Do Kids Really Need Preschool?
Mike and Helen are trying to decide whether to enroll their youngest daughter Tracy in the local preschool. Because Helen works only a few hours a week, Mike feels that she should look after Tracy, at least until her formal schooling begins. Helen, however, is still unsure.
Supposing that you had been offered a preschool place for your child. Would you accept?
If you are a working mother then the opportunity has obvious advantages. But what if you are at home most of the time? The important question to ask yourself is: "Would preschool benefit my child?" The mother who says: "Thank God she's off my hands" is putting herself first.
It is important to remember that five-year-olds have reached the stage of insatiable curiosity and are ready to learn to mix with their peers.
If yours is an only child you should seriously consider sending him or her to preschool. Similarly if you live in an area where there are few houses and even fewer children, then preschool has the clear advantage of additional playmates.
In refusing the offer of a preschool place one mother said: "He doesn't like other children. He only quarrels with them. When he's by himself, he plays quietly." She was really saying: "I don't like children to make a noise."
It is not natural for a child to be anti-social. True, some children object strongly (and loudly) to being placed in school. But they will have to go sooner or later. Very often, a child's objection is no more than a nervous reaction to totally strange surroundings.
Preschool is designed to fill many needs.
Just being there means that your child learns from a new environment and makes new friends. Children also learn to share equipment and educational toys and to "wait their turn." The range and availability of equipment and resources far exceeds that of the average home and the children also learn to relate to other adults, mostly trained teachers who can guide without pushing their development.
All children learn from personal involvement. In fact this is the best kind of learning experience. However, not all mothers are keen to have their children attend. As one young mother put it: "I have a lot of time on my hands and want to share it with Bobby while he's little."
A young child needs to develop both emotionally and mentally. If there is plenty of warmth, love, interest and involvement with parents, a child's emotional growth is assured. In this relaxed environment a child will be happy, self-assured and confident.
To foster their mental growth, children also need to experience new and intriguing situations.