Parents of young children are often sideswiped by an unexpected expense when their children get to be three or four years old. Preschools can cost up to $40,000 per year, as much as college tuition at some schools. Waiting lists, interviews, and the other rigmarole that it takes to get into a preschool can also be a huge hassle. The whole process has some parents asking is preschool is really necessary.
Benefits of Preschool
Studies have shown that there are many benefits to sending children to preschool. Children learn to exercise self control, managing tempers, listening, and sharing. Perhaps most importantly, children get to interact with other kids their age and learn how to socialize and play. Preschool also enhances kindergarten readiness, with many children beginning to learn simple math and writing.
Disadvantages of Preschool
On the downside, preschool may inhibit children’s creative learning and force them to sit for unnatural lengths of time. The forced structure can be frustrating for children who are not ready for that kind of atmosphere. Children are also exposed to illness and the bad habits and behaviors of other children, which can be obstacles to overcome in themselves.
Some parents wish to avoid preschool, but still want their children to experience the benefits that preschool promotes. Parents that have adequate time to devote to teaching their children may be able to pull this off without the costs or disadvantages of preschool. Sitting with children and teaching them how to write simple words and math can help to prepare them more fully for the academic challenges of school, since it is one-on-one and catered to their needs and abilities.
The social element can be harder to replicate, but not impossible. If there are families in the area with pre-school age kids, it may be possible to get them all together for field trips and learning sessions. Many public libraries also hold reading and other learning sessions for pre-K kids that can help to get kids together with peers.