Monday, January 14, 2008

Is pre school at age 3 necessary?

I am on the look out for preschools for KB now (he is 29m now). The one good Montessori I like has a super long wait list. May get an afternoon slot in Sep 08 (KB turns three on Aug.3). I was thinking of getting him in some preschool when he is around 2.5yrs old. Mainly because I want him to get an opportunity to meet other kids and socialize and generally know what it means to do things at set times and the concept of "teacher" and so on.

The good schools are too expensive - anywhere from $550 to $670 per month just for three half days! I don't know what the chains charge - Mulberry kids type places - I don't think they are too much cheaper. I was told by several people to avoid these chains only because they have higher turn over of teachers and they shift students from class to class more often and kids tend to fall sick more. It seems incredible to spend that kind of money for your kid to just go and socialize (I mean this only for age 3). But I don't have too much choice - I don't have time to take KB out on play dates - the schedule just doesn't work out easily. I have to go in that tiny window of time when both kids are fed and have taken their naps and it has to be before baby girl's sleep time in the evening since she naps in the evening also. B comes home only around 8.00pm plus on most evenings. It is easier for me to drive the kids to some local shop or take them for a walk in the stroller than plan a play date with someone - just because I don't know exactly when I can make it.

My friend here says it is a waste of time to put them in preschool at age 3. In her experience, her child did not benefit at all that one year. She regrets having woken her up early in the morning to rush her to school and drag her second child for the drop off pick up. She says I would be better of waiting till KB is four - so he can have a relaxed life until then - wake up late and eat more peacefully/slowly. KB wakes up by 7.00 am anyway - so that may not be an issue. But the thought of rushing his meals and also dragging baby girl along just for the car ride is not appealing.

I cannot take KB to mommy and me classes now because I can't leave baby girl alone while I participate in the class (required). School is the only option.
All these thoughts going in a loop in my head. Is it worth it or not? Or is it best I put my effort into meeting with a couple of friends twice a week and just having KB play with his little sister rest of the time...take them to the library etc more often? Just for one more year. Money saved and less chance of falling sick most importantly. Even as I write this, I know I will be very nervous wondering if I am doing the right thing if I kept him home till he turned 4.

Just sharing my confusion with you - hopefully some of you will comment and tell me your perspective in this matter!

38 comments:

Moppet's Mom said...

Have emailed you - the comment got way too long! :-)

Tharini said...

No its not necessary Noonie. Not at all. It all depends on what you are looking to get out of it, I suppose. I started Ahil off at 2.5 because I went back to work part-time plus he's a shy guy and I felt he could use some extra interaction, just as you also said.

Do you not have any preschools in your area run by the public school system?? It would be more cost effective. Plus, I think a little way to expend his energies and channel his attentions would be good. It would get hard to keep him busy at home all day. (Of course you know better how you can handle that bit.)

Plus, mealtimes may get a bit more efficient once some routine is in place. Plus by Aug 2008, Baby girl will be a year plus, which means she may be ready to forgo her morning nap. Either way, she will adjust to the routine.

I would lean towards sending him to school part-time.

DotMom said...

I am absolutely pro-school. Chip started school when he was 2. He initially started part time 3 days a week. But he wasn't getting much out of it. I switched to 5 days a week part time and it was much better. Then my mom left and he started school/daycare full day M-F. And I can't even begin to tell you the difference. He has blossomed. They learn so much. Not only in terms of school stuff but life skills as well. Sharing and manners and cleaning up and looking after yourself. Chip's school charges $230/wk. When Chip went part time they charged $120/wk. even if KB does go part time make sure he goes everyday. 3 days a week are a waste because kids need some routine and the gaps just confuse them.

I will not write off chains. Different schools in the same chain can be very very differnt. Visit schools and meet the director, talk to parents and look up reveiws online. The school Chip goes to is not very expensive and I almost enrolled him in a fancy school at $375/wk. I later learnt the fancy school wasn't any better than the one Chip is currently going to. This school was recommended by a neighbor and a good friend and we have been very happy with it. So, go out there and visit every school within driving distance.

Sorry for the long comment.

RJ said...

In my area, the preschools run by churches charge around $2000 per year for 2 days a week.

How about hiring some help at home(mornings on which KB has to goto school) for your little one. So you don't have to disturb her routine. I know this might get expensive too.
Good luck and keep us posted.

Aryan said...

I don't what to say.. I am confused myself about putting Aryan in preschool/daycare...ahha, just waiting to read some comments to know about the right age for schooling..
Aryan's mom

Thinking aloud said...

at age 3, school is not necessary..it all depends on teh reason you want him outof teh home for..to build up on social skills...i think going to a park and trying to interact with other kids could get teh same effcet...enrolling for some organised activity (story telling) too cud get some results...

in any case from now on its going to be a life full of "Go,Go,Go", let them have fun at their own pace...

I think a lot depends on the kid...my kid wanted to go ...so i chose to put him...after age 3...

noon said...

Thanks every one for your insightful comments. I was leaning towards putting him in preschool anyway but I wanted to see if there were others too who thought it may be a waste of money and time...so far no! :)
Will just have to see which school will work out finally...

Poppins said...

Don't really have any wise words of wisdom to share, but on principle I agree with what Tharini says. I think if you decided to go for the preschool, KG will adjust accordingly. You've yourself said before how kids rise to the occasion.

I think if you chose not to send KB, then you'd probably kill yourself over the guilt:)

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

I was going to comment pro-school... but read your comments and I am glad you have decided to send KB to school. It is definitely beneficial.
Good luck in your school hunt!

And now, be prepared for the art work, crafts display etc, KB is going to show you !!

M said...

Noon,

read your blog a few times, commenting first time. I have two kids ages 7 and 5 and am in US as well.

In our area of the US, we have public pre-schools - there aren't many, so getting a place in them is kinda tough, but it is way cheaper than pvt schools.

My kids went to montessori from the time they were two years old and loved it...they learned so much and really had fun there. Play dates are too hard to schedule for us (both of us work full-time) but school filled their need for friends.

I think 3 is a good age to start school/discipline of any kind, so would recommend school for sure.

Good luck finding one that meets your needs.

M

Sumana said...

I do not want to confuse you noon. But school really helps. Try putting him in a half day for 2 days per week. So that you would not need to rush your little one for drop off and pick up. My daughter goes to a montessori school, dire need since we both are in full time jobs, but i would still stress on the school. She started when she was 22 months and then a break and then when she was 2.2. First few days were tough, but later she got potty trained at school and then eating habits are changing. Will help you in the long run. But look for hygiene in the schools. The earlier school tiny was going to, she would fall sick often.

Sumana said...

Also her level of interaction increased.

Preethi said...

Hey... I have been missing so many posts lately.. So the delay...
I love pre-school.. your friend is right.. they learn nothing there... and if academics is what you are looking for Montessori is the way to go (btw, I am looking at Montessori for Nantu next year).. but Pre-school can be a fun learning experience as far as social skills are concerned.. I will make a post on this soon.. Nantu has had a really positive experience.. also considering that KB doesn't get to spend much time with kids his age.. I would vote Yes for Pre school..

noon said...

Thanks to all of you for responding...I do plan to put him in preschool for sure - just don't know if I can get him in at 2.5 yr old or when he is 3...depends on the wait list time...

the mad momma said...

I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent. I dont think kids need to go to school if its not necessary. the brat enjoys school, but i think its a waste of money - its very expensive once we factor in travel and meals.

that apart, its not like learning the very same things a year later will slow them down in any way.

i think there is a certain security in the memories you build early.

BUT you and I both have two little younger ones and its tiring.. so if anything, I would send him just for the break that it would give you. put her to sleep, him to school and have a peaceful bath! that is how i end up looking at it :)

all the best with whatever you choose. money does play a big role in the choice, i know.

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