We were planning on sending our two year old to preschool in August. He will be three in December. This would probably be for 3 half days a week.
So, I have been researching preschool online and I found some articles that suggest not sending kids to preschool at age 2 but waiting until age 3. He socializes with other kids pretty much every day. Right now his schedule is at least one library story time per week, Mops daycare 1 morning every other week, and the gym daycare usually 4 times per week. May-September I also plan on going to gymboree (gym class) 1 day per week when it is really hot to play outside. We also have playdates with other kids fairly regularly. I am worried with all of this activity preschool would be too much scheduling for him at an early age.
On the other hand if we send him in August he would have 3 years of preschool instead of 2. I am wondering if there is any educational benefit to starting him preschool in August or if he would be happier at home for one more year? Do you know of any research or books that would be helpful in answering this question?
I sent my four at age three or three-and-a-half for half days, five days a week. The first one had a bit of trouble adjusting. But not the other three, probably because they were familiarized with school by their older sister.
As far as I know there are no studies that show preschool starting at 2 or 3 having an educational benefit over starting at 4. Studies that show benefits compare kindergarten kids to 4 year olds. And those advancements are usually gone by 3rd grade. I believe that most of the educational advantages typically come to disadvantaged children who don't have the same home educational experiences as other children.
Having said that, in your case it all depends on the child. It sounds like he is getting enough outside experiences that this will seem fairly normal to him and should work out fine. What you do want to do is to observe the preschools and see them in action. Particularly the ones with younger kids. I would not really want him to be the youngest in the class (but it may not matter). Finally, visit the preschool with him several times before the actual start. Show him around, have him meet the teachers, etc. It should go fine.
When I went to kindergarten (a very long time ago) the purpose was not to educate, but to adapt the child to being away from home and becoming accustomed to a school environment. We attended half days, five days a week. We did not learn to read and write. We painted. danced, sang and had our teacher read stories to us. To become a kindergarten teacher you had to be able to play the piano.
I was four, going on five, and loved it. Then, in first grade, we started to learn the three R's. On graduating from elementary school we were better educated than today's children. (Check the lowered standards.) And I don't remember having homework in the early years. I do remember lots of fun projects that had nothing to do with academics.
Was our success a mystery, or had we old folks a better understanding of children?
I agree with Sandman and others. I don't think it helps that much with future academic success. I sent my son who was 2.9 years in September to one half day a week for the social aspect of school The next year he went two days a week when he was 3 going on 4 and the next year he went 3 days a week when he was 4 going on 5. That's it. It was merely to dip their toes into the world of 'school' and to practice social skills and frankly, have some fun.
I never was one to do much of the academic teaching when they were toddlers as we spent a lot of time playing, etc. I did read books often and we played some alphabet games, practiced some early letter writing. But there were kids that started kindergarten reading, writing and much more advanced than my kids. But . . . by third and forth grade, it matters not. Both my kids outperform their peers both in their actual classroom work and all standardized testing. Both of my sons are advanced academically.
so, my thought is, make the preschool years fun. To me, that involved a lot of 'mom' time. It really is the only time you have them to yourself as once they are true school age, the 'real' world places many demands on them.
If your goal is that somehow a kid who goes to preschool at 2 will be more academically advanced later, forget it, he won't. What they are learning in preschool is how to deal with other kids and with the teachers directing them. If your goal is to socialize your child, that is a different issue, but what you report of his life sounds like he is already getting plenty of socialization with both other children and with the systems set up for the care of children (daycare at the gym, daycare elsewhere). In your shoes, I would hold off until he is 3 almost 4, not 2 almost 3. There is the chance that as much as he likes life right now, you would overload him with all of this. Since it really doesn't sound like you need to send him for purposes of him learning to get along with other kids or be in a "classroom," you don't need to send him to preschool this early. With specialmom, I would vote you keep him with you, he will get more from hanging with Mommy right now anyway. He probably wants you most anyway.
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