At our Parents as Teachers session last week, Miss Melanie asked whether we were going to enroll Audrey in the “Minds in Motion” program through our school district. It’s 1 or 2 mornings a week for those kids that are born after the 3 year old preschool cut-off of August 1st. Since Audrey was born on August 6th, she’ll always be the oldest in her class – essentially a year older than her classmates. Anyway, it got me thinking about what we should do for preschool. I don’t know if it’s this way everywhere, but in this area it’s just assumed that you’ll send your child to preschool. In fact last night was the registration night for the fall. Parents line up to register their child 6 months in advance just to be sure to get a spot.
My first reaction was to sign her up. After all, she’s very bright and loves learning and she would benefit from the social aspect of it, right?!? Then I started researching some things and changed my mind. First of all, if she did Minds in Motion and then did 3 and 4-year-old preschool, that would be 3 years of preschool before she’s even in kindergarten. She has years and years of school ahead of her, why not just let her enjoy being home while she can?
Also, there’s research and schools of thought (specifically, waldorf-based education) that says that too much academic focus in the toddler/preschool years can actually inhibit creativity and cause kids to lose interest in learning in the long run. See the following links:
Waldorf Home Preschool Curriculum
Plus, I’m already away from Audrey a few days a week at work, why would I want to spend even less time with her. So, I’m opting not to do the Minds in Motion and maybe not even do preschool at all. Instead, I’m going to implement some components of a Waldorf-style learning environment and just have more structure at home.
I’m not saying that preschool is a bad thing, but I don’t want to be one of those parents that uses it as a substitute for daycare and I don’t want to rush Audrey into something she’s not ready for. These years are a precious time for me to have a huge impact in her life and I want to be the one teaching her the lessons and priorities that I feel are most important. School and the “real world” will come soon enough!