The Pre-K Illusion

There's no substitute for staying home with your children.

Pre-k programs make me think of getting a puppy and taking it to the kennel during the work week. Nobody does that, yet thousands of small children are dropped off at pre-k programs as soon as they turn 4-years-old.

Pre-k programs may be a necessity and the smart choice for a single working parent, but by no means are they the catalyst of a successful launch into kindergarten and beyond.

It's common knowledge that the first five years of a child's life set the foundation for emotional and intellectual development. Way too many parents are willing to entrust that massive responsibility to a program that has time again been referred to as a glorified babysitting service.

Pre-k programs tout their play-based "curriculum" as high-quality learning experiences. What an anomaly. If "playing" is one of the most essential aspects of early childhood development (and it is) then it doesn't take a pre-k program to get the job done.

Playing with a child doesn't require a curriculum, schedule or specialized manipulatives to ensure tactile and cognitive development. These are all words selected from the dictionary by those with a vested interest in pre-k programs to justify their existence.

No one ever said it was going to be convenient to sit on the floor and play Thomas the Tank Engine every day with your 4-year-old. But no one ever said the pre-k program can do it better than you.

Pre-k programs are known to benefit lower-income families, and to that extent they are valuable to society as whole, reducing the cost of welfare on taxpayers. It is far too late to reverse the mindset that has burgeoned the "need" for pre-k, but that doesn't make the program an all-star player in terms of raising children. It is only second or third best.

Still, there are plenty of parents out there who believe it's their right of passage to engage in a full-time career at the expense of those first five years at home with their child.

I've had many friends tell me there's just no way they could handle staying home with their kids. I am always inclined to ask, "Then why did you have them?"

If it's such a sacrifice to stay home with the kids for a few years, then don't have any and just get a puppy instead. But don't think for a second that dropping it of at the kennel each day for "puppy play group" comes anywhere close to being at your side every day.

BE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST MATH TEACHER! – Teach Your Child to Count to 10 – ChildUp Early Learning Game Cards

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This entry was posted in Educational Games & Toys, Parenting & Education, Preschool & Kindergarten.

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