. He loves school and goes 5 times a week now, I'm proud to say he is fluent in both languages. As elvisb said, we all have different reasons.

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shelbur10 Posted 18 Jan 2007 , 1:49pm
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Both of my kids went to PreK (a preschool program held in our public schools) when they were 4. My oldest was very, very shy and it did wonders for her, she really needed that opportunity to get used to the classroom environment and learn more independence. Academically, both of my kids are rather advanced, so I was really more concerned about them learning the classroom routine. My youngest is in the program now, and I am regretting sending him. He is very social and is getting along well in the class, but he is bored and he says he hates school. He didn't need the social aspect like DD did, nor the academic, so now I'm afraid he is starting his school career with a bad taste in his mouth. I keep trying to work with his teacher to challenge him a little more, but she is not very cooperative.
I guess it just depends on each individual child, and like most other decisions we moms have to make, all you can do is judge your child's individual needs and ignore everyone else's opinions. NO ONE knows your children as well as you do, and no one else has the right to second guess your decisions.

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ckkerber Posted 19 Jan 2007 , 7:29am
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Originally Posted by cakemommy

I have to get him registered for Kindergarten as he'll start this Sept. I haven't the foggiest idea as to what to do to make that happen!!!!!!!

I as well attend a Mom's group, MOPS! Is that the group you attend? I also belong to a gym and go about three times a week.

My school district is preregistering for kindergarten at the beginning of Feb. so you might want to call your school and find out when they preregister. They usually do a kindergarten screening, too, a bit further down the road but you find out about that kind of stuff when you pre-register. That's pretty much all you need to do right now to get ready if your son will start in September. My school district offers either full or half day kindergarten so if yours does, too, and you want full day you need to look into that aspect sooner rather than later.

Isn't all of this so intimidating? These kids grow up way too fast. My hubby said an AWFUL thing to me the other day. I was talking about how our oldest will be 4 in April and how that makes him more of a preschooler than a toddler and that label alone all of a sudden makes him such a "big boy" (I had a hard time referring to him as a toddler, too - at his one year check up our doctor referred to him as such and I was totally blindsided by it as I didn't realize toddlerhood started at 1!) ANYWAY, my dear hubby's response to my fretting over how fast these years fly by was, "Do you realize that 20% of his time at home with you is already over?" ACK!!! That's an awful thing to tell a mom.

By the way, I belong to MOPS, too! Such a sanity saver, I have to say. I love having that time every couple of weeks that's all about mom's and our families and yet it's time JUST for me so I feel like I'm indulging if that makes sense. This is my second year in MOPS as I just found it last year.

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ckkerber Posted 19 Jan 2007 , 7:40am
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I just find that it's such a hard choice. I do feel like I'm making the right choice for my oldest . . . and there's a good chance that I'll send my youngest to preschool the year before kindergarten because as it is now, he's not nearly as verbal as my oldest and he definitely has issues communicating and being understood so he may benefit from classroom exposure at a younger age.

What really made me start questioning myself was a discussion I had with my sister yesterday. My niece and nephew are both 3 1/2 and are in preschool. She feels strongly that kids need at least a year of it to be "prepared" for classroom routines, etc . . . and I commented that I felt like that's what kindergarten is for - that you learn how to stand in line, how to raise your hand, how to do all of the routine stuff in the first months of kindergarten. She came back with the comment that that USED to be what kindergarten was for but now that everyone goes to preschool, my son would stand out as the one kid who wasn't "prepared". Having taught before staying home with the boys I am not bothered by that and still feel like he'll be okay if he spends the first month or two "adjusting" as long as his teacher knows that he hasn't had the same exposure, she should absolutely be able to guide him through that. BUT, it got me thinking about the whole 5-day a week thing and how hard of an adjustment THAT could be to go from being home with mom all day everyday to going to school five days a week. There's a definite benefit, I think, to "easing" into it by going to preschool a couple of days a week and I wonder how hard of a transition that could end up being.

I do feel like I know what's best for my child but I can't help but let it bother me when so many of my friends / family give me their two cents worth and all of them are on the same side of the fence. Why does motherhood involve so much self-doubt???

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koolaidstains Posted 19 Jan 2007 , 7:46am
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I have to LOL at this post a little. Apparently as a SAHM I was naive. I thought the whole point of being a SAHM was so that you didn't have to send your kids to preschool. But, when we lived in Houston I found out that almost everyone sent their kids to preschool. So here's what we did...

My first two kids are 15 months apart and when the oldest was over three and I was pregnant with #3 it was obvious that my oldest was bored at home. My #2 child was just two and we figured wasn't ready for preschool. We took in our oldest and she took to it right away. She's a social butterfly and really loved going and playing with friends. What really surprised us was that our #2 child got upset when we dropped #1 off. So we signed her up too and it turned out she loved it. Now #2 would talk to us at home and we knew she loved preschool, but she NEVER said a word at preschool. She cooperated and would nod yes or no, but NEVER said a single thing LOL. They were only in twice a week.

After that things got hectic with hubby's work and we moved around a bit. Our youngest #3 was in preschool for a short time when she was 18 months, but it was then that we moved around. When #1 started kindergarten we couldn't afford preschool, so nobody else was in preschool and we also had child #4 at that point. So hubby finally gets a new job with no travel and we move right before school starts. #1 is in first grade and #2 is in kindergarten. #2 did just fine in kindergarten even though she was very shy. We still couldn't afford preschool for #3, but figured we had time to teach her what she needed to know. So 2006 then was summer before #3 would be starting K and my other two in 2nd and 3rd. Now #3 is smart, but we knew she didn't know a lot of "school" stuff. I planned on spending the summer helping her learn those things. Well, my mom died unexpectedly and that just never happened. #3 started k behind while my other two are in excelerated classes (weird huh?). I admit I'm a little embarrassed because I know she's smart she just never learned certain things. But now, she tests at the same place as her classmates. As a matter of fact she was pretty much caught up after the first couple of months. Kids that age are sponges and absorb anything that is repeated a few times. #3 is shy too, but she does fine int he classroom and has friends and has no other issues.

#4 is in a one day a week preschool because I think he'd be bored at home without his sisters to play with. He LOVES it. He doesn't even look behind to say bye to me LOL. I wish we'd signed him up for two days a week. He's 3 and I really dont' care what he's learning, to me it's more about the chance to go out an dplay and do something different than be at home. I'm more worried about him than my girls. His birthday is Sept 1 and the cut off for entering K. So he could have one or two more years before K. We definately don't want our kids being bored. Both dh and I we "gifted" and both were bored in school. We are lucky to live in a great school district that is great for kids no matter what level they are at. In the classroom they do a great job of pulling out kids who both need a challenge or need extra help.

Phew - so I say, so what YOU want to do. Don't feel like you have to fit in to the "norm."

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kaychristensen Posted 19 Jan 2007 , 9:09am
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ok Here is my 2 cents. My oldest DS is 16. I had to work so he wa sin daycare early on. A very structured home daycare. They all lined up to go to the bathroom. They had a structured routine. But I still put him in preschool at age 4. He is a social kid but he had to be doing something all the time. Not that daycare wasn't providing it. But preschool had more to offer. More equipment (she was a home daycare) great with kids but not enough to do. And actually he needed it alot. He is a very hands on kid to this day. And DD I was a SAHM and did work from home. I think she is so articulate because I was on the phone all the time. And she would mimic me all the time. And she is very social also. But I put her in preschool to interact with other kids. She has goobs of cousins but that isn't the same as a school setting. And her teachers have said she is very helpful in class. She talks to the other kids and gets them to help pick things up. And she is a great help in her dance class as well. She helps to tell the other girls where they need to be if they get out of there line. She is not bossy. Just a teacher in early form.She wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up and I can truelly see it. I guess I strayed a little from the topic. But what I want to say preschool was Awesome for my kids. My sister didn't take her kids to preschool and they are behind in different things. My niece is behind with a learning disablity and my nephew is behind with not being around other kids and has problems handling that interaction. He has been around his cousins as well but not in the school setting. So I am pro preschool.

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springlakecake Posted 19 Jan 2007 , 1:23pm
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Since you feel that you can provide them with the educational tools and socialization at home, then I dont think it is absolutely necessary. I sent my oldest last year and he is in kindergarten this year. I am surprised at what the kindergarteners need to learn these days. It is much more advanced than when we were in school. They are reading some, giving reports in front of the class...! I mean he is taking to it just fine, but it is just more advanced. But I will say that the preschool my son was in was more geared around socialization, following the rules. Less academic than some of the other preschools around here. It was a good foundation for kindergarten.

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MariaLovesCakes Posted 19 Jan 2007 , 2:32pm
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I am at stay-at-home mom now but I wasn't with our first daughter. We sent her to preschool at age 3 1/2. She was more than ready. She was staying with grandma until then but it was time to get her out and get her to school. Grandma didn't and doesn't drive and really just kept her mom all day long and I just needed for my daughter to get with other kids and stuff.

My 2nd is with me, as I am staying home now, and will be going to preschool in the Fall. She turned 3 this past October so will be close to 4. but in her case, since she was born late in the year, she falls with the younger kids...

Like you said, sometimes I find myself justifying the fact that my kids were or are not at school yet, and it can be very annyoing. People always have their opinions and sometimes do try to tell you what age is the best. All kids are different and we know best.

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nickymom Posted 20 Jan 2007 , 2:58am
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I have 3 beautiful children and none of them went to pre-school...They all stayed home w/momma and I taught them their abc's, 1,2,3, colors, address etc. They played around other children their ages and they were just fine when they started K. You're their mommy & you know best!!

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Jorre Posted 21 Jan 2007 , 4:25pm
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I think it depends on the school and Kindergarten they will be attending.

My older one had 2 full years of Preschool because she desperately wanted to go. I started her at the local Kgarten and she was bored out of her mind. The other kids didn't know, colors, shapes, how to write letters etc...

I got an annoyed letter from the teacher, seems the kids were supposed to work on writing their first name. So she gave them paper and pencil, mine wrote her first, middle and last name 6 times, ran out of room on the paper and started gabbing. The other kids were STILL working on writing their first name ONCE.

So I petitioned and moved her to a magnet school. What a difference, she was now BEHIND the class since she wasted 2 months in the other school and they arranged an in-class parent tutor who caught her up rather quickly. The only reason they had room at the magnet school was they actually had to remove 4 kids from the class, they didn't attend preschool, didn't know the routines, how to interact socially or even the basic reading/writing skills the others already knew.

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mbelgard Posted 21 Jan 2007 , 5:44pm
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I have a second grader and a 4 year old who's a December baby and I won't do preschool.
If we lived in an area with a day or 2 a week for a couple hours I would have sent them but we live in a reservation area and the only thing they have is Head Start. The Head Start here is on a 9-2:30, four day a week schedule and I really don't think it's good for kids.
I get tons of comments about not sending them to Head Start, since they only need 51% of kids under the income EVERYONE sends their kids starting when they are 3 because they have so many kids under income. I'm not a teacher but my son started ahead of most of the kids, believe it or not even with the schedule they're on most of the kids don't even know their letters and the teachers consider themselves lucky if the kids know their colors and shapes at the start of kindergarten.

The terrible thing about the comments I get about not sending them is that my oldest is the best reader in the whole second grade and they have 6 classrooms of about 18 students each. I don't think it hurt him.
He doesn't really fit in with the other kids but that's most likely because of how advanced he is, he does get along with them but they bore him at times. He's into history, Greek mythology, science and won't touch books that the other kids are just starting to read.

I take my youngest to a story hour but there really isn't much else for him to do because hardly anyone keeps kids this age home with them and I'm just not ready to let him go for the hours of preschool.
I haven't taught him his letters yet (he does know some) or anything because I've had so many problems with the oldest I'd rather he start out behind than ahead, I really wish my oldest hadn't known them.

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Kiddiekakes Posted 21 Jan 2007 , 5:55pm
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I have a soon to be 6 yr old in Kindergarten and a soon to be 4 yr old in preschool this year.My son I enrolled in preschool when he was 3 1/2.I wanted him to be more social with other kids and learn about structure,behavior, so that when he did start kindergarten he wouldn't be one of those kids crying all the time for Mommy and clinging to the leg...and Yes....there was one of them at my son's school this year and he still is a cryin after 4 months of school.Sad really!! I feel bad for the little guy! It of course is a personal preference and I would never judge anyone who doesn't decide to place their children.The cost alone is quite expensive here...$110.00 a month for 2 mornings a week but our federal government gives a rebate cheque every month of $100.00 per child to every parent with children under the age of 6,so that helps!! It has helped my daughter tremendously as she is very shy.When I was a child there was no such thing as preschool and all our mother's did just fine!!

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Cakerer Posted 22 Jan 2007 , 3:52am
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My 3 yr old goes to pre K 3 full days a week. The mornings are 'learning' time but afternoons are basically daycare. PreK was good for my child b/c he is much better in a structured environment. He goes to my moms (she has an in home daycare) the other 2 days & can be difficult at times. Chances are, we wouldn't have enrolled him in prek if we didn't have a Christian school @ our church. It's not cheap but it's good for him. On the same note, since the beginning of the year - several children have withdrawn from his class b/c they weren't doing well. Each child and parent are different. Fact is, how many of us actually went to pre K? We turned out pretty good, didn't we?

Enjoy your little ones while you can...they grow up so quickly.

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moydear77 Posted 22 Jan 2007 , 4:09am
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Originally Posted by koolaidstains

I have to LOL at this post a little. Apparently as a SAHM I was naive. I thought the whole point of being a SAHM was so that you didn't have to send your kids to preschool. But, when we lived in Houston I found out that almost everyone sent their kids to preschool. So here's what we did...


Oh yes that is what they do !! My brother is there and it is quite common. Also there pre school days are very long.

I have not read every post but I chose preschool because I wanted her to be around other children. My daughter is in first and thrived in preK. She had a super great teacher too!

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kncab Posted 25 Jan 2007 , 12:16pm
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I am a SAHM and I have 3 children. 2 girls and 1 boy. They are 6, 3 and almost 1.

My first started preschool at the age of 3 and a half. She suffered seperation anxiety and I was worried that she would not cope when it came time to go to school. My second started pre school at the age of 2. I plan to send my son when he is 2 also.

I am a firm believer that all kids need at least one year of preschool for the independance to develop.

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Zmama Posted 25 Jan 2007 , 1:49pm
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I chose preschool for my oldest, BUT had reasons for it as I was having a difficult pregnancy with his sister. Timing-wise, it worked for us. Dd also started preschool at 3, but that was a choice because she wanted to "go to school like Bubby" and I decided to go back to school myself.

Honestly, I don't think they learn much there. It's more social time, getting away from Mommy, etc. Good if you need that time, but not necessary for most kids. OTOH, I know both of our nephews NEED preschool. The one in dd's class (opposite days, not together) has speech and behavior issues, which are what they are focusing on. The second one simply needs away from his mommy, and his mommy needs a break. He has a LOT of issues that could be better handled with structure. Since you can handle your children's learning and development, I see no reason they need it in that case.

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fat-sissy Posted 25 Jan 2007 , 1:52pm
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I have a 4 & 2 y/o. I have chosen NOT to send them to preschool. They are both advanced and I don't think they need preschool for the academics. They both attend Pioneer Club each week and attend Sunday school & church classes that are age appropriate, so I think they are getting the "socialization" they need. Too soon they will be going to school, so I have chosen to enjoy the precious little time I have with them by keeping them home. You know your kids best. Do what you think is best for each of your children and don't worry about what others may think. Next year I'll be sending my daughter to K. If my son has a desire to go to school, then perhaps I'll send him to preschool.

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heather2780 Posted 26 Jan 2007 , 2:24am
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I would like to send my 3 year old dd to preschool only because I feel like she is bored here at home while dad is at work and brother is at school and while I ofcourse do my best to entertain her and plan activities for her I still would like to have her in a more social setting unfortunatly where we live that is not an option there is only head start for the low income familys and pre k for kids with special needs and since we fall into nethier of those catogorys there are no preschools for her there are 2 day cares in town which claim to offer preschool programs but after doing my research I learned there not the kind of places you want to drop off your kids so for now I guess I will have to stick with teaching her at home adn keeping her in play groups maybe one day I will open a much needed preschool here.

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sweetness_221 Posted 26 Jan 2007 , 4:51am
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I have 3 children ages 7, almost 3, and 1. I sent my oldest DD to preschool when she was 2 due to me having to work at that time. I was a single mom and had no choice in the matter. Now that I am married and a SAHM I won't be sending my other 2 to preschool. The main reason is I can not afford to send them. That's the whole reason I'm a SAHM and not working outside of the home. I would be working to pay for them to go to preschool. It's not worth it, especially when I can teach them everything they would learn in there for free. When I was young I did not go to one and I turned out just fine. I think some parents think if you don't send your kids to preschool that you are not preparing them. That is so untrue. If you work with your kids then they will succeed. You have to be an active part in their education. As for the socialization aspect I can see that. I would like my 2 youngest to have the experience of being around more kids their own age, but I can't spend over $1000 a month just so they can.

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Dordee Posted 28 Jan 2007 , 4:09am
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I was very hesitant about sending my 4 yr old to preschool and only did so because I felt he needed social skills. Of course he didn't act like a chimp in public or anything like that but he had no clue as to how to share. Now I am so glad that I did because he LOVES preschool. He has lots of friends and looks so forward to going every morning. He knew his alphabet, numbers up to 15, how to write his name, shapes, etc. before he started preschool but like I said I felt he needed playmates and to learn to be social. He only has 2 cousins close to his age and they live in another town so we only see them once a week. They all are only children so all three of them have sharing problems so this cousins definately weren't any help in the sharing department. They have since gotten better since two of them (my son being on of them) have entered school. I was so proud last week when my son's teacher pulled me aside and told me she thought he would be reading by the end of the year.

I truly think mom knows best when it comes to her own kids. Some don't feel it's necessary and some do. I feel there's no set rules about sending your kids to preschool. I personally don't think kids will lag behind just because they don't go to preschool. I didn't and I think I turned out o.k.

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emi Posted 28 Jan 2007 , 9:32pm
post #25 of 26

I'm a SAHM as well. My daughter is now 3.5 years old. She knew the alphabet, colors, numbers and shapes way before she turned 2, and we wanted to keep her at home till she was at least 3. But when the terrible twos kicked in, we sent her to preschool, starting out with two days/wk and increasing it to 3 days/wk, 2.5 hrs each day. She LOVES it, and being the only kid, she LOVES being around other kids. The terrible twos are completely gone now, ( lasted 9 months ) but we'll continue with it because she enjoys it.

She's also taking a ballet class, a sports class, and will start an ice skating class next month, when the sports class ends. The skating class we wanted to wait till she was older, ( you know parents fear of seeing her falling on her head ) but she tried it out on a field trip with her preschool, loved it, and didn't want to live the ice arena. She cried.
The sports class is a tot/parent class and my husband wanted to do it with her on Sat. because he works during the week. They're both enjoying the class. Each class is 30 min. to 50 min. long, once a week, so we don't think it's too much for her. Most of the kids she sees in her preschool are also in the other classes as well. She's become quite popular and has formed a nice little group of friends that she has playdates on the other days of the week. Also, we the parents have become good friends as well.

Having her in preschool along with the other classes is very expensive, but to us it is worth it. She's happy and that's all that matters.

We think we'll skip summer camp this year. We might spend the summer in Europe, visiting my parents.


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munkey Posted 30 Jan 2007 , 4:04am
post #26 of 26

I am the oldest of my mom's 5 kids and I was the only one who didnt get to go to preschool. I'll admit that when everyone else started preschool I was a little jealous, because back then I LOVED school. However, Not going to preschool did not hurt me in any way. I did just fine in kindergarten because I had a good teacher.

One thing I will say though, that did help me alot before starting kindergarten, is my mom took my brother and I to daycare everyday and they took the time to try to teach us in fun ways, along with babysitting. They had little activity corners that had to do with math, art, sciene, etc. and it was optional to do. So I gained a habit of learning to kill time by learning. ha. I think that since you were a kindergarten teacher you already have an idea of the curriculum and everything and you'll know what your kids capabilities are and just how to nurture them so your kids will have no problems.

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