I know that not everyone will share the views I express here, nor will everyone have the luxury of choice, as I do. But I want to explain why I will not be sending Munchkin to preschool.
I am a teacher; I have a Masters in Education (well, very nearly!); and I am a mother. I think therefore, that I’m pretty well qualified to make the following comment: we institutionalise our children into school at too young an age.
Children have to be in compulsory education from 5-18; that’s 13 years of their life! If we send them from age 3, that adds another 2 years. I wias in favour of the Cambridge review, which stated that children should not start formal education until they are 6, but that was ignored by the Government who commissioned it and the opposition at the time, so that was that.
I know that a lot of preschools and reception classes do have a play based curriculum, do understand the need for informal styles of education in the early years and do work hard to keep learning fun, but I’m a secondary school teacher and I have regularly seen pupils who are bored witless of school by 14 or 15 (just when they really need to be switched on) and all I can think is, they’ve been there pretty much all their life.
I didn’t go to preschool as a child, and I still felt pretty cheesed off with it all by sixth form (and staying until 18 was a choice then, unlike now). I didn’t do as well as I should have in my A levels and didn’t start working until I reached University and began a whole new style of learning and teaching.
I don’t think that we should institutionalise our children at such a young age, and yet I am also very aware that my daughter is at her most interested and like a sponge at the moment and I don’t want her to miss out on Educational opportunities. But, you don’t just learn in school, there are many other places and ways to learn and by not sending Munchkin to pre-school we have time to exploit those.
I also know that one of the things children do in the preschool and reception environments is to learn to socialise without their parents, both with other adults and with other children, but again, there are other ways to achieve this.
The choices we make about schooling among the most difficult choices we have to make for our children and only you can decide whether or not your child will benefit from preschool. As the Government said in their 2007 document about home schooling, “The responsibility for a child’s education rests with their parents. In England, education is compulsory, but school is not.”.