K is now 3 and a half. (Suppressing my TIME-IS-FLYING-BY!! panic for now. ) He knows the English alphabet, his numbers to 20, is potty-trained, reasonably polite, and able to communicate his needs. He even has a few friends that he plays with (well, next to, but the playing with is coming along.)
So, does he need to go to preschool? That's what I was wondering all of last month. As all moms do in this day and age, I took to Twitter & Facebook for advice. I realized it must be a hot topic, as I got 14 comments in 1 day.
Most of the parents with kids in daycare or dayhomes said "No." Parents with nannies and parents who were at home with their kids recommended some sort of out of house experience.
Every response fell into one of these categories, which made me realize they probably apply to all parents considering the next step in their childcare plan:
Preschool Will Teach Your Kid To Socialize (with the sub-category, Preschool Will Expose Your Kid to Germs)
Sure, that makes sense. I'm lucky that my nanny is connected to other nannies in the neighbourhood and K gets lots of playdates. He also attends a weekly playgroup, so I'm not super concerned about that aspect. And the germs thing... see my other post. We've got germs covered.
Point: Status Quo
Preschool Will Teach Your Kid Other Stuff
This point took a bit of consideration. As I mentioned above, Dear A has taught K a lot. I don't think he's missing out, seems intelligent enough, and I have this personal belief that we spend enough time in school as it is, so maybe a few more years of goofball playtime is best. Then, I remembered a few of the funny things K's learned. He pronounces "Giraffe" as "Giraf-ey" and argued with me for an hour over the pronunciation of "Toucan." Me: Too-can, K: Toe-can, Me: Too-can sweetheart. K: No! Toe-can. Too-can. Toe-can. Too-can. Toe-can... you get the picture. Anyway, there is an aspect of education by ESL caregivers that preschool could improve.
Preschool Will Give You Free Time
This one took even more time to think through. My first thought was, "Whatevs, I've got a nanny and a job. Preschool isn't going to give me more or less time." Then I thought about Dear A's time. Because she'll soon be responsible for both kids, having one at preschool for a few hours a day might give her a bit of a break. Another point for preschool, BUT, with the caveat that I'd have to find a program close by, transit-accessible, with hours that fit our schedule. Add more work to my plate.... Ergh.
Point: Preschool, kind of
Preschool Will Teach Your Kid Independence
Double-Ergh. As soon as this one hit the board, I knew the preschool option was going to win out. K is a shy kid. He's known amongst our friends as the king of the Stranger Stinkeye. He's fine with other kids and getting better with other adults, but that's with me, his dad, other family or Dear A around. He's never been anywhere without one of us and I know, have known for a while, that it was something we were going to have to work on.
So, that was it, un-parented preschool won out. I started researching daycares, dayhomes, preschools, pre-Kindergartens, Montessori's and un-parented music/craft classes in our general vicinity*.... After several headaches, panic attacks and bouts of insomnia (which especially sucks when you're breastfeeding throughout the night.) I ended up with a 2 day a week pre-K program that's close enough for Daddy drop off in the morning and Dear A to bring him home on transit. And, if the weather's bad, it ends at a time where I could sneak out to pick him up and not miss too much work. K's now registered and we're all trying to psych him up for "school" in the fall.
Done and done. Another part of the NEWMom experience wrapped.
* Found a really great article about understanding preschool and your kids needs here.