A few weeks ago a fellow mom put out a call to friends for information about local preschools. Her daughter is 16 months old. She stated that since her child was coming of preschool age she wanted to start researching schools for next year. All I could think was, "you're child is not any where close to preschool age!"
Having squandered that initial response I simply ignored the request for information. However, as the responses came in from a host of other moms - I realized how much I am in the minority when I think that 2 years old is not preschool age. Isn't 2 year old preschool little more than daycare? Can it really be that a child needs to attend preschool at age 2? or 3? or 4 for that matter? I just can't imagine that John will get anything out of "preschool" at the ripe age of 2 that he can't get in my living room, kitchen and back yard. We count the trains in his favorite book, sort silverware into the proper place in the drawer, catch colored fish in his fishing game, watch bugs and worms in the dirt by the swing set and do art projects at the dining room table. Really - is there anything else I'm missing? Social interaction I suppose. Oh wait - we have weekly playgroups, tumbling at the Y and storytime at the library.
Don't get me wrong. I plan to send my children to preschool the year before they start kindergarten. For John - that will mean starting preschool just 2 months before he turns 5. For Nathan - a few months after he turns 4 (unless we hold him off a year - that should make other mothers cringe!)
I know many of the moms who responded to my friends initial email have 2 or 3 children. They use "preschool" as a short break from mommyhood or a chance to run errands without children in tow. A few have a child in preschool because that child needs a special service of some type. Some of the mom's started their oldest in school because they were expecting a baby to arrive shortly and wanted to have some quiet "baby-only" time. But this isn't the case with the mom in question. She has just one precious, perfect little girl and as far as I know (and I'm pretty sure I know) she isn't expecting another any time soon. So I'm just not sure what her rush to get her daughter into preschool is.....
At one point in time I considered that I should be doing "more" with John but then I remembered that these days are so short. A few precious and golden years where kids are asked to be nothing more than kids. No homework, no sports teams, no over-crammed schedules. Just kids - playing with play-doh, cooking in the kitchen and jumping on the couch. When I have lapses and think I need to do more I always pull up the same post by a fellow blogger that always helps set my mind straight again. In due time, my children will attend preschool. They will learn their numbers, letters, colors, and much more. But for now - I'm happy letting my kids be kids.