Preschool or No Preschool? The Pros and Cons
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than half of all 4 year olds in the United States regularly attend center-based early childhood programs. Many parents question whether or not to send their child to preschool and must outweigh the pros and cons before making their decision. It's important to keep in mind that not attending preschool is not synonymous with not learning but provides kids with the jumpstart to an educational setting. Let's take a look at the specific pros and cons of preschool.Pros of Preschool
Preschools are the more traditional route to early education. Obviously, the educational setting will not be a rigorous one but can be a way for kids to start getting into the "school mode". The educational environment of preschool tables
, neatly stacked toys, and a scheduled day will help them in Kindergarten. The most obvious benefit of preschool is the socialization that your child will receive. Your child will meet new, unfamiliar people and become acquainted with other adults (teachers) and children who may be different from them. Preschool also prepares your child for school and should build his or her confidence with new surroundings, people, and challenges. Preschools also provide a large range of activities to help introduce and develop independence, as well as new skillsets and interests.
Cons of Preschool
While there aren't many, there are a few cons to preschool. It's possible that your child will learn from and maybe even imitate negative actions witnessed from other children. Children influence other children but if you ensure your child understands what is considered good and bad behavior, it could be a learning experience for him or her. Bullying can also occur in preschools but again, might be a good learning experience for your child to understand early on. There is also the option of homeschooling for those parents who don't want their child to attend preschool. A homeschooled child might not receive the same socialization benefits as a child who attends traditional preschool but can still learn and develop through activities and lessons. Those who choose to homeschool should find a way to supplement their child's social development with extracurricular activities.
It's important that preschool does not guarantee a smooth transition to kindergarten, but gives your child the ability to interact with others, challenge themselves, experience a new environment, and give them the opportunity to build a scholastic mindset. Outweigh the pros and cons carefully and do your research on reputable schools before deciding whether preschool is right for your child and your family.