In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Preschool: Yea or Nay?

Christa is the only Vogt kiddo to attend preschool. Her older siblings all started school with first grade. And Josh didn't attend "real" school until third grade because I homeschooled him through second grade.

I have friends whose children attend public shool. Others attend charter school. Some attend private school. Still others are homeschooled--sometimes all the way through high school.
Education is a hotly debated topic: What's the best choice--which sometimes seems to boil down to is my choice better than your choice?

Now an article in Newsweek touts the vital importance of preschool. Preschool isn't just about academics anymore, according to author David Kirp, who wrote The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics. Kirp says long-term research shows that a child who attends preschool:

  • will have a higher income
  • are less likely to be involved in crime
  • more likely to graduate from college
  • have happier lives

Don't we all want that for our children? My question is: Can they only get those things--success, happiness--if they attend preschool?

Kirp describes the ideal preschool as having a "well-educated, well-trained, responsive teacher." He also says classes should be small, with appropriate activities for a child's cognitive, social, physical and emotional development.

I've seen this kind of environment within homeschooling families, as well as within "regular" classroom situations. I've also seen lazy homeschoolers and lazy "regular" teachers.

Preschool was the right decision for Christa, just as I stand by my earlier decision to not put her brother and sisters in preschool. Josh, Katie Beth and Amy are enjoying happiness and success--although the girls sometimes grumble about their college classes. Josh is a college graduate and loves working in publishing, although living in NYC plays havoc with his income.

My bottom line: Education is a choice. Nowadays, there's a lot to choose from. No matter what you choose--homeschool, public, private, or a mix thereof--a parent has to be involved with their child's education. It don't come easy.


At 11:21 PM, Blogger kwolph said...

Your ending credits really hit the target for children's education. Its a choice and more importantly, it is the parents choice to know what is best for their particular child.

I represent New York Kids Club in the Manhattan/Brooklyn Heights area and NYKC is currently offering Free Fun Day at our facility of Jan 11 and 18 to give individuals in the community multiple chance to see what we can offer their child in terms of fitness, learning, and socializing. Kids have the opportunity to try out equipment, meet teachers, and socialize with other kids to see how well they it there too. Its better option than just sending our child to some preschool because that is where all your other children went. Teachers change, school conditions change, and it is the parents responsibilty to know their kid is getting the care they need to grow and develop. Look for similar free trial offers for alternative schools in your area.


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