With pregnant women often struggling get their unborn babies on the wait lists at certain preschools, it seems as though preschool could be harder to get into than Harvard. With preschool's high costs, academic pressure and exposure to a herd of little monsters influencing your child, preschool may not be the best fit for your little one.
If you thought college tuition was bad, according to a 2012 report from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, families with children who spend some time in private preschools pay anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 in annual tuition costs. Rather than spending an exorbitant amount of money on your 4 year old's education, consider keeping him out of preschool and saving the money for his college education or using the money for parent-tot activities, such as music classes or swimming lessons.
According to Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, the direct instruction of teachers in a preschool environment limits your child's creativity and ability to discover new information. Gopnik states that children should have ample opportunity for spontaneous learning and exploration in a rich, stable and safe environment with affectionate adults. The SmartMoney website states that your little one doesn't need as much academic guidance as you may think -- and all the academic pressure can set him back emotionally and socially. Children learn through play and meaningful interactions with adults, not just flash cards and worksheets.
Face it -- even the best and most attentive of preschool teachers doesn't love your child as much as you do. Your child's preschool teacher must tend to the needs of other children during the school day, and sometimes she is just trying to manage the crowd. Separation from your preschooler may also be difficult on you and even more difficult on your child, according to the SmartMoney site. Keeping your little one home for an extra year or two not only promotes your parent-child bond, but also helps him feel safe and secure and allows you to tend to his specific needs.
While your little one may pick up some good habits from his preschool classmates, he will likely pick up some bad ones along the way as well. A large group of 3 and 4 year olds who have difficulty controlling their emotions and impulses and who are prone to temper tantrums are probably not who you want teaching your child manners and social skills. According to Parenting Science, social interaction that involves an adult offers benefits that social interaction with peers does not. If your little one thanks a friend for sharing and you are around to praise him, he learns that what he did was a positive thing. If no one is around to observe this moment, it may pass by unnoticed.
- U.S. News: The High Cost of Preschool
- Child Care Aware of America: 2012 Full Report
- Smart Money: 10 Things Your Preschool Won't Tell You
- Slate: Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School
- Exploring Homeschooling: Reasons Why NOT to Put Your Child in Preschool
- Parenting Science: The Dark Side of Preschool: Peers, Social Skills and Stress
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