This question popped in my mind while listening to our President deliver the State of The Union Address. He said that only 3 and 10 preschoolers are receiving a quality education. This statement caught my attention right away because I'm the mother of a toddler who will be of preschool age in a few years. I've always felt that early childhood education sets the foundation for academic excellence. I say this, yet I'm the only one of my mother's children who attended school prior to Kindergarten (which I skipped straight for first grade after headstart.)
I know plenty of children who never attended preschool yet seem to outperform children who did. I think it all starts at home, a child should have their first learning experiences at home. Not just learning words and manners, but academics need to start at home. Your child should learn the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors and everything before you send them off to someone else to do your job.
Don't get me wrong, I want my child to attend great schools. I have nothing against public schools being that I am a recipient of a public school education. I would never send my child to the schools I attended though, not because the schools are bad, but because the environments are terrible. I attended three elementary schools in Chicago (Laura S. Ward, Julia C. Lathrop and Brian Piccolo) of these schools, I feel that Lathrop Academy was the best. Things have changed a great deal since I was a kid though. I look at some of the kids today and I'm honestly afraid of what our future will look like.
I don't necessarily blame the public school system for the issues with children today because everything good and bad starts at home. There are some great teachers in public schools, but in neighborhoods where parents are ignorant and children are unruly, it has to be hard to do your job efficiently.
I wasn't for or against the CPS strike earlier this year. I didn't blame the teachers because I understood their frustrations, but I also didn't like the fact that the children were the ones who were to suffer the most had the agreement taken any longer to be made. My child is only a year old and I've already started researching schools in the surrounding cities for her to attend. I plan to buy a house in the next few years and one of my criteria will be based on schools in the area.
When I think of schools for Go-2-baby, I typically think of K-12 and beyond. Preschool is great, but I honestly haven't put any thought into looking into it until now. Preschool is great for the social development of young children. Being that Go-2-baby has a childcare arrangement where she can interact with other children, I never really considered school as an option before Kindergarten of course.
There are some parents however, who apply for preschool even before their children are born. The schools they apply for are of course out of my budget. These parents are quite serious about education to the point that they start planning for college before birth. I'm not talking planning as in a 529 savings plan or college fund, I mean planning as in choosing the school they want the child to attend. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this at all, but I just don't know how high I would value preschool in terms of setting the tone for a child's academic success in life overall.
I've personally become drawn to the Montessori style education. I've heard a few parents sing praises about the curriculum. I need to do more research on this. I also plan on putting a little more consideration into the idea of preschool. Maybe not one of those super expensive schools with an outrageous tuition, but something a little more than the neighborhood public school. I always see statistics around early childhood education and how it gives your child a head start at success.
I'll be looking to buy a house in the next few years and one of the main criteria involves the type of schools in the area. Charter schools were always an option for me even before I became a mother. A lot of the children I know receive a great education from Charter schools, but still in all, I don't knock the public school system either. It's all about the location of the school and the people who reside in the community. If you want your child to be successful you have to strategically position them for success. For some, this road to success starts with preschool, others not until kindergarten. In my opinion, it starts at birth.
What do you think? Does not attending preschool give your child less of a chance at succeeding in life? Personally, I think academic success, just like success in general starts in the home. That's my two cents.