I read a bit in Marguerite Kelley's column in this morning's Washington Post about a mother who isn't sending her child to preschool this year because "he wants to play, not sit in a chair and learn to spell his name". But she's still concerned about the fact that kindergarten is much more about reading and writing than it was and that he may be unprepared.
Well, preschool prepares your child for a lot more than just reading and writing.
That sitting in a chair thing? Well, if it's a good preschool (and my girls was), they're going to be spending plenty of time moving around. But learning to sit in a chair at a set time is something that prepares you for school.
So is getting in line for the rest room. Learning to take turns on the playground (and there was playground time every day the weather was up to it, even in winter at our preschool) and to share the toys.
Learning to be part of a group--that there are all kinds of kids and some you will like and some that you won't. Learning that you are not the only star in the sky, the only fish in the sea.
And there is learning these lessons from a teacher who may love you dearly, whom YOU may love dearly in turn, but who is not your mother or father and may be able to teach you to do things in ways your parents simply can't. Or in some cases won't.
Yes, you can teach your child well at home. You can fill their days with group activities like my story hours, enrichment classes, hands on activities at home and learning experiences in everyday things as simple as a trip to the supermarket.
But there are things a preschool can teach a child that you simply can't teach them in your home.
And those years my girls spent at their preschool were some of the best years of their lives.