Is 3 year old Preschool really that big of a deal?

@vivasuzi (4125)
United States
February 15, 2016 4:46pm CST
I have a few friends who are adamant that their kids will start preschool this year even though they will only be 3. There is no ifs, ands or butts about it. Even though they are stressed about potty training by then, and even though some of their kids aren't quite ready mentally either, they say they gotta go gotta go gotta go! I really don't get it. My daughter started preschool this past fall at 4 (she turned 5 in January). My niece started preschool at 4 also, and turned 5 a few months later. My niece is now 6 and doing great in kindergarten. My daughter is doing wonderful in preschool and in the top group in her class. So I asked my sister "why are my friends so dead set on sending their kids to 3 year old preschool? What is the rush?" and she explained she knows why.... because EVERYONE else does it! Apparently in her experience my niece and my daughter are the only kids she knows that did not go to 3 year old preschool. She said her friends bugged her about it and wondered why she wasn't concerned her kids would be "behind". Now they should see that my niece is smarter than the average kid - reading at a higher level, writing and doing math beyond her age, soooooo that theory isn't panning out. In my daughter's preschool most of the kids had never been to school before, so at least she's not the only one I know starting school "late". But is it really late???? I have a friend who lives in Germany now who said it's common for kids there not to start school at all until they are 6. I read articles about Finland kids being ahead of the US in brains, yet they believe in lots of play at young ages and not structured learning. In my opinion my friends have it all wrong. There should be no rush or pressure to start your kid in school. Ok if they are a social kid, who is potty trained, and ready to go, then sure why not. But if it is causing a lot of stress trying to get your kid ready, then just wait! I never even considered sending my daughter to school when she was 3. She is a very shy kid and I know that would not have gone well. At 4 she was still shy but she was more prepared and old enough to understand. So far she is doing great and I don't think skipping "3 year old" preschool has hurt her at all. Do/Did kids in your life go to 3 year old preschool or wait until they were 4? Heck i know kids who didn't do preschool at all and just started at 5 with kindergarten! Thoughts? Opinions? Comments? Please share!
11 people like this
8 responses
@AliCanary (1853)
26 Feb 16
My bestie is from Serbia, where they start first grade at the age of seven, rather than six, as is common here. I don't believe they have preschool. He is a college graduate (albeit one who finished up at the ripe old age of 23) and highly intelligent, so he seems none the worse for wear. I did not go to preschool or kindergarten, started first grade at 5. I suspect that if they were being HONEST, these parents might have to admit that "everyone is doing it" is a convenient excuse for them to hand their annoying toddlers off to someone else to care for.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
26 Feb 16
Actually one of the moms that is adamant her kid needs three year old preschool is also the mom nonstop whining how she doesn't want her kids to grow up and where did my baby go :/ she dives me nuts with that lol. She seems to think Preshool will "fix" some of her kids issues. I think he needs more time. Examples like yours go to show how the US has it all wrong when it comes to education. I'm glad I waited with my daughter and 4 year old preschool is mostly a daily playdate for her now, not a lot of sitting around. Teacher said the longest stretch they sit is 15 minutes which is not bad at all.
1 person likes this
• Rochester, New York
16 Feb 16
My eldest niece started Pre K at 4 and so did her sister. Their school days were only half days so it worked out pretty good. They went M-F but there were two sessions. An AM session and a PM one.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
16 Feb 16
Yes that is what my daughter is in now, it's really only 2.5 hours and it is MOSTLY play. Their only goal is to be able to write capital letters and be able to count to 20. Pretty simple and mine went in knowing that already, I sent her for the social aspect and she's grown a lot! Her shyness is finally fading :)
@much2say (39987)
• United States
16 Feb 16
My kids did not go to preschool. Instead we took a lot of different classes together all the way until they started school full time. We spent a lot of time being active as a family. They did just fine and were never behind - in fact, they've always been ahead!
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
17 Feb 16
Sounds good to me :) For my daughter, we did a lot of stuff with her and taught her a lot "in the real world" before school even started. I think that helped a lot.
1 person likes this
@much2say (39987)
• United States
17 Feb 16
@vivasuzi That's exactly it - we gave her experiences "in the real world" as we know school does not teach everything. Having a foundation at home is super important - not just knowing your ABCs and 123s.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
18 Feb 16
@much2say Yep people are often surprised at the random things my daughter knows just from all the vacations we've been on and things we do day to day.
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17867)
• Fairfield, Texas
16 Feb 16
My daughter never went to a pre-school @vivasuzi ; she just started kindergarten at 5. My problem was that I taught her too much, so when the teacher said Lisa couldn't even count to 10, I went nuts. I stood with my daughter in front of the teacher & told her to start counting until I told her to stop. Imagine the teacher's surprise when she went to 100 AND THEN I had her do it in 2 other languages. What happened is that my daughter was 'bored'. That was my big mistake.
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
17 Feb 16
That's not a mistake :) You can never teach your kids too much! I know a few kids who were very smart already going into school that were bored! It's just a lesson learned and I'm sure from that day forward your teachers knew that your kids were ahead of the game. In my daughters class they put kids in groups based on how much they know so that they can teach each group something that is new to them. My daughter told the teacher from day one that she can count to 100. When the time came for evaluations in January, the teacher said OK show me how high you can count and yep she went all the want to 100. So needless to say she's been doing well in preschool. It's the social aspect was the main reason I wanted it for her. She was born shy and I definitely see preschool as helping her to open up and make new friends.
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17867)
• Fairfield, Texas
17 Feb 16
@vivasuzi Socialization is key that's for sure. What scares me today is the bullying that goes on. And teacher's really can't do much because when they do, the parents get all ugly about it. And these bully's know exactly who to pick on. Just make sure your daughter comes to you immediately and knows she can if there is a problem.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
18 Feb 16
@nanette64 So far this isn't an issue but it's only her first year so hopefully it's not an issue in the future. I've noticed when a kid gets pushed or what-not that the teacher talks to them and has them apologize. Most the parents for this preschool I know and I would think we are all on the same page. She has a very quiet preschool class - they are all so calm and shy that it kind of makes us laugh. We'll see how it goes as she gets older!
1 person likes this
@Scindhia (1943)
• Chennai, India
16 Feb 16
My son went to preschool at 2 years and 11 months as that was the prescribed age criteria for the schools here. I was worried that it was a bit early. But he was already potty trained, so no issues there. He enjoys going to school now.
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
17 Feb 16
Glad it worked out! And yes being potty trained helped a lot. Some of my friends are having a lot of trouble in that area and since you usually register for school by April, they seem to have a big rush.
1 person likes this
@Scindhia (1943)
• Chennai, India
17 Feb 16
@vivasuzi Now I have to start working on stopping him from wetting the bed at night. With each age there seems to be a different challenge!
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@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
18 Feb 16
@Scindhia :) I kept mine in pullups at night until she was 4 even though she woke up dry for a long time. It was just for my piece of mind and not having to worry about it. Luckily she has never had an accident since she stopped wearing pullups (at least not at night, she has had the random incident where she was too busy playing to make it to the bathroom but that's nothing big)
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35615)
• United States
16 Feb 16
My kids didn't start school til they were 5 and if we had pre school at 3 no way would I have sent them. They need time to be young and play and learn, have friends.
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
17 Feb 16
Yeah I just don't see it as being all that useful for a 3 year old. I mean if the kid is doing well at home and bored and likes to socialize, then go for it. My daughter would have spent most the time hiding and being shy, it wouldn't have worked.
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35615)
• United States
17 Feb 16
@vivasuzi It would not be good for all 3 year olds, I think it all depends on the child like you said if the child is shy and would want to hide it would not do for her.
1 person likes this
@hexeduser22 (5853)
• Philippines
16 Feb 16
I don't plan to get my daughter to school at the age of 3. I went to school early and I had to stop for a year because they thought it was too early for me. It was lonely to see your friends going to school and you are stuck at home with no one to play with. Don't follow your friends. I guess they are just trying to ride the trend
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
17 Feb 16
Yeah my daughter is older than my friends kids, so I already didn't do what they are doing. It's just funny to me, I don't get the big rush!
16 Feb 16
I think preschool at age 3 if it is PLAY BASED is great. It's good for kids to go somewhere without mom and dad and socialize with other kids. I don't however think structure or education should be pushed at this age. I view it more as supervised play group. I also dont think that waiting until age 4 is a bad thing either.
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
17 Feb 16
I am all for playgroups at that age, don't really think kids NEED to be away from mom and dad at that age. We took my daughter to storytime but I was there with her and it helped her to take it slow. She would have done horrible if I had to drop her at some place and leave her at that age. And yes waiting til 4 definitely is not a bad thing :) Thanks for your comment