Going Against The Grain and Opting Out of Pre-K: Preschool is Not Your Only Choice

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My son, Kian, is four. While many moms have already found a pre-k classroom for their children, I am opting not to send my son to preschool.  I get asked often, does he go to school? Are you going to send him? And then people’s pitch changes when I tell them I don’t plan on sending him to pre-k. Pre-k is not the only option for families.

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Preschool Is Great

Preschool is awesome! For some kids pre-k is an introduction into an entirely new world full of learning opportunities. Kids become familiar with numbers, shapes, colors, letters, and tons more. A huge plus side is the social aspect of pre-k. Children need to play and interact with other children their own age. Therefore, I do get it, pre-k is awesome, and those families that choose pre-k, will only benefit from it. But I also think that keeping my son home one more year is a great thing. Let me explain why.

We Are Not Choosing Preschool

When I get the wide eyes, the change in pitch, or the question why aren’t you sending him to preschool? It makes me smile at the thought of what might be going on in that person’s mind. My stance is plain and simple. Kian is four, he has one more year to sleep in, to play all day, to hang out at home just being a kid, and since my belief is that learning for young children is primarily acquired through play, letting Kian enjoy another year of play outside of school, works beautifully for our family.

Kian is not fixated in front of the television all day long. Nor is he playing video games. Try and picture what I’m about to explain and you might see why I’m comfortable with my son skipping pre-k and you should too if that’s the choice you make.

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My 4-Year-Old’s Day

I find cool new things to do with Kian everyday. I pull a lot of activities and crafts from Pinterest. We play and take every opportunity to learn. We play house, we study flashcards, we paint, we build with tinker toys and Legos, we play with playdough, we sing, we dance, we tell jokes, we trace our ABC’s, we play memory games, we build puzzles, we run, we play outside in his playhouse, we kick the ball around, we bake, we google things we don’t know, we do chores, he swims, we take walks, we take trips to the library, we read everyday, we have the occasional outing to a museum, a water park, or the beach.  When I play with Kian I’m paying attention to him. What does he know, what is he struggling with, what are his interests, how does he learn best, and then I build on that.

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Building Character

One thing that has been a huge focus in our home are manners and social skills. Mr. Kian is very polite and well-mannered. I want to make sure his manners are strongly rooted by the time he goes to school, so he can tell right from wrong and be kind. I wanted to make sure we focus on the type of person he is rather than, how far he can count or how fast did he learn his ABC’s? All of that will be learned, there’s time… what we as parents have the opportunity to teach our children when they are very young are manners and how to be nice, kind, empathetic, and caring.

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There’s No Urgency, My 4-Year-Old Can Enjoy Being 4

I’m not saying we don’t focus on academics, we certainly do. But there’s no sense of urgency. I feel if I go over something new with him for 5-20 minutes max a day, every day, he will learn it eventually. And I’m okay with allowing a 4 year-old to take all the time he needs. I’m happy to see how much he’s learned. I think we’re doing okay, Kian knows how to spell his name, he knows his alphabet and can recognize all of his letters, he can count proficiently up to 30, he knows so much about animals like sharks, sloths, orcas, horses and so many more, he’s a joke teller!  We’re currently working on sight words and phonics. But everyday is about exploring, enjoying the day, and picking up tons of new knowledge along the way.

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He also gets in play time with kids his own age. I take Kian to an extracurricular class once a week, this is where he gets to socialize with children his age and is learning how to listen to an authoritative figure outside of his family. I’m proud of Kian and I’m happy with the job I’ve done so far.  But in all of this, I’m enjoying getting to know my son and watching him grow. And next year, I look forward to seeing him grow even more in his kindergarten class.

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There Will Be Many School Days Ahead

Once he begins kindergarten, he will have many years ahead of him in which he will have the school structure, homework, and all the typical school stuff. For now, I’m happy seeing him learn and explore outside of school.

As a friend, you should be happy and comfortable with whatever choice you make for your child. Every family is different and has different needs, so we all have to look within the 4 walls of our home and do what’s right for our own family.

Thank you for Reading!

(Listening to: In Our Dreams- Blake Lively)

 

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