If I’m honest, I’m not yet ready to send my 3 year old out the door to have someone else teach her.
She’s still so little and will have plenty of time to learn from others. I only have her for a short time. And she has experienced much in her short little life that will set her up to succeed in kindergarten...
We have been reading books since she was an infant.
We take walks and talk about what we see, hear, and feel.
We talk about what’s going on around us and what we’re doing as we play with shapes and colors.
She can identify letters and single digit numbers, not necessarily because we purposefully practice them, but because we read books about them and we play with magnets and puzzles.
An important aspect of preschool is social interaction, but school doesn’t have to be the primary source. Both my daughter and I are social beings and we need relationships with others to thrive. We have plenty of opportunities to be with other people and practice sharing and following directions. Some of the things we do together include library story time and play dates, and she also goes by herself to the nursery at church, bible study, or to a friend’s house.
Having been a kindergarten teacher doesn’t give me any special knowledge on what my daughter needs other than an awareness of the need for exposure, experience, and intentionality. And, even with my teaching experience, I’ve waffled with the decision to keep her home this year and wondered if I’m depriving my little girl of some sort of childhood right of passage.
I’m not trying to scare you or dissuade you from sending your child to preschool. The right preschool can be a magical and meaningful experience for children. But don’t feel as if you have no choice in sending your child to preschool. I’m going to follow through on my instincts even though most people around me are making a different choice.
Our mothers were on to something when they asked us, “If everyone’s jumping off the bridge, are you going to do it too?” I want to empower you to know that you have the choice as well. Don’t do what everyone else is doing if it’s not right for you.
When to Start Preparing for Kindergarten - How young is too young to start getting your kids ready for school?
Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.