In the past few weeks, Facebook has been inundated with photos of everyone’s little darlings posed with a big grin and a lunch box.
First day of school!
Many of these children were headed off to their first day of preschool.
I posted photos of us apple picking, as that was the most school-related activity we had done recently. (Apples = Teachers, which then = school, right?)
But Carlitos did not have his photo plastered all over Facebook (for once) with his Thomas the Train lunch box.
Because he is not going to preschool this year.
Oddly enough, he did go to preschool last year. So, when every parent I meet asks where he is going to preschool and I say he isn’t, adding in his attendance last year doesn’t help their befuddlement.
To add supposed insult to supposed injury, I am an educator. I have my Masters degree in Teaching. I taught French. I taught Spanish. I currently run a childhood literacy program. I also manage a foreign language school for children.
So why the heck isn’t my child in preschool with the rest of the masses?
Personally, it didn’t seem worth it to me. We paid a lot of money to have him there three days a week for 2.5 hours. And still had to hire a nanny since my work schedule never seems to be 3 days a week for 2.5 hours….no matter how hard I push for that dreamy option.
He definitely learned things and made friends and loved his sweet teachers, but it didn’t feel worthy of all of the money and rushing around. Especially when now his younger brother is old enough to partake in activites but would instead spend most of his day dropping off or picking up Carlitos.
So, we still have a nanny when I am at work. She speaks Spanish to the boys all day and I truly think that the one-on-one daily Spanish he hears from her has developed his Spanish ability faster than the Spanish immersion preschool he attended last year. Carlitos and Xavi get to each go to 2-3 classes a week. They also go to the park and playground every day, weather permitting. Both with the nanny and with me, Carlitos does arts and crafts and practices writing, spelling, numbers, etc. pretty much every day. He has friends. He has play dates. (Alright, this one is not my strength, but I am working on it.) I also really love the amount of together time Carlitos and Xavi have right now to build a bond.
Plus, we just don’t have an extra $20,000 hanging out in our wallets right now.
Let me say that I do know a few other NYC moms who feel the same way and don’t send their kids to preschool. However, for the most part, everyone I meet has had their 20-month-old conducting preschool interviews for months now.
For enrollment next year.
I also want to clarify that I completely understand the value of preschool. Heck, if we had a billion dollars, we would probably still send him a few days a week.
However, our scratch tickets haven’t paid off yet. And the truth is, I feel truly okay and happy with the decision not to send him this year. He loves books, loves to write, loves numbers, loves arts and crafts, plays sports and shows kindness to his peers and his baby brother. Basically, my gut tells me he will be just fine next year in kindergarten.
I just also can’t deny that it can sometimes feel weird and wrong to be doing things so differently from most people around you. Especially when it comes to your children.
I am wondering what your thoughts are. Do you think it is wrong of me to keep him out of preschool this year? What do you/would you do?
*The teacher in me says “Here’s a link if you want to learn more!” I’m not the author of the article(s) below, but it’s still decent writing, I guess… I mean, if you like writing that isn’t mine.*
Why Preschool Matters. Parents.com
Is Preschool Important for All Kids? Playborhood.com
Coming Soon to Manhattan: More Preschools. The New York Times