When I bring my three little children on outings I am noticing, with significant regularity, how many people ask if Monkey (4.5) is in preschool.
A couple weeks ago, when school started, I contacted the local French preschool program, twice, and I sent an email, but I received no reply. It seemed strange that nobody returned my call but perhaps they couldn’t understand my French… or my English (I left a message in both languages). I want my children to speak and understand French, and they do understand a little, but I have to confess that I haven’t been very diligent in teaching them French. So, I thought that French preschool might give us the kickstart we need.
Until recently Monkey was not ready for preschool but now that he is showing some interest I’m unsure about sending him. Part of my hesitation lies in the fact that we are planning to homeschool our children. If we send Monkey to preschool the natural progression would be kindergarten the year after. It might be difficult for him to understand why all his buddies are going to school the next year and he isn’t.
Also, I am starting to wonder about the reasons for preschool and I’m starting to ask myself some questions. Why would I be sending my son to preschool? Is it to learn French? For me to get a break? Is it really a break? To “socialize” him? I recently came across an article by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada entitled Nuturing Children: Why “Early Learning” Doesn’t Help. The article touches on the topic of socialization and what it says is really interesting.
For some families there might be a time and a place for preschool. Some preschools are wonderful and offer great learning opportunities for children. What I am saying is that we need to make thoughtful decisions and we shouldn’t simply do something because of societal pressure.
So, I’ve decided, for the time, that I will continue to hold off on preschool. There are other programs we can take part in (like Strongstart), library programs and many other things. We could always revisit preschool in the new year.
What are your thoughts on preschool? Do you send your children or not? Why?
I did for my oldest, I was a single mom working multiple jobs and trying to go to college. He did fine but when I got married and had more kids, I made a different choice. I decided to stay home with my kids. The preschool which I had needed made no sense to me now. I was home so why send my kids away, also, I think we are asking our kids to be grownups too early yet not (in general within the society) teaching them to be responsible. My oldest son is also my challenge in school and a poor student. That could be temperament of course, but I think part of it was school too early. As I grow as a person, I wonder why we school outside of the home, I am rarely completely happy with what they are learning academically and it comes with so many lessons I don't like, from bullies to ketchup is a veggie. I am not homeschooling yet, but maybe someday I will. I wonder why we all had kids only to be so happy to send them away from us for 8+ hours each day. I know they are learning made good things that I might not be able to teach them, but maybe if every parent really examined these choices and what the impacts of these choices where, education and with it society would improve. Sorry, I got a bit over the top with this, but I really think that our society is what we teach our children, so letting them grow and explore who they are and having time to play and the attention of the adults in their lives is important.
Thank you for your comment Julia 🙂 Yes, I agree that we seem to be sending our children to school earlier and earlier and this might be the best was to help them grow as a person.
Thanks for the link to that article, it is awesome! I will be sending this off whenever someone questions our decisions regarding schooling.
We are homeschooling as well and will not be doing preschool. My little guy is almost four and together we go about our days baking, crafting, cleaning, cooking, playing, hiking, tending to our little homestead, skating and swimming. It is life learning and we love it!
Oh, you have got to read "Better Late Than Early". I also had considered putting my son in preschool, but I didn't because I wanted to homeschool. Now I'm SO glad I never did. IF you want to let them hear more French, can you get your hands on audio stories in French?
Kim, I can't agree more. I feel that Monkey learns so much by participate in the rhythm of family life.
I'll have to get that book from the library. It sounds really good! I never thought of French audio books but what a great idea! I'll check our local library and if I can't find any there I may ask my grandmother to send us some from Quebec.
We do strong start with our preschoolers. It's pretty much the same as preschool, only the parents have to attend and play with their children. Best part, it's a free program. My kids love(d) it. My oldest went to preschool for a year and he really struggled with the separation. Lesson learned!
We go to Strongstart as well. There's one nearby that's being run by a Montessori teacher and she's lovely. I really enjoy that I can bring all three little ones which sometimes isn't an option for other programs.
I am also trying really hard to share the French language and culture to my son, which sometimes can be hard when living in an English speaking place. However, when we are home I make it a priority to speak French and to make him say the words he knows in French. Also, we have a very regulated media time in our house, so whenever E want's tp watch something on youtube, we try to find the French version of it (btw, most DVD's offer a French version as well). Teaching our children what we find to be important (such as a second language) takes a lot of self-dsiciple and determination!