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Old 02-04-2005, 03:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is Pre-K necessary?

We are debating whether to send our almost 4 year old to Pre-K this fall or not? Does anyone know the "skill requirements" for a 4 year old?

My son knows and can write the alphabet, in both the capital and lower case forms. He also knows quite a lot of "opposite" relationships, small/big, tall/short, hot/cold, etc. He knows all the zoo animals, some street signs, different colors and shapes. He counts from 0-40 something, understands the before & after.

He also loves to draw on the chaulk / doodle board and is quite skillful on certain (educational) computer games. He is currently in home-care and has great interactions with other kids, bigger and smaller than he is. We are wondering if we should just skip go ahead and skip the Pre-K?

We are afraid that Pre-K may be a bit too boring for him. I have done some research on Pre-K activities and the "knowledge" a four year old should possess. I was surprised that some of the described skills for a four year old were so simple, that our son has already acquired shortly after he turned 3.

Does anyone have very smart toddlers? How do/did you handle the school curriculum?

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Old 02-04-2005, 05:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's why we send our son to preschool.
1. He's an only child so it's a great opportunity for him to develop social skills and make new friends.
2. It helps him get used to the structure of school.
3. They will have him do the occasional activity that we wouldn't think of.
4. He likes it.

He only goes 3x a week for 3 hours at a time.

You're going to need to figure out a way to deal with his advanced skills now- He'll probably be bored for the first 5 years of elementary until they start allowing advanced science, math and other GATE programs. If you have a choice in schools pick the school with the highest scores. It doesn't mean they have better teachers, it means that most of the kids are more advanced- so the teacher will be encouraged to move faster and provide a more challenging curriculum rather than "teaching the basics."
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Old 02-04-2005, 06:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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For points one through three I would say dtheriault is dead on the money... When kids are that young it isn't so much the cirriculum as it is socialization and getting used to the routine.
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Old 02-04-2005, 06:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Charlatan
For points one through three I would say dtheriault is dead on the money... When kids are that young it isn't so much the cirriculum as it is socialization and getting used to the routine.
That's what Kindergarten is for. Sounds like your son has all the skills. Let him be a kid for another year.
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Old 02-04-2005, 07:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Your son definitely has the skill requirements for a 4-year-old.

You can certainly go ahead and skip the pre-K. With his abilities he will do fine in K.

I agree with you that he could be bored in pre-K, but if the teaching is good he will (and should) be accommodated. Plus the social interactions will maintain his interest, and he will be a good example/helper to the other kids.

My daughter is in a Montessori pre-K and does her reading/arithmetic with the K kids (the class is mixed), as she was at about the same level as your son and was bored with the pre-K. She loves it. She'll be having her 5th birthday on Sunday and five of her classmates will be there.

Here in Florida pre-K is a formal part of public school; all schools begin with pre-K, essentially for the reasons
listed by dtheriault.
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think we will need to find out from the schools to know if it's OK to skip Pre-K? We also have a 2 year old (turning two at the end of April) and they play very well together. They loot the pantry together and usually get into trouble together. Most toys, DVDs, computer software are all educational.

If anyone is familiar with Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo (PC game) will know the game is not exactly easy. My son can now finish it unassisted after I went through with him about 4 or 5 times. I think he is definitely smart, but how smart? we don't know. I don't want to push him too hard at such young age. I was never pushed to get good grades but I did pretty well anyway. Knowing how long and tough it can be once he starts going to school, I kind of want him to enjoy the freedom while he can.

Another thing, our home care provider used to be a school teacher (elementary) so every week they have planned activities and sometimes fieldtrips. Perhaps we will try the part time Pre-K approach if it's an option.

Thanks for all your inputs.
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Old 02-05-2005, 01:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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We have been sending our 21 month old daughter to pre-school since she was 18 months old (she'll also turn 2 at the end of April, Sashime!). She is very advanced and already knows most of the things they are trying to "teach" the older kids as well as having a much more developed vocabulary than all of them, but we don't send her to pre-school to learn these things (obviously, as she knew all of them before she even attended), but to have fun and meet and play with other kids.

I've heard and seen too many disturbing stories of kids pushed to excel at a young age to the point that their only interaction is with kids much older than them. They don't develop socially as they are too young for their new classmates and too seperated from kids their own age.

A gifted child is always a gifted child and will remain gifted no matter what. But it is also important to remember that she is also a child.
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Old 02-05-2005, 10:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Your child doesn't need any "skills" for preschool. It's a great way to get them into a social setting though, and that is its primary purpose.
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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As a teacher who taught K for 6 years, I say no need to send him. It sounds like he is socialized. Why push him? (IMHO society pushes kids way too hard these days as is.) It is nearly impossible to get schools to allow children to skip grades; so let him enjoy one more year of freedom.

It sounds like you are giving him the most important ingrediant for success in school -- a loving caring family. Read to him (so he is use to the idea of story, sees reading as meaningful and fun, and learns to sit still without media to entertain him) and keep having fun with him. He'll do fine!
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Old 02-05-2005, 05:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Listen to sexymama.

She is actually a real expert in this area.

Me, I just make 'em.
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't think pre-K is necessary, if you are working with your son to learn letters, numbers and reading to him, but are there really any cons to sending him to pre-K? I can understand your concern that he will be bored repeating topics he may already be familiar with. I had similar concerns with my daughter.

We decided to send her, for the socialization and to get her familiar with the school environment. She really enjoyed going. It helped reinforce the basic skills, and covered the knowledge in ways that she hadn’t seen before (using coins for math, hash marks for counting, etc…). She ended up being able to read simple book by the time she started kindergarten, and she made friends that ended up being in her Kindergarten class.

For us it was a very positive experience.
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I think one con is: the kid's going to be in school for 13 years minimum as it is. Why push it?
In our town, they had great programs for children in the library and at parks for free or a small fee. Mine went to an activities group run by the township, two days a week, hour each til they were 4, 2 hours the year before kindergarten.
Pre-K seems to be some kind of scam for most normal and advanced kids and their parents, as if they MUST have it or they're losers and that's just bullshit. My kids both were reading and writing before getting into kindergarten and have been A students since day one and the only person who taught them until kindergarten was me.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Pre-K party got started and is "popular" because it's "Daycare" for the parents. I've known so many parents how have been eager to use preschool so they don't have to pay for daycare. In many cases it can actually be cheaper than daycare.

As a former elementary teacher and a mother of a 4 yr old I would suggest you not bother. Your son gets to play with kids in home day care which is a great environment to be in. He does seem bright and would probably do just fine when he's ready for Kindergarten. If you're concerned about him getting used to a schedule, I wouldn't worry, because he's bright enough to adapt. He probably gets a schedule at day care for lunch, naptime, playtime, story time, or such activities. I'm sure you have a schedule at home as well.

It sometimes irritates me when people act so concerned about socialization. How much is enough and how much is too much? There is no harm in a child playing alone at times. If he gets to play with other kids daily and with you as well then he's interacting with enough people to learn good social skills.

I am homeschooling my daughter for Kindergarten and have promised her that we'll talk about 1st grade and where she'll go. I promise you - she won't be going to public school. Only parochial, private, or homeschool.
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:20 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I would say yes to pre-K.

I am signing my son up this month on a lottery system and hopefully he will start in August (he just turned three). Luckily, we have a very good public school system in our county and I have no problem with my kids being in this particular school district.

And actually, it isn't my idea, it is his. He is jealous of his older sister going to school every day (we have year-round schools here) and he wants to go to school too.

He wants to be a big boy and he sees school as part of that process, so he wants to do it.

Judging by how well my oldest is doing (it would be at the same school), I have no doubt my son will be better off for it.
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Old 02-13-2005, 01:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Pre K doesn't really have a skill requirement, this is where they take the kids in and polish them up, teach them to recognize numbers, help them to write, and many, many other important things that will help the child develop faster. I believe that pre k is a head start and instead of the kid learning to read or write in Kindergarten, he/she will already know the whole idea of school after leaving pre k. It's a good idea. It's good to get them involved, being around other kids, developing social skills is extremely important for a child, it helps them become their own person and that way, as a parent, you are creating a very strong individual.
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:08 AM   #16 (permalink)
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We visited my brother (he teaches K 1~3) last week and he also said our 4 year old was quite smart. My brother asked my son some addition questions: "I give you 5 M&Ms, then I give you 2 more, how many do you have now?" To his surprise, my son didn't recount all the M&Ms to know the answer was 7. He counted 5 (what he already has) then 6 & 7. Some of my brother's first graders will recount from 1 to 7. I think we will let him "slack off" and skip Pre K this fall but enroll him as early as allowed next year in Kindergarten.
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Old 02-14-2005, 11:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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The thing I think that is different between preschool and these other options of which you guys speak is that preschool allows for more socializing with a larger number of "strange" children. It's primarily speculative, but I believe a lot of basic personality traits toward extroversion and introversion are developed at around that age, and preschool can allow your child to be more comfortable in that type of situation later in life (which happens a lot).
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Many people send their children to Preschool/pre- K because everyone else is doing it and they don't want to be different!!! This is exactly what we don't want to teach our kids. I did not send my son to Pre K because I didn't feel he needed it. We have always done play groups for "socialization" and he was by far more advanced academically when he went to Kindergarten. Kindergarten is there to allow the child to learn about structure and discipline. Let you children be children for an extra year. And if the real reason for sending your kid to "pre-K" is to give you some time away from him/her, just say that!!

Last edited by goodmama; 06-05-2008 at 05:44 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:24 AM   #19 (permalink)
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My girlfriend in PA just informed me yesterday, that children need to take an aptitude test just to get into kindergarten now. They needed to know the alphabet, count/recognize certain numbers, shapes/colors, and the ability to write their own name was also a requirement.

Outside of that, I believe Ironmaiden pretty much summed up my thoughts completely on the matter.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
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(This is a 3 year old thread. Feel free to add new opinions, but realize that most people who posted in the thread no longer have kindergartners).
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:01 AM   #21 (permalink)
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My little girl is 3 and currently in a Montessori daycare - I think that socialization with other kids is hugely important while still getting time to themselves. As a result, I see a lot of value in modern society - where kids are often only kids and their social circle is naturally smaller - to being part of Pre-K, daycare, nursery, whatever you want to call it.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:54 AM   #22 (permalink)
 
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Well, damn... my parents started me in a Montessori Pre-K when I was 3 or 4 and haven't gotten a break from school since. Here's to 25 years of continuous education! Maybe my parents should've given me the extra year to "be a kid?" (What does that mean, anyway? I LOVED being in school more than being at home--most likely because I was an only child, and easily bored at that.)
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:05 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abaya
Well, damn... my parents started me in a Montessori Pre-K when I was 3 or 4 and haven't gotten a break from school since. Here's to 25 years of continuous education! Maybe my parents should've given me the extra year to "be a kid?" (What does that mean, anyway? I LOVED being in school more than being at home--most likely because I was an only child, and easily bored at that.)
Same here. I was in a Montessori-style co-op preschool, so a couple days a week my mom came to school with me to help out.

Your child should already be familiar with the alphabet, colors, shapes, and numbers by the time they reach kindergarten. To truly be where they need to be, they should be working on learning to read and add small numbers prior to entering kindergarten. If your school district has only a full-day program, pre-k is certainly recommended; going from zero school to a full day of school, all week, is rough on kids who aren't used to it. Your child should also be well socialized--the kindergarten teacher (and teachers beyond that, on up to third grade) can pick out the ones that aren't. Obviously, preschool plays a huge role in socializing children, with a lot less work on the part of a parent.

Let's face facts: many parents are lazy or busy and lack knowledge when it comes to early childhood education. Yes, you could make sure that your child has all of these things under his or her belt before they reach kindergarten, but wouldn't you rather trust it to a professional? Preschool teachers--especially those in the Montessori or Waldorf methods--are professionals! They have gone to school to learn how to teach your child in the best way possible. They've already done all the legwork so you don't have to.

I'd say more often than not, preschool is a good idea. With Montessori and Waldorf methods, children still get plenty of time to be kids at school while socializing and learning important skills. If you're hesitant about letting your child go, co-op preschool is a good route.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:10 AM   #24 (permalink)
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JK (or Junior Kindergarten) is part of the curriculum here, all 3 of my sons started when they were just about to turn 4 years old. Only for the youngest did we even think about pre-school, where we just had him going to a weekly get together at the community centre.

At 4 years of age, they all were able to pick up on the socialization skills.

hmmm.. I just realized, that while the curriculum condensed highschool into 4 years (removing Grade 13) it also inserted JK and rebranded K to SK (Senior Kindergarten) so, we still have 14 years of school.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:43 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I went to two years of preschool and loved it even though I didn't need the education part (is there a way to mention being way above-average intelligence without coming a cross as a jackass?) My birthday is right on the line where my mom could have sent me to kindergarten early, but she didn't. My brother is also very intelligent and he was too hyper and uncontrollable to manage it. One of my good friends and his sister, also very smart, were enrolled in an extra year of preschool by their parents and they seemed to do pretty well.

I'd say preschool is a good thing if you can afford it and want your kids to have the experience.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:25 AM   #26 (permalink)
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My parents didn't take me or my twin brother to pre-K and it was a bad decision. I didn't know the alphabet before K, couldn't tie my shoes until 1st grade, couldn't spell very well, had a hard time writing, etc. Seemed like all the other kids were smarter than me which made me believe I was stupid all the way up through high school.

Then again, your kid seems very, very bright for how young he is so he would probably be fine without it.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Just a few points that you may or may not find interesting. Our son is 2 1/2 and is pretty smart as well... all his shapes and colors, many opposites as you mentioned, putting together simple sentences, counting to 10. TotalMILF and I have definitely already started thinking about pre-school and Kindergarten and we are hoping to get him INTO K early rather than the other way around. He loves socializing, so that's a big part of it, but if you find the right program it can be really helpful.

A lot of people are saying "let him be a kid another year"... well, school is part of being a kid. I was a "gifted" kid growing up and my scholastic situation was pretty much my downfall. In elementary school I was selected for the "TAG" (talented and gifted) program. One day each week kids of different age levels from all the elementary schools (K-6) were sent to another school and we took elective classes (much like high school is for most people). It was AWESOME. I took computer and programming classes, geometry, advanced history, future problem solving. I LOVED school and it always offered a challenge. Then Jr. High (7-8) started. It was a DISASTER. I'd already learned the vast majority of math and science that honors classes offered. They were not accommodating to those of us who had already been in advanced K-6 programs and most of us became intensely bored. High school continued that problem. By the end of 9th grade, the school didn't have much left to teach that wasn't just rounding out details from knowledge we already had. How could a school district with such a GREAT K-6 advanced program suffer so badly 7-12?

At any rate, the moral of the story is not to prevent your child from gleaning everything they can from education, but rather to make sure they are in a situation to really LEARN from Pre-K through 12th grade and beyond. Look at the local public and private schools. Look at extra-school activities. Your kid is smart for 4... don't you want him to be smart for 8? smart for 15? There is a point kids can become stagnant and go from "smart for 8" to "average for 15". Intelligence is one of the few things that stand out in today's society of "equality"... it's worth it to nurture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodmama
Many people send their children to Preschool/pre- K because everyone else is doing it and they don't want to be different!!! This is exactly what we don't want to teach our kids. I did not send my son to Pre K because I didn't feel he needed it. We have always done play groups for "socialization" and he was by far more advanced academically when he went to Kindergarten. Kindergarten is there to allow the child to learn about structure and discipline. Let you children be children for an extra year. And if the real reason for sending your kid to "pre-K" is to give you some time away from him/her, just say that!!
*shrug* To each their own I suppose. Around here, lots of people do NOT sent their kids to preschool. I think it's a bit obtuse to assume someone sending their kids to school early is to get some "time away from" them. I love having my son at home. However, I know HE loves his time at school. He goes to a "Early Childhood Development" program at Oakland University where my wife is a student. It's basically daycare (where he'd be anyway) with a massive educational edge. If he loves it so much, I think it's extra great. If he HATED it, maybe we'd find something else. Maybe not everyone can be stay-at-home parents? I dunno... I'm a bit confused at your point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Cub
My girlfriend in PA just informed me yesterday, that children need to take an aptitude test just to get into kindergarten now. They needed to know the alphabet, count/recognize certain numbers, shapes/colors, and the ability to write their own name was also a requirement.
I think that's fantastic. Far too many parents shirk their duties of parenting. I've seen/heard a lot of "oh, but he's just two... why should he know colors?", "oh, she's only four, why should she be able to count to ten?"... Seriously? Seriously! Parents (n.) need to parent (v.) their children and teach them. It's pretty much the primary purpose of being a parent!
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:36 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Xeph, you and TM might want to take a closer look at a Montessori method school; in Montessori children are placed into classrooms that aren't really grouped by age or experience; rather, they blend them so that the older or more experienced students can help out those younger or less knowledgeable than they are. It allows the child to move at a pace they select. Gifted children do very well in Montessori as they are given free reign to explore their talents, and encouraged to learn beyond what is typical. If you think your child is highly self-motivated and interested in their learning, that is certainly the route I would go.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:27 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I'd definitely put him in Pre-K...

My son just graduated kindergarten and in order for him to do so, he had to be able to read, add, subtract...I don't know about anyone else, but this whole 'No Child Left Behind' thing really stresses kids out...My entire soccer team was living for the weekend...It's alot of pressure these youngsters are under, so it if were me, I'd select a pre-k school that wasn't so hard up on academics, and more on doing fun, learning type things...
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:49 PM   #30 (permalink)
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IMO, Pre-K is just another excuse for the school to charge you for another year of school. Almost everyone one of us here did just fine with Pre-school and straight to Kindergarten.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:17 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Pre-school is highly over rated. If you are unable to give your child social stimulation, you are better off putting him in pre-k, but beyond that, it is a waste of money.

I am a volunteer in a kindergarten classroom, and by the end of that school year, the kids who did not attend pre-k are caught up with those that did.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:56 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Personally, I'm a believer in putting kids into PreK, even gifted kids, for two simple reasons (if nothing else): to help socialize them with other kids, and to help get them used to the pleasures and the frustrations of institutional education.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:38 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Personally, I'm a believer in putting kids into PreK, even gifted kids, for two simple reasons (if nothing else): to help socialize them with other kids, and to help get them used to the pleasures and the frustrations of institutional education.
Ding, ding, ding!

One crucial component for academic success is knowledge of routines and the ability to follow a routine and adapt as necessary. Where do kids gain that knowledge? Preschool.

Hate to say it, but many parents aren't so great at following set routines with their kids.
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:08 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Your son may do fine in Pre-K. Especially with the knowledge that he has already. I think the biggest contribution to sending a child to Pre-K is for him to learn to listen and follow instructions in a group setting. This could be done in the home daycare setting too though. One other main requirement is that he be fully potty trained. Do this for his sake and for the teacher's sake. Imagine handing 10-20 4 yr olds with only one helper and to have one wet his clothes and whatever he's sitting on at the moment.

I seen too many children who were not helped by PreK. I worked with a PreK class for a month this year. (I'm a teacher's aid and move from room to room.) There were a few kids who excelled and consequently got into a lot of trouble because they were bored and their creative minds thought of more trouble to get into. NOT a good start in school IMHO. I also saw too many of the 4 yr olds having trouble halfway through the morning because they were getting tired already. If your 4 yr old needs longer naps yet it probably would not be wise to send him.

Then there's my own daughter - I skipped Pre-K. I even skipped starting her in Kindergarten when she was 5 because she made the cut off date for starting by only 2 weeks. She would have been the youngest in her class and I could see that she wasn't able to manage sitting still for very long among other social skills needed for school. When I did start her she was only the second oldest and she had the social skills and knowledge to handle everything that came at her. She is going into 3rd grade and is the best reader in her class and one of the best in math skills as well. She has had very few behavior issues. I think she's an example of how waiting may actually be a good thing.

I know I haven't helped much by giving both sides but in the end, you've got to follow your gut. If you do I doubt you'll regret it. If you don't you'll be constantly questioning "Would he have had this problem if I'd..." Good Luck.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:22 AM   #35 (permalink)
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I'm sorry - how is this philosophy again?
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:33 AM   #36 (permalink)
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I don't believe Pre-K is necessary, I think it's more of a personal choice. If you feel your child can benefit from such a program, then you should utilize what is available. You have to weigh the pros and cons and there are cons.

Depending on what type of program you choose, private, public, small setting, large setting, religious, non-religious etc., children will learn different things. Some learn how to be sassy, how to back talk, how to hit, how to be mean, how to steal, how to belittle and make fun of others, how to lie, the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and the pleasure of storytime.

Valuable lessons can be learned in Pre-K. There are also lessons learned that are not so valuable. Early exposure to the not so savory side of other children isn't necessarily a good lesson. At this age, even a year adds to their maturity and ability to deal with different situations. A child who is sensitive by nature, or a parrot of other children may benefit from waiting until formal kindergarten.
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:48 PM   #37 (permalink)
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nope.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:46 PM   #38 (permalink)
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None of my kids attended pre-K and they did pretty good.
Bears mentioning, though, my oldest daughter suffered (in the bureaucratic sense) from an early immersion into group think. They said she was ADD. I disagreed. In the end, I believe I was right and she was Mandy. She's still Mandy.
Be wary of everything the public schools tell you about your children. Follow your instincts.
That's what I learned.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:43 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I understand that this thread is quite old and the parent debating the particular issue has since seen the child progress through school.

I do not have children, but I am involved with early education advocacy. (In the state of Ohio.) Of course I am mostly an advocate for the children who fall through the cracks, but all children benefit from quality care. The parents who are visiting this thread are very proactive in their child/ren's academic and developmental success. That's good parenting. An excellent education starts at home. There are PLENTY of resources out there for parents who choose to keep their children at home.

I do think it's a personal choice for parents to decide whether or not their child attends a Pre-K program. I think it's something between 60-70% of children under the age of 6 are in some sort of "out of home care." It varies greatly though as I believe that statistic includes relatives who babysit.

There are higher expectations on children before they enter Kindergarten these days. (I know, I know...let a kid be a kid.) The field isn't the "daycare/babysitter" stereotype that it once was. It is becoming a highly regarded educational field as this is the beginning of an educational pipeline. If a child is ready to learn before they enter Kindergarten they will have a more successful academic career for not having to play catch up.

If you do choose to send your child to preschool, please make sure to research the standards of care in your area. There are 16 states in the US with quality measuring programs for early care and education centers. Ohio is one. For parents debating this issue, I suggest researching the centers around you. Ask about classroom ratios and what sort of quality metrics are in place. Be THAT parent. I know I will.

So yeah, you don't have to listen to me since I don't have children, but I am ingrained in this work. Personally, when I unleash offspring out in this world I will place him or her in a pre-k program. I will be taking advantage of every opportunity.

I could go on and on and on and on about this, but I won't.

Thank you parents for all that you do for our future!!
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:56 AM   #40 (permalink)
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This has been an interesting read. Throughout the thread I've reminisced about my preschool days, two years before K. In all my memories, I have only thought of one thing I learned; I must have enjoyed the experience. My little brother went to the same preschool. Recently, I was curious if he remembered where a dream catcher had come from, and he knew I made it at one of his preschool events.

I'm pretty sure it's far from necessary, but could be very worthwhile. I almost want to say the kid's opinion should be the primary factor deciding on pre-K or waiting.

Now that I think about it, I may not remember learning things because there was little informational instruction. If it was all participating in various activities, intended to be exposure to thinking, its value is probably 99% dependent on the child's out of school exposure to similar things. Though, even if a child has lots of things to spark their mental exercises, their environment is limited to what is provided, directly or indirectly, through the parents. Preschool or other similar situations not influenced by parents' life and personality would be an addition.
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