Does Your Toddler Have To Go To A Preschool? This Mom Asks

Are you wondering if your child should go to the preschool just coz everyone else does? Read this mom’s take on why she opted out of preschools for her kid.
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My baby becomes a toddler this year and suddenly the world started revolving around her schooling. Everyone around me wants to know when I am putting my child in a preschool. Have I prepped for it, they want to know. Is my child ready, they ask. The biggest question in my mind was – do I really need a school for a toddler?

Is there an alternative to pre-school? I am going to share some of my experiences and research, so if you are sailing in the same boat- read on. And honestly, this is not an anti-preschool article, this is just presenting my views on how I wish to raise my toddler! 

1. What skills does a toddler really need?

There are certain key developmental skills that are needed in the foundation years:

*Motor Skills (running, holding objects, turning book pages)

*Cognitive Skills (thinking, learning, reasoning)

*Emotional Skills (empathy, love, anger management, independence)

*Academic Skills (getting your numbers and abc-s right).

Now, most pre-schools focus a lot on the academic skills so the child will be school-ready by age 6. Believe it or not, some pre-schools even teach writing and reading by then!

However, most scientific research leads to a common observation that it is better for your child to know the way to figure out 2+2 versus rote learning the answer. Isn’t that what will help them in the future- the hows and whys? This is where other skills like cognitive come in handy to develop this logical reasoning, which will eventually help them in the long run. As the famous movie dialogue says – “paas ke munaafe se pehle door ka nuksaan socho.” (loosely translated as – before you think of the quick gain, think of the long-term loss). 

2. How and where is the child learning?

A typical pre-school is about 2-4 hours (I’m excluding day-cares. That’s a different facility altogether). Considering the child sleeps about 10-12 hours a day, he/she still has 8-12 hours of time with you, at home. You like it or not, he/she is learning by observing you – talking, working, singing, shouting, viewing devices, reading, playing, cooking, etc, So, most of the learning is actually happening at home. A pre-school, however, is a place where the kid learns with and from other kids. This brings me to my next point.

3. Most parents start a pre-school with the intention of giving the kid a chance to be with other kids.

As established earlier, your child spends most of his/her day with you. You are the best way for him to learn a language. As far as interaction with other kids is concerned, there are ways to ensure that happens, under your supervision. Here are a few ideas –

  • Playdates

  • Parent-Child classes 

  • Public Parks

  • Family time with cousins

4. The problem of competition

Let’s take a step back and think from a macro-level. In a life of competition and struggle, does a child really need the pressure of performance at a time when the kid is just starting to learn literally every skill? Do you run high-graphic videos, when your phone is just getting configured? Think for a minute. Your kid is still in the configuration mode, and he needs time to be ready to run the high graphic stuff of life. 

5. Ok, but where do I start? What curriculum or syllabus do I follow?

Opt-in for a mix of curricula at home rather than following a single school philosophy. So, just google the most famous global curricula like Waldorf (early 1900s), Montessori (early 1900s), Reggio Emilia approach (post world war 2), Charlotte Maison method (1800s), unschooling (1970s) etc.Here’s something that I try to follow –

  • Create a daily rhythm. Think of this as a startup and you’re the boss. So, set alarms and reminders for everything. Set a wakeup time and follow it. Here’s our usual schedule:

  • The best part here is flexibility. If you skip a day, no problem take it up tomorrow. There are high activity days and some very lazy ones. We do it together –  baby and me.

  • Travel and meet family and friends.

6. Choose what suits you:

Lastly, don’t decide basis this article or other articles you read. Do it. Try it. See, if it works for you. You can always change the system if homeschooling doesn’t work for you. As this eloquent line from a famous ad says – “Pehle istemal karein, phir vishwaas karein”!

Finally- remember to enjoy the process. Your child will quickly outgrow this stage and they have a life of learning ahead of them. So make the right start! Tell us in the comments below on what you think about sending your kid to a preschool. Aye or Nay, parents?!

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