Saturday, November 20, 2010

Speaking of Quality Time

Let's see, first I complained about not having enough money, but then said that I'd rather have no money and more time home with Eleanor. And now I'm going to somewhat modify that statement, because I'm in a bit of a quandary: we can't decide what to do about preschool.

I can't believe the time has already come to think seriously about this. But she'll turn 3 in July, and local preschools are having their Open Houses now (we missed one last weekend) for kids who will start as 3-year-olds next fall. Registration opens in January/February. I always knew this would be a tough decision for me, but has it really arrived already?!?

Some of you more experienced parents (or aunts/uncles/etc) might think I'm making too big a deal out of this. Let me explain why I feel it's a dilemma, and then you all can tell me what to do.
  1. I didn't go to preschool. My mom argued that we had to be on a set schedule for the rest of our lives, so why not enjoy our freedom for the 4 short years we have before kindergarten? There's a lot I like about this philosophy. I feel like I can teach Eleanor a lot that she could learn in preschool, so I'm not entirely convinced that she would be behind for kindergarten.
  2. Many people argue for the "socialization" aspect of preschool. On the one hand, Eleanor plays with her cousin Gavin twice a week, every week (during the school semester). She lives on a street with at least 10 other children under the age of 4. We have many playdates; I know that she's learning how to play with other kinds. But on the other hand, she's not learning to play with them in a school environment, where she has a teacher and doesn't have a parent there with her. Is this something she needs to learn now?
  3. On the other other hand, I'm sometimes wary of what socialization she will learn. Will she learn that girls should be quiet? Will she learn about how to deal with a bully? Or that teachers don't always listen to children? These are aspects of our society I'm in no hurry for her to learn.

  4. I have no idea how much it costs. Again with the finances! But it is a consideration. What if I end up working Mon/Wed and she's scheduled for preschool on Tue/Thurs? That would mean missing even more time with her AND paying separately for childcare and preschool.

I am considering the compromise of possibly sending her to preschool at age 4. But unfortunately, we found out that our local kindergarten (maybe most, these days?) is a 5 full day program. So I don't feel like we can go from zero school days to a full week of long days, with no transition time.

Any advice?


cat said...

My sister did preschool at age 4 with Mad, and she's planning the same with Lil M. Like E, both learned the basics at home and play with other kids, so she didn't find the expense necessary at age 3. Look into the different levels of preschool available. They had an "age 4" option and a "pre-K" option. She learned with Mad that the "age 4" option was colors, shapes, alphabet, etc. which she already knew and was kind of bored in preschool. So with Lil M she's going with the "pre-K" option, where they focus more on reading readiness and simple math skills. Hope that helps a little?

M. Lubbers said...

That is very helpful. Even just to know that Eleanor wouldn't be the ONLY kid joining at age 4, and that she wouldn't be behind.

Thanks for the info!