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S/O: Is it the cultural norm to send kids to preschool at two and three now?


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I think so.

 

My children are 3.5yo and 2yo next month. Since before my oldest's 2nd birthday we get asked just about every time we're in public why she's not in school. I'm not exaggerating. I used to just reply with, "She's only two!!" But now sometimes I'll let people know we homeschool.

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Yes, it is. I hear so many parents saying that they have to find a good preschool because their little darling is turning 3.

 

Of course, if I am feeling snarky I reply with, "Really? You HAVE to? Why?" Normally I don't feel like getting into it so I just smile and say, "Good luck."

 

Dawn

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I don't know if it's the norm, but I sent mine to Montessori starting at 2 and they loved it. It was a very positive experience for us.

BTW, our ps was 2 mornings a week for 2 year olds, 3 mornings for 3 year olds, and 5 mornings for 4-5 year olds. It was perfect for us.

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Yup. In addition to "More at 4" many public schools have a 3 year old program with some kind of similar name that evades me at the moment.

 

What really rubs me wrong is the number comments I get about being able to teach my 3yo. :huh: Umm..yes I do believe I am completely qualified to teach preschool skills. Nevermind that my 3yo is past the preschool skills and working on kindergarten level materials. :lol:

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I have a (former) friend that sent her children to preschool at 18 months, which is the earliest many places around here will take them.

She was a former preschool teacher and really felt that all children needed the social interaction and early education that preschool offered.

We are former friends because I don't agree with her. We tried to retain our friendship, but she was extremely pushy and outspoken about my child "needing" preschool. (Which is interesting because he is very social and was reading before age 4 - her kids? :tongue_smilie:) She could never accept that I wouldn't put DS into preschool, then when we decided to homeschool - it just drove a major wedge between us.

 

I can see possibly putting a child in preschool if Mom needed a break or if there wasn't other options for meeting families with young children. Otherwise, I don't get it.

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Sadly, yes -- it's now the norm. I was getting questions about it when my oldest was on the older-side of 2 about what our plans were when he was 3. Lots of people working in stores would ask him if he was "in school" at 3. And I agree with the post that spurred the spin-off that it's essentially glorified day-care at that age.

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My 4yo is going to half day public preschool. I think it has been great for him although academically he has learned very little. They spend a week on each letter if they get around to it and he already knows all of them. I am actually glad they don't push it.

 

Personally, I would not have put my 3yo on the bus with all the other kids although there are many 3yos in his class. I sent him because I knew ds would enjoy it a lot more than trying to be quiet here while we crank through our core subjects.

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I know I'm kind of out of the loop on social norms these days, but I don't remember many 2 and 3yo's going to "preschool" when ds#1 was that age unless you count it when used as code for daycare.

 

Ds did spend some time in a child care facility when he was 2 and 3, but only because I was working. I consider that daycare. He did half a year in what I actually DO consider preschool when he was 4.

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Well, I honestly don't see that much difference between "preschool" and "day care" and I think society has sold to parents that both are great. I think it's also been sold that younger and younger is fine and even preferable (you know, so kids don't get "behind"). Both preschool and daycare advertise that they prepare kids for K, teach skills like social things and colors/numbers/etc., read books to kids, etc. The only difference I see is that "preschool" is for a few days a week while "day care" is for all day every day. I don't see the difference other than semantics. So yes, lots of people send their kids to preschool at 2 and 3. I think a lot of times it's for moms who need or want breaks and it gets rationalized that it's "good" for the kids to be in such an "educational" setting and "getting ready" for K. I can understand needing a short break from being with littles all day - but it angers me that many moms have been sold the lie that they aren't capable of providing all their 2 - 4 years olds need in order for their kids to be ready for K so they should subcontract their kids out. It just makes me sad to think of all the moms being bullied into "preschool" or other programs for the "good" of their kids - especially as the acceptable ages for these programs get lower and lower.

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We don't have anything for 2yos. It's normally 3 *and* potty trained.

 

I didn't send my first two kids to preschool. I thought it was just glorified babysitting, and there was no way I was going to let anyone else do my job. They would have hated it. I'm sure I did the right thing keeping them home with me all the time.

 

Child number three, though, is a totally different child. She needs more interaction than I can provide. She needs stimulation. She needs conversation. She needs to be learning all the time. If she were my only, and I didn't have two older kids at home who need to learn stuff too, I'd have a blast teaching her, doing crafts with her, and talking to her, and playing with her all the time. I can't realistically do that, so the little Christian preschool down the road is a wonderful option. It's perfect for us, and especially for her. She gets to do all the crafts I never have time to do at home. She gets to play with her friends three mornings a week. She's learning that she's not the center of the universe (sharing, taking turns, not being bossy, etc). She can almost count to 100 (I didn't teach her that). Of course, it's not perfect. She is reading (scat and fish) at home, while they're teaching her ABCs at school. But, that's not a big deal. The added bonus is that we get 9 hours a week at home, without interruption, in which to do our school week.

 

I'll bring her home for kindergarten next year. I'd be incensed if preschool were mandated for all children. But, for this child at this time, it has been a great experience.

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It is here..many grandparents need a break from watching the little ones, so the parents vie for preK slots at the public school as it comes with free transportation. If they lose out, they send the children to preschool if they can arrange the transportation.

 

We have Dec public school age cut-off, so a toilet trained 2.5 year old would be in the preschool 3's program and a 3.5 year old would be in the 4's or p.s. preK program.

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Well, I think children can learn in preschools, and IMO, some are better than others. While my husband was getting his PhD at U of Chicago, I'd drop my two eldest off at the Museum of Science's daycare -- which was free! -- and I think it had a tremendous effect. They'd spend several hours with young adults doing all kinds of experiments, reading, building, etc. Often, they were the only two children there since few people knew about it. They're in their 20s now and went to top colleges with full-ride scholarships in science fields. Other than read to them, I did very little. Methinks daycare (and their schools) were a good experience for them.

 

I do agree that parents can do the same thing, though. Preschool isn't a necessity by any means.

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My older son started "preschool" (which was really daycare) at 21 months for 3 hours 3 mornings per week. My younger son started preschool (which was really preschool) at age 2.75 for 3 hours 5 mornings per week. It was the right decision for us for various reasons.

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I'd love to have preschool forever. My son would love to have a "playdate" 2 times a week with local kids. Just 2.5 hours T/TH for his school life would be perfect. That's kinda how I see him doing school when he's older... at the local Highschool or whatever... Just enough to like it... and still have all his learning time at home:-)

 

Carrie:-)

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When I was working, two of mine did go to preschool (which I used as day care since I was working) at ages 3 & 4. It was part time (2 mornings a week for one, 3 for the other)and they enjoyed it.

 

Around here age 3 for a little part time program, 3 mornings a week or so is very common. Most of these are in churches and synagogues.

 

I think school and preschool are very different animals.

 

In MA, preschool isn't mandated at any age.

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I sent my son to preschool at 2 1/5 --it was called "mother's day out" and it was twice a week in the morning. when he turned 3 he went three days a week, and we both loved it. he was a very demanding, high-need kid, and he was my only one, which translated into the "all-mommy network". i found myself unable to meet his needs for play and interaction, and the pre-school was just the ticket.

 

when our second came along, she had her brother, and he was at the age of starting school, so she has always just plunked along with him and has never had a need for anything like pre- or play school.

 

parents who think they need to send their kid to preschool to get a jump start on school are (IMO) buying the socialist line, but those who send their kids to get a little bit of housework done--i get that. :001_smile:

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I can't possibly imagine sending my 2 or 3yr old's to preschool. I taught preschool before starting my career and before kids. I don't see much to any benefit to learning how to defend yourself, bite, hit, and deal with bullies at such a young age. :) But that is just me.

 

I will say, however, that there might be reason for more to go than I can imagine. I taught my little guys just in the natural course of days. By 3 they have all known their letters, numbers, colors, shapes, letter sounds, etc. A friend of mine decided a few years ago to go back to school and turn her business degree into a master's in early education. This year is her first year teaching and it's a kindergarten class. Her class of 18 has several that don't know a letter from a number or even their basic colors, much less a single shape.

 

One mother even disagreed with her and didn't see any good reason to work with her child to learn her letters. After all, there's no point in knowing such things before 1st grade. What?? I don't even see how you can have a child with you for 5 years without learning those things. Mine always want to know. If she wasn't going to do anything with her child, I see the benefit if she had had some preschool. Her child is at a big disadvantage.

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Hmm, you know, some of us here actually have children in preschool. A few of the posts in this thread might be thought of as kind of hurtful and judgmental. Just sayin'...

 

:iagree: I didn't send mine to preschool, but if others want to who am I to judge? I used to teach in a preschool (started at age 3 and they were all potty trained) and I know we did teach them some things (lots of fine motor control activities and language skills) and gave the moms a break. I'm sure the moms could have taught them those same things, but whatever. Our preschool had the option of just bringing the children during "instructional" time - from about 9-12 each day. I only felt bad for the ones who were there from 6am to 6pm - very sad. The thing I don't understand is society's acceptance of the idea that children need to be in preschool - especially 2 year olds. If mom wants to enroll them, fine, but I don't think they need to be there.

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My son attended a co-op nursery school when he was 3 and 4, and it was a wonderful experience for him. And a far cry from "day care."

 

Being a co-op, my wife was highly involved (me too, to a far-lesser extent). It was probably more "work" than keeping him home, but he had a rich experience. It was a "developmental" rather than "academic" pre-school (which doesn't mean they didn't learn anything) and their days were full of interesting and enjoyable activities.

 

And he made many friends (ones he's retained) and we built a network of parents who continue to look out for one another.

 

So our experience was highly (highly) positive.

 

Bill

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Well, I honestly don't see that much difference between "preschool" and "day care" and I think society has sold to parents that both are great.

 

I think there is a huge difference between all-day, every day, daycare and a 2-3 hr 2-3x/wk preschool. I would never send my kids to the former because it's warehousing children. I did send both of mine to the latter. Both of my kids loved preschool, and learned a lot of academic and social stuff.

 

I sent my oldest so I could have a break, I sent my youngest so I could homeschool my oldest.

 

I went to Nursery School myself 44 years ago or so, and I LOVED it. Turns out the teacher thought I was retarded though... :glare:

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OMG Pico. I don't mean to laugh. I know it's wrong. :lol: I loved preschool. Of course, I also adored Kindergarten. What can I say? I was also in love with my 6th grade teacher. lol

 

What the heck am I doing hsing? :tongue_smilie:

 

I think there is a huge difference between all-day, every day, daycare and a 2-3 hr 2-3x/wk preschool. I would never send my kids to the former because it's warehousing children. I did send both of mine to the latter. Both of my kids loved preschool, and learned a lot of academic and social stuff.

 

I sent my oldest so I could have a break, I sent my youngest so I could homeschool my oldest.

 

I went to Nursery School myself 44 years ago or so, and I LOVED it. Turns out the teacher thought I was retarded though... :glare:

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This blows me away. Even if I didn't homeschool, my kids certainly wouldn't be going until they were legally mandated to do so.

 

Yes. It seemed like everyone was asking my then-three-year-old, "What grade are you in?" this summer. I taught him to say, "I'm only three," but many if not most people responded, "So you're in preschool! That's a grade, just like the big kids, honey!" I don't remember having this problem with my older children.

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I sent my oldest to a co-op preschool at 18 months. It was great for him. I got very burned out working there though. I did need a break, having absolutely NO family or other support at that time and also being up all night with him still. And it really didn't mean I didn't love him or want to be with him, but toddlers are hard, OK? He went to a different preschool at 2.5, and as I had horrible morning sickness at that time it was the best. Otherwise he was home pushing video after video into the machine while I tried not to vomit.

 

My younger son started at 2.5 at that same school at the same time as I kept my older son home instead of starting homeschooling. This year is his third at the school, and our family has been there six years. He had a bit of a speech delay and some behavior issues that the teachers there have worked hard on and this year he is doing so wonderfully. The school has three teachers for a class of 25, plus lots of subs who are in and out for breaks all the time and on the yard, and his teacher has been like a personal coach in sharing and getting along with other kids (not pushing and hitting them!)

 

Of course, I don't consider any of it necessary for educational stuff - he learned his letters and numbers at home, thank you very much. But it has been a great way for me to have some time with his older brother to do school, great way to have lots of instant friends and a lot of outside activity.

 

My ONLY regret about going the preschool route is financial. If I knew then what I knew now I might decide against it. We live in the Bay Area and if I told you what I paid for preschool each month you would think I was insane. And ds4 only goes 4 days a week from 9 to 12:30. When my oldest started preschool we had no thought of homeschooling and I thought the early school exposure would be good.

 

Another point is that it is a lot easier to be home all day with 5 year olds than 2 year olds. And I had major ppd with my second child that it was probably better to have my older one at school part of the day.

 

Bottom line, no obviously kids can grow up to be functioning adults without preschool, but it can be good for a family and usually won't hurt anything so I'm glad there are choices there. I am also excited for my ds to graduate and come home with us!

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I think there is a huge difference between all-day, every day, daycare and a 2-3 hr 2-3x/wk preschool.

 

:iagree:Dd3 goes to preschool two mornings a week for 2.5 hours. She LOVES it. They listen to a story, play with lots of fun toys, play outdoors on the playground, do a messy art and craft, sing songs, have a snack, play some more, and then I pick her up. It is a great little school and I had to wait in line at 6am one summer morning to get her a spot in the class because the teachers are so popular.

 

I love that preschool gives her something to look forward to that is her special activity. She always has a great time and if she didn't enjoy it I would not hesitate to keep her home. The class is for her benefit, not mine. :001_smile:

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Which might be nice for those parents don't do art because they hate the mess of art. Glitter, glue and paint for the kiddies and you don't have to clean it up. Weeee! Can I send my 10 and 17 yr olds? Think anyone would notice? They are, um tall for their age. I could warn the staff, "Please don't say anything, they are very sensitive about their height".

 

Currently I have Prismacolor pencil shavings all over the dining room table, so you can feel my pain.

 

3 and potty-trained is the norm here. I think there is pressure to move your child on to the next stage, which I wish I'd resisted more, but some of them are very fun and do give some built-in playdates, crafts etc.
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I did put my first dd into a "preschool" at age 2 years and 3 months. It was really just a 2 morning a week two hour organized play group AT a preschool. She was the kind of personality that needed it, as being an only child at that point. She really thrived.

 

At age three and a half I tried ds in preschool becuase he speech therapist pressured me tow, and he hated it. Started withdrawing at home it was so bad. We pulled him pretty quickly.

 

W/ my second dd I don't plan on even trying. She has playmates at home now.

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Glitter, glue and paint for the kiddies and you don't have to clean it up.

 

 

I have to confess I "donated" some of our messier supplies to preK (I also donated some good stuff, and I think they were genuinely happy with the paint and craft supplies I gave them). I can't imagine what I was thinking with glitter here! I can't seem to clean up normal messes quickly enough.

 

I have to say preK and K were so much fun I loved volunteering there. Once the kids are grown I plan to go back to volunteering there to get my fill of little ones.

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I have to confess I "donated" some of our messier supplies to preK (I also donated some good stuff, and I think they were genuinely happy with the paint and craft supplies I gave them). I can't imagine what I was thinking with glitter here! I can't seem to clean up normal messes quickly enough.

 

I have to say preK and K were so much fun I loved volunteering there. Once the kids are grown I plan to go back to volunteering there to get my fill of little ones.

 

There is a lovely little Reggio-inspired preschool near us. I often think about how nice it would be to work there. The building is sweet, with a school garden, big old trees, nice people...really great 'tone'. It's parttime and the children seem so relaxed and content. I think my youngest would have enjoyed it. It's just so $$.

Edited by LibraryLover
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I can only speak for my family but ds3 is in preschool 2 days a week. He loves it, and we love it. He is a very active and busy boy and preschool has been a blessing for all of us. He has a blast in a safe environment and we use the days that he is away to get tons of our school done. His preschool is at our church and I intimately know the wonderful women who are caring for him. Is it perfect? No. Do I think that what I provide for him at home is perfect either? No. I don't think I personally would be comfortable having him in a public school setting but I realize that paying for preschool is not an option for some families.

 

And I completely agree that 2 or 3 day a week preschool in a church setting is a very far cry from daycare.

Edited by Jennefer@SSA
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The church across the street from our house has a preschool. The requirements are 3yo and potty trained.

 

The 3yo class is two hours, two days a week (Tues/Thurs). There is morning class and an afternoon class (different students).

 

The 4yo class is two hours, three days a week (Mon/Wed/Fri). There is also a morning and afternoon class.

 

Their academic program is excellent and the kids learn a lot. They read stories, sing songs, do finger-plays, crafts, weather/calender, go on field trips, etc. Their goal is to have the kids academically ready for ps K when they are 5yo.

 

However, the academics are not their main goal, interestingly enough. The main reason preschools exist, according to the director and teachers that I have talked with, is to indoctrinate the children into the mindset and behaviors expected in the public school setting. Because the children have to learn that they are not the center of the universe. They need to learn that their mother/father/grandparents will not always be there for them. They need to learn that they are not more important than any other child in the class. They need to learn that an adult will not always be there to take care of their needs, whether emotional or physical, because adults are often busy with other children. They need to learn to shut up and sit down. And follow all directions the adults in charge give them without questions. They need to learn they are not special.

 

And, I was told, since these are not normal or natural expectations, they need to be taught, and preferably over a period of several years (hence preschool). The K teachers expect the children coming into K to have all of these mindsets and behaviors down-pat. That is the mark of a "good" preschool, says my K teacher acquaintances.

 

So, there you have it directly from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And, I suppose that if one wants to send their dc to the ps, these would be important lessons to have your dc learn. Well.

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Yes, it is. I hear so many parents saying that they have to find a good preschool because their little darling is turning 3.

 

 

Yup, and if you want to ship off the kiddos, to a loving caring environment like Grandmas, go for it. However, it seems so sad that there is a whole bunch of people out there who think that they must send off the kiddos to a formal preschool, at 3-5....

 

I know folks where the mom wants to homeschool for preschool but the dad keeps saying that they have to go to "real" school at 4-5!!

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And, I suppose that if one wants to send their dc to the ps, these would be important lessons to have your dc learn. Well.

 

I was thinking along the same lines. If I believed PS was the best place for my child, I would hate to put a kid directly into full-day K or 1st with no lead-in to that experience. So in that sense, yes, I think preschool has its place. Better to learn those lessons in a gentle environment than the hard way!

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I was thinking along the same lines. If I believed PS was the best place for my child, I would hate to put a kid directly into full-day K or 1st with no lead-in to that experience. So in that sense, yes, I think preschool has its place. Better to learn those lessons in a gentle environment than the hard way!

 

My niece found that out this year, when she put her 6yo into ps K. The child had not been to preschool ever (niece homeschooled preK), and she had the hardest time at K. For three months! She came home crying and with notes from the teacher every day saying she had behaved inappropriately. And the teacher would shame her in class by putting a black circle my her name. (punishment)

 

She had no problems with the academics at all. It was the expected behavior and mindset. The child had no.clue.

 

It was very sad to see, and my niece and nephew had no idea how to help her. It would have been less traumatic to learn in preschool where their goal is to teach you these behaviors, than to land in an environment where they are expected and to be punished and shamed in front of the class for not knowing them.

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When my sister put her son in daycare at 10 weeks old so she could go back to work, she called it "school." Everyone I know whose kid is in daycare calls it "school." I think that's how pervasive the idea that our kids need early academic training is ... people can't admit that their kids are "just" in daycare all day long, so they dress it up as "school" so they feel like their kids are getting some benefit from it. My sister was horrified that I didn't do homeschool kindergarten with my now-seven year old. After all, her son had already been in "school" for four years by then!

 

Two year olds going off to "school" with tiny little backpacks just makes me sad. Let's indoctrinate them as early as possible ...

 

Tara

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I went to preschool when I was 3.... and I'm in my mid-40s. I sent mine to a once a week program when they were 2, twice a week when 3, and 3x/week when 4. No regrets, it was great for them. They went to developmentally appropriate programs that emphasized hands on learning, and basic social skills. Would they have been fine without? Sure but the friendships they made then were good for them, and the biggest bonus for me was getting to know other parents of little ones as a few of their classmates parents became my friends. When my youngest was 5, I started teaching preschool. Loved it, and would still be doing it if I hadn't pulled my kids out of public school in 7th & 10th grades.

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Here, 2 is the norm. It seems like moms get pregnant right around then and want to ship off the older one to have time to prepare for or spend with the new baby.

 

I taught 2 yo preschool for two years, if you could call what I did teaching. The moms always wanted it to be very academic, but in a room full of 12-13 little ones, all I could muster was regular feedings, diapering, some songs and an occasional craft. I didn't have a problem with it as long as the child wasn't overly resistant to it, but it felt a little dishonest to really call what we were doing school. And I sent the little ones who cried all day home and told their moms that they weren't ready for it. That didn't go over very well, but honestly, some kids are not ready for a group environment at that age. Of course, now, I don't see a group environment as necessary at any age ... :)

 

Several of my homeschool friends send their little ones to preschool now to have more time to school their older ones. I haven't done that, but it seems to work well for their purposes.

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I do think it is becoming more and more anticipated that a parent should put their child into a preschool environment earlier and earlier. It does relieve guilt from parents that have no other option b/c of working other than daycare and preschool at least sounds like it is doing more for the child than daycare.

I put my girls in at 3 years old and would have had my son in at 2.75 yrs old, but he totally wasn't ready for it. My girls had a pretty good time and learned a lot. They did learn both good and bad things though as comes with school. They went to a private school.

My son did not do well and they tried to tell me he was delayed and then we went through several insinuations that he had some form of autism...well, he is 7 now and it turns out he was just a little boy who wasn't ready for school.

He went to Montessori day school at 4.75 and it was a much better experience than my girls experience in a more "school" setting. If I could go back, I would want those precious years back with my girls. I put my oldest in at 3 on the advise of our pediatrician. He really pushed it b/c I had 3 kids under 3.

All this to say, I think preschool can be great for some and not so great for others. I do think it is becoming a social norm for kids to go at younger and younger ages and new parents will follow the lead of what they feel is best for their children especially if the questions start at 1 and 2 years old of what preschool they are going to send their child.

Thirty years ago, it was unheard of to send your kid to a public preschool as the norm unless you lived in an urban, underprivileged area. Fifty years ago, you didn't start school until first grade and at least six to seven years old. Today, it is becoming more and more the norm and socially accepted for a 2 or 3 year old to be at a preschool type setting. It will seem odd to this generation when they hear tales of grandparents who didn't start school until kindergarten just as it seemed odd to me that my parents didn't have to go to kindergarten and started in first grade.

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