To Preschool or Not to Preschool?

So, you've checked all the signs and feel that your child is ready for preschool, but does that mean you should go ahead and send your little one to daycare? There are many factors that you need to take into consideration before making your final decision. There are always two sides to a coin; while not all parents feel that preschool is the best option, others think it is an essential stage in their child's development. What makes the decision so confusing is that you will find experts supporting both sides, so what should you do and how do you decide? Let's take a look at a few of the pros and cons of preschools first to get a clearer picture of what you're facing.

Advantages of Preschool

Socializing – The purpose of preschool is not academic, but social development. Your child will be interacting with other children and learning more about understanding and respecting others, taking turns, non-violence, and sharing. 

Learning Experience – Children who go to preschool are given the opportunity to engage in a wide range of age-appropriate learning experiences and activities that they might not be able to find at home, such as sensory play, arts and crafts, music and movement, and much more.

Emotional Preparation – Preschool helps emotionally preparing children for kindergarten, accustoming them to a certain level of structure and socialization for extended periods of time. They will also be more practiced at paying attention to the teacher and the task at hand, as well as interacting appropriately with others.

Disadvantages of Preschool

Availability of Alternatives – Some experts maintain that preschool is an unnecessary step, as children can receive the socializing exposure they need by playing with friends' or relatives' children and through a bit of extra effort on the parents' part, who can spend more time stimulating their children through play.
Poor Growth Environment – Preschool classrooms tend to be a place where the individual needs of children will be put aside for the sake of group management, as teachers won't always have the time to pay attention to each child's questions or requirements. This could slow down intellectual, social, emotional and psychological development in young children, as they will have to learn to passively comply with authority figures, which for the sake of time management will not always have the child's best interest at heart.

The Bottom Line

After all is said and done and after you've considered all your options and the various angles of the situation, your final decision should come down to one thing: whether you feel your child would benefit from preschool. Each child is different, and while some young children are social, outgoing and adventurous, others tend to be quiet and introverted, needing personal space to grow and develop intellectually and emotionally. If you decide that preschool isn't the best environment for your child to thrive, then make sure you expose it to situations that will help it develop and be intellectually and socially stimulated.