Someone asked about what I think about preschool. Those who know my thoughts on preschool may be surprised to find that I am putting Lauren in preschool this year. So I thought I would put my personal thoughts out there on the subject to answer both versions of the question.
Generally I am anti preschool. I haven't ever put a child in a preschool before. Well I did do a couple months of a co op preschool with Ann Marie before she started kindergarten but she was older for her grade and my normal concerns about preschool were not present in that situation.
I debated long and hard about whether to do preschool with Sabrina or not when she was 4. I did the research and visited a very nice school. She wanted to go. Ultimately I decided not to put her in. My reasons were as follows:
1) I was pregnant would have had a new born and Annie at home all that year. Who was Ann Marie going to play with if Sabrina wasn't home? How was I going to entertain Annie and take care of a newborn? Sabrina was so helpful. If there was a child I needed "help" with it was Annie or the baby. Why would I want to send off my big helper?
2) $$$$ Let's face it. I am just cheap. Half the reason I nurse if because I can't bring myself to pay for something I can get for free.
3) Sabrina is smart and social. I didn't feel like she "needed" the extra lessons or socialization.
4) Sabrina was young and often would come home from play dates sounding like her friends. I don't mean to say her friends said bad things. They didn't. But she adopted their tone of voice and their little sayings. I didn't want her to sound like Jane or Kate. I wanted her to sound like my Sabrina. I think she just needed a bit more time to solidify her own identity. Having the extra year at home helped and she didn't have a problem with this when she did start kindergarten.
5) I enjoyed doing preschool activities with Sabrina at home and loved watching her learn.
6) If I was going to send my child to preschool I wanted to KNOW the person teaching and the kids in the class. I was just freaked out about sending my little girl to a bunch of strangers.
7) After I decided based on the above reasons, I prayed about my decision and felt good about it.
I felt pretty much the same way when Annie got to that age except that I was less worried about #4 because Annie is Annie no matter what. I also knew people the people in the co op I did with Ann Marie really well and trusted all of them.
Now to Lauren. My first reason is pretty much turned upside down. If I keep Lauren at home all day I will be fending her off the baby most of that time. Let's face it, if Camille were still alive I would not be sending Lauren to preschool. She would be Camille's playmate. But Camille is not here.
I have a friend who runs a preschool and I trust her. I know many of the kids in her small class of 8. And most importantly I have prayed about sending her and feel good about it.
So the moral of the story is that while I am generally personally anti preschool, different situations, kids and families may make preschool a good thing worth the money. In my family and our situation right now I think that is the case for us. I guess we will see.
Good Luck in finding what is right for your family, child, and situation.