It seems like an age old question, but should children go to preschool? I do realize that for some, this is a necessity because of situations where both parents work outside the home, or the parent is single. However, in my situation my wife stays home with our kids. The question has been on my mind a lot recently because before I know it, my eldest will be 4 years old. When weighing the pros and cons, they usually fall into 3 categories: financial, social, and academic.
If we enroll our child in the preschool we've looked at (which would be one of a few I would feel comfortable sending her to) it would cost approximately $19 per day. Put another way, around $228 per month. Is this the best use of our money? Couldn't this money be better spent on other learning experiences? From a purely financial point of view, even though this school may be cheaper than other alternatives, it doesn't help us save a dime. In the end, we are still spending money.
One of the main aspects that would benefit our child would be increased interaction with peers. However, enrolling her in preschool may be filling a social void that doesn't exist. She interacts with her peers at least once a week either at church or through MOPS (mothers of preschoolers). On top of this she regularly spends time at the neighbor's house playing with their children. So does she need to be even more social?
I'm going to gloss over this one a little bit, but there is no academic benefit to sending her to preschool. We regularly work with her on counting, vocab, and basic motor skills, and according to our sources (a family friend who teaches kindergarten) she is right where she needs to be. As you can probably tell, during the course of writing this post I've pretty much made up my mind. Preschool offers no benefits that couldn't be achieved inside the home and with supplemental activities. I know this is going to be an overgeneralization, but society has shifted in such a way that we expect to only spend a few hours a day with our children. If I dropped off my child when I went to work, and picked her up on my way home, I would spend approximately 16% of the day with her. It is a scary thought that someone other than my wife would be responsible for teaching, punishing, caring for, and molding my child 84% of the time.