Preschool- Yes or No?

My oldest daughter turns three in just a few months, but the questions about whether or not my husband and I plan to send her to preschool have been rolling in for almost a year now. Back then when the questions started, we would always cite time as the reason why we hadn’t thought about the prospect of preschool. “Oh, she’s just two,” we’d say, adding quickly that we would start looking more seriously when she approached three.

But then two and a half came and went and we did start looking, but because most of the preschools we were interested in were more money than we could afford, we put it off.

Now that she is three, I would say that most of her playmates are in some form of preschool for either part or all of the day. Their parents, who are both working or with one parent at home, pay between $1,000 a month to $2,500 a month. We can’t afford the expense of “that” kind of preschool right now.  But we want the quality of “that” kind of preschool. So we’ve been looking at the most reasonable alternative.


I’ve been thinking about using an online preschool curriculum to teach her at home. This sounds like a bit of a stretch for me, considering I also have a one-year old at home, but I think I can do it. In fact, I know I can do it. So that isn’t the problem.

The problem is that whenever some parent tells me their child is in preschool, I always begin to feel a tinge of doubt. I guess, for me, at least in my area, where your child is going to preschool is like a badge of honor that seems to scream of the financial devotion to ensuring that your children are receiving the best that our state has to offer. Or maybe this is all in my head, manifesting itself in questions like:

“Am I making the right decision keeping her at home?”

“Should I suck it up and just pay for her to go somewhere just for the sake of me being able to say that she is going somewhere?”

I know the answers to these questions, of course. I know that trying to keep up with the Joneses is dumb and that instead I should just focus on how great of a job I am doing with her at home and just keep up with that. I know this, so that’s what I’ve been aiming to do. For now, my toddler is not in preschool, but she’s learning lots at home. For now, this is enough.

Did your toddler attend preschool? If so, at what age?

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Jessica lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband and two girls. Once upon a time, pre-motherhood, she did many things as a “serious-looking” woman who managed to successfully balance a reality TV addiction with a career and academic pursuits. She's now a serious-acting woman whose primary job is raising her children. She writes, reads, fantasizes about minivans, and takes midday naps. She enjoys (among many other things) dancing to 80s music, photography, laughing out loud (at, usually, inappropriate moments), and writing about writing, being a writer, and becoming fearless on her blog Jessica F. Hinton

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8 Comments on "Preschool- Yes or No?"

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The Listening Room is a great resource for activities that foster language development. They have a variety of activities with great explanations that you can print and make yourself. While they are geared towards kids with hearing loss, the activities are developed by a speech language pathologist and target a wide range of language skills that all young children need to develop.

In my opinion, a “play” school is exactly (and all) a pre-school should be for those younger than 4. After all, there is so much research on the benefits of play for our children. Play is their work 🙂 I work part-time from home and send my 2 1/2 year old to a childcare (which is also a state mandated pre-school) two full days a week. My younger child (7 mos) will go one day a week for now and two days after she turns one. But, before I started working I sent my 2 year old to a preschool… Read more »

I didn’t think we’d put our daughter in preschool but she started getting bored. Her behavior was so challenging simply because we were not stimulating her enough. And I knew that I didn’t want to homeschool. Fortunately, there’s a church in our area with a great preschool program for only $60 per month. We couldn’t afford anything else. She is doing so well there and is much easier to deal with. Every time we take her to preschool we are so happy that she is going.

My daughter is turning 3 on Sunday. I work for our county office of education which serves students with special needs. One of our preschool teachers who works with students with autism is going to take her two mornings a week so my daughter can be exposed to pre-school and be around students with different abilities but she will also be a peer model for appropriate behavior (I hope!). She loves being around other kids, which we get right now at the free library story time and stay and play and at the park. I think I will send her… Read more »
I think it’s important to know what you want to get out of preschool, what your kid needs, and what you have to give. My kid is hyper-social; he is so much better behaved now that he goes to preschool; he’s not constantly up my butt, he can focus for longer, he sleeps better. Me staying home would not have provided him with what he needs because I am much more introverted and find that kind of intensive group interaction exhausting and anxiety-inducing. (Plus, we’re in a place we can afford it.) So anyway, my point was that there is… Read more »

I looked into the local high schools in my area. They had an early childhood education program for the high schoolers. I sent my son there and he loved it. And it was much less expensive. They definitely have limited slots and the times are usually a little weird but if you can do it and they offer it I would recommend it.

Jessica Barnhart
my daughter is 4 and will be going to kindergarten next year. We also looked into preschools, it’s the same in our area as in yours. Either you pay $300-$500 a month for “play school” or you pay $1000-$1500 a month for “preschool” where they actually learn something. Neither option looked like what we wanted. So I teach her at home. She knows and identifies all uppercase and lowercase letters, can count to 30, do basic addition and subtraction with manipulatives, knows her address and phone number, can write her name, and beginning to master letter sounds and sight words.… Read more »
I agree with your point of teaching at home, but your child needs other children her age to play with on a regular basis. Just teaching things isnt going to help her, learning from other children is also necessary. How about sending her to a not so expensive pre school, and teaching her at home as well like the expensive pre schools? Kids need kids too…and while u have a 1 year old, your 3 year old will still not have as much fun as she would with a three year old. I know most mothers feel their children learn… Read more »