There is no "one size fits all" answer...you know your child best. Many parents seek to put their children in school asap, because they need daycare, and aren't at home to be able to spend time with their own children. Some parents may feel their children can benefit from being around other kids and learning to listen to different adults. Personally, I don't think there are many "academic" reasons to send a child to 3-year preschool, so long as you're providing enriching experiences to them throughout the day....read to them, go for walks to the park, visit a library, and the zoo, etc. Kids can learn about math from cooking and the world around them (ie, using measuring cups and cutting a pizza teach fractions ) and you can graph the number of red cars versus blue cars parked on your street, and see if it changes from one day to the next, etc. In any case, you might like to join Greatschools Preschool Parents Group at http://community.greatschools.net/groups/1153435180
Like Healthy11 said, it really does depend on the child. I worried all last year that I was starting my daughter to early in preschool. It's a big jump from 2 to 3. But by the time August had rolled around it was obvious that she was ready. I kept her in her small family daycare a couple days a week though and I think she benefits from having the downtime and more one-on-one attention. She is also one of the oldest at daycare now (she's one of the youngest in her preschool class) so I think it's nice for her to feel like a big big kid a couple days a week.
My suggestion would be to tour some of the preschools you're interested in. Perhaps start your little lady in a part-time program. Another option, if you have the time, is a co-op preschool. This would allow you to be there some of the time that your daughter is.
Remember, if you start her and it ends up being too early, you can always pull her out. Either way, I don't think that there is a wrong decision.35179
My daughter started at daycare when she was 18 months old and later on she move to the preschool classes. She was very shy when she first started and an year later she was a different kid, today she is very social, smart and caring35178
As a 4 year old preschool teacher, I would recommend starting with the 3 year old program. While our school is definitely developmentally driven, we do focus on academics more in the 4 year old program. Beginning preschool at 3 years old gives your child the opportunity to learn how to take turns within a group, sit quietly for circle time, walk in a straight line, raise their hand before speaking, etc. These are things that are easily learned at preschool in a small group setting and often times truly cannot be implemented at home due to the lack of a small group. With these developmental skills mastered by the time they reach the 4 year old program, we are able to focus on the next set of developmentally appropriate skills and begin working on the neccessary academics required for Kindergarten Readiness. This is not to say that children who do not go through the 3 year old program are at a disadvantage, it is just that we 4 year old teachers can definitely tell a difference between the children who have been to school before and the ones who have not. Hope this was helpful!35177
I enrolled my daughter in a home base program thru Headstart when she turned 3 years old. The teacher goes to your house one day a week for 1 1/2 hrs. She teaches at your kid's pace and the one on one really makes a difference. The teacher was great, she spent a lot of time exploring, doing arts, social behavior and academic came after. I had a great experience with this home base program. This year she is attending preschool and she is very advanced and the focus is greater in academics at the current school. I hope my experience is helpful.35176
I also agree it depends on your child and your family situation. My son is an only child and I wanted him to attend preschool in his 3 & 4 year old years in order to have some exposure to other children. I thought this was more important for us than academic because I spent a lot of time with him reading and doing other activities. I did want him to learn the other pre-academic skills like being able to sit and participate in a group activity led by the teacher and how to get along with other children and separate from the family. My husband didn't think this was necessary but I think it really helped him to make the transition to going to school all day in kindergarten. He was always a very shy child and really needed the exposure to the social situations.35175
I have a twelve year old son and a nine year old son. I sent my twelve year old to preschool only his year before kindergarten and only because he is old for his grade. My nine year old son didnt go to preschool at all. Im a stay at home mom and chose to keep them home. My boys are well adjusted and do wonderfully academically. To me, school is much more intense nowadays and I wanted to allow them to be little children when they in fact were. I work with preschoolers presently and find that most three year olds get very tired and have real issues with being away from thier mothers. Why push them if there is no real need?35174
It depends on the child...my daughter started at 3 and it was perfect for her as an only child...she learned lots while at the same time it enhanced her social skills. She's in Kindergarden now, still shy by nature but outgoing enough that she is thriving and doing great. Some of the kids in her class did not attend pre-school and you can see the difference in behavior and their basic knowledge of ABCs and 123s.76598
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