Jul 132012

Our daughter turns three this fall, so I’ve been getting the preschool question lately.  About half of all three and four year olds are enrolled in some type of classroom so it’s a natural question to ask. And the answer is no, we’re not planning on sending her to preschool.

And we’re not even doing a formal “preschool at home.” I agree with Carletta Sanders when she says, ”I’ve finally relaxed and embraced the truth about preschool – preschoolers can learn everything they need to know in the school of life.”

So we talk about colors as we sort the laundry. And we count as we pick up the toys. And we read tons and tons of books together. And we search Pinterest for some fun and simple projects. And we play. We do lots of learning through play. We go to the grocery store, church, the park and friend’s houses.

Some people have expressed concern about us not sending our child to preschool. I’ve also heard parents talk about feeling guilty for not sending their kids, wondering if their kids are missing out on something vital to their future.

When I hear people talk about preschool, I hear two major reasons for sending them: academic and social readiness for kindergarten. Before I tell you my thoughts on each, let me be clear that these are my opinions on what is best for our family. I do not know you, your kids or your situation so I will not pretend to know what’s best for you and your family. Sharing my thoughts on preschool, I have two audiences in mind: those looking for encouragement because they feel alone not sending their kids to preschool and those interested in reasons why others’ kids are not sent to preschool.


Children learn two of the most difficult tasks during their first two years of life: walking and talking. And most kids do this with little formal help. Instead, they are supported and cheered on by their parents. Through simply playing, our daughter has learned the ABCs, her colors, and how to count. Therefore I believe that, barring any unforeseen complications, my daughter can learn anything she needs to know on the academic front without a formal preschool setting.


Many people recognize that children can learn at home. But what about proper socialization: learning to share, take turns, stand in line, sit still, etc? I think proper socialization is much more than being able to interact well with peer groups. Outside of school, people do not spend time working, playing or living with others who are all the same age. I want my daughter to learn how to interact well with people of all ages and I think our family can accomplish this more easily outside of a preschool setting.

To take it one step further, three and four year olds aren’t necessarily the people I want my daughter to learn the majority of her social skills from. After all, they’re still learning themselves and have a tendency to spread their bad habits around. Sometimes my daughter comes home from the church nursery with a new bad habit. And I’m sure she has instilled some bad habits into other children. While I certainly want her to interact with kids her age, my husband and I want to be the ones who spend the most time with her and have the most influence on her at this tender age.

The Bottom Line

Since I already stay at home and believe our daughter can excel both academically and socially without preschool, we’ve decided that sending her to preschool just doesn’t make sense for our family situation. And, as a wonderful bonus, it saves us money that we can put toward experiences as a family.

What are your thoughts about preschool?

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 Posted by at 12:01 am

  18 Responses to “Some Thoughts on Preschool”

  1. I agree. We have similar views and after having my first two babes we realized how fast time flies with them. I wanted to be their teacher AND Mom caretaker for as long as possible. I want to experience those first learnings with them, not hear about it vicariously. In seminary we didn’t really have a choice but to keep my oldest home for preschool. One car meant either hubby rode a bike 30 miles to downtown Dallas, or safely got there by car! (And we did NOT want to have to wake the tots up extra early everyday just so I could have the car everyday.)

  2. Totally agree…I definitely feel that they learn best in unstructured ‘school.’ Life is too short, they will have plenty of school ahead of them, why rush it?!

  3. Thank you for posting your thoughts. Livi is still young but I have been thinking about it for a while. My thoughts are along the same lines of what you shared but I am one of those moms who is feeling guilty for not wanting to send my kid to preschool. So I appreciate your thoughts immensely.

  4. I’m still undecided. My problem is that I see the pros on both sides haha. My husband is more supportive of sending him to preschool but for only a few days and not the whole day. I think if anything that would be our best arrangement. I’m with him almost the whole week except for the equivalent of three work days, so I don’t exactly have a school curriculum at home. That said, I agree that they do learn a lot. I’m not trying to brag or anything because I know my toddler also isn’t “advanced” in certain areas, but one thing for sure is that he is ridiculously advanced in so-called academics despite never having gone to day care or pre school so I’m okay with him academically.

    What I’m concerned about is socially. Just recently, whenever people (not just kids) come near us, he clings to me and prefers them to go away. I’m not sure if he’s just overwhelmed by a ton of people (usually strangers; he doesn’t really do this with people he knows) but I’m worried that he needs interaction with peers.

    I do love that you bring up the “bad” influence of kids. Have you read Hold On to Your Kids by Gabor Maté? It talks about how young children really need to be more influenced by the adults in their life and not their peers, otherwise they start talking back, doing what their friends are doing and it becomes a Lord of the Flies chaos lol.

    Then I also have my paranoia of having strangers taking care of my kids (like what I recently wrote about). I know I’ll eventually have to let go of my kids at some point though!

    So I guess for me it’s more of a balance I’m looking for. I’d like to send him for a few hours a few days of the week ideally. Great topic, Steph!

    • I love it when parents are intentional about their decisions and it sounds like that’s exactly what you’re being – intentional. I hope you come to a conclusion that works well for your family. I haven’t read Hold On to Your Kids but now I definitely want to; thanks for the recommendation.

  5. AMEN! Thanks for being brave enough to say it. I would miss all of their wonderful insight if I sent them to preschool. That time will come… but for now, I will enjoy!

  6. Having a son in college, I must encourage you all not to rush them out of your care! That is my BIGGEST regret! In his defense, he is a well mannered, conscientious adult, but there were missed opportunities along the way.

  7. [...] do preschool (just learning through play right [...]

  8. [...] wonder if I need to do something more formal when it comes to educating my daughter. Something more preschoolish. She’s very interested in letters so I considered doing something with more structure like a [...]

  9. [...] my decision to enroll our son in preschool, I wanted to mention two favorite bloggers of mine, Living Undone and But Mostly Mommy, who write compelling reasons as to why they decided not to send their [...]

  10. It’s nice to hear someone else who has come to the same conclusion. I keep hearing warnings that my kids won’t socialize well, won’t follow directions, won’t do well academically–it’s enough to make me paranoid that I’m somehow failing them.

  11. I’m struggling with this decision right now and appreciate your perspective. For us, the main area of need is socialization, so I laughed (and agree enthusiastically!) that other 3 and 4 year olds aren’t necessarily the best teachers of social skills! Definitely a new piece to consider.

    As an aside, it seems that most toddlers aren’t sent to preschool for academic reasons and many go into it knowing a big chunk of the curriculum already. So I wonder why the curriculum isn’t enhanced?? Or do kids leave knowing more than they would have without going to school? hmmmm…

  12. [...] on her states and capitals. We don’t do flashcards. We don’t do anything formal for preschool at all, not to mention formal memorization. Yet there is much she knows; much that she’s [...]

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