Today I am excited to be contributing my first contributor post for Clarks Condensed! I have been friends with Katie Clark for a while and am happy to be an on-going once-a-month contributor to her blog, writing about parenting and thrifty living. Today I’m sharing a little more about my early childhood education philosophy. I don’t believe having your kid attend a traditional preschool is necessary for a child’s future success. At least not when you do some of the following preschool alternatives.
Preschools can be expensive. Very expensive if it is a private preschool or offers a full-day option. I have found most of my friends are paying anywhere between $70-$300 a month on preschool, for one child, three days a week. When you are on a tight budget or have twins (like I do), then even a $70/month (x2) payment can be hard to justify, especially when everything a child learns at preschool can be learned at home or while exploring. That’s why I want to let you know that you don’t have to pay for preschool. There are so many wonderful preschool alternatives out there than paying for a two or three day a week preschool for your child! You can easily do simple things with your child and still have them completely ready for kindergarten without shelling out more than $1000 a year.
Is Preschool Needed?
I don’t believe that our traditional preschool setting is needed for most children. Preschool is only truly beneficial to those who are considered at-risk, those who are sociology-economically disadvantaged. It’s a push to prove anything otherwise. I, myself, did not go to preschool, and I came from a low-income family (I was the youngest of nine children). And yet I managed to graduate in the top 5% of my graduating class of ~600 students. I also received several scholarships and graduated from college with a 3.6 GPA.
So, going to preschool or not going to preschool is not a huge deciding factor for future academic success for most kids. It just isn’t, despite what politicians, magazine articles, educators, and society at large want to tell you. However, it is also not harmful and many children love attending preschool and do get practice sitting and listening to an adult that is not related to them. It can indeed be beneficial, especially for those needing early intervention, but, again, it is not necessary.
But, I do believe in early childhood education – that is educating young children. And I think most of that educating can come from a great home environment, parents/caretakers who care, and from being proactive in getting out and about in your community.
What is needed during the Preschool Years?
The preschool years are a great time to explore the world, learn some life skills, and have a lot of fun. It’s about recognizing patterns, reading great books, engaging in imaginative play and creativity. Preschool years are about figuring out connections, cause and effect, and mastering those fine-motor skills and some large gross motor skills too. What is needed during the preschool years is understanding of others’ emotions of personal responsibility, of developing a curiosity and a love of learning! The preschool years are supposed to be pressure-free and fun!
So may I suggest, if you can, to skip the traditional preschool and do it yourself! You are your child’s first teacher and likely their best. They love you and look up to so much! So teach them some of what you know! For the preschool years you don’t need to be a qualified or certified teacher. You already know all your colors, shapes, numbers, words, seasons, holidays, days of the week, letters, and how to write with a pencil. You can teach your child quite a lot! And the following preschool alternatives will help: [. . .]
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What do you do with your preschooler to encourage them to learn in fun and exciting, alternative ways?