To send them to preschool or not?

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 2:02am
SpudBerry's picture
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Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

I would like as many responses to this as possible please. I'd like to hear everyone's opinion that has ever made this decision.

I have 3 main issues. The first and most important one being the PA thing, then there is the financial issue - sending twins to preschool is costly, then on the other side of the issue I've heard from several people that if you don't go ahead and send your kids off to preschool to be exposed to all the germs, that they spend most of the year too sick to attend kindergarten.

I live in a small community and so far (I'm still looking and calling) I haven't found a school that has dealt with a life threatening allergy before, so I feel like it would be up to me to invent the wheel so to speak.

So I'm calling and talking to EVERYONE I can think of that has an opinion and/or advice to give. So that always includes you folks out at PA.COM.

What I'm looking for is answers on both sides of the fence - you know like "Yes you HAVE to send them to preschool - otherwise XXX happens!" or "NO - we just skipped it, and sent them straight to K, and upon entering K - we found XXX to be true" I truly want a discussion from all sides of this issue in case there are things that I haven't even considered.

Thanks for all your input!

------------------
Sherlyn
Mom to 4 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not.
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 2:10am
Jennifer1970's picture
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Joined: 11/25/2002 - 09:00

Keep them at home and homeschool them. There is not a single reason why you can't. They'd be safer , you'd know exactly what they are ingesting at all times , you would be in charge of their learning enviroment.
Check your states homeschooling laws. I'll betcha school isn't even required til they are six. Where I live it's seven. Makes ya wonder why preschool is around.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:15am
Kay B's picture
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Joined: 12/30/2002 - 09:00

I'm a homeschooler who has sent both my dd's to preschool (1 to Kinder) so hopefully I can present both sides without too much predjudice.
The first preschool experience was a nightmare. They took my dd, (it _is_ the law!) but were so insensitive and hateful to her it became very destructive to her emotionally. It was plain they really didn't want her there. The next, a "Christian" preschool, accepted her but called the _day before_ class started to say all the teachers had voted they didn't want my dd there.
So, knowing there was probably no place with openings left at this late date, on my way home from picking up her epipens and materials I stopped off at a little preschool just to check. Like the mature, competent mother I am, I sat down in one of those little chairs and promptly burst out into a river of tears. Turns out the owner was a former pediatric nurse and the school was already peanut/nut free due to a child with unknown PA previously having an anaphylactic reaction during a project. She had to cobble together an odd days & times program for my little girl, but it became her preschool.
What a warm and welcoming place! It really made a big difference to my dd. She learned tons and had lots of fun. Kinder at the local PS was back to the same old nightmare, and after an emergency hospitalization, we ended up pulling her out beginning in 1st grade to hs because we feared for her life. But what I noticed was that children who had been to preschool before Kinder were generally more comfortable with order in the classroom, taking direction, and with the materials presented. Many were beginning to read. Of course, children who didn't go to preschool tended to be a little disadvantaged economically anyway, and maybe didn't get the home learning the others did in the first place.
My second PA dd goes to the wonderful preschool -- 2nd year now -- and I only wish they kept going. She will begin homeschooling with her older sister come fall. Don't get me wrong though -- I have come to love hsing, even if we were pushed into it.
Hope this helps,
Kay

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:16am
tcperrine's picture
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Joined: 03/01/2002 - 09:00

I agree on homeschooling. Children need their parents and playtime. Learning social skills at this age from a bunch of 3 or 4 year olds is NOT something you want. Even my friend who is a vocal advocate of the school system warned me about preschools/elementary schools and what your kids will pick up that you'll have to "learn to live with."
I disagree.
Good luck on your journey. If you are remotely thining about homeschooling, let me know and I will suggest a number of books and we sites. You might be surprised at how pervasive and well-accepted it is.
Carolyn

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:22am
Kim M's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2001 - 09:00

We waited to send our PA daughter to preschool until she was 4 1/2, much older than most children we know. So she had about 6 mos of pre-K before starting kindergarten this past September. There were several reasons. The peanut allergy was the biggest, combined with the fact that she is very shy and reserved, and kind of a late developer verbally. We were also moving around quite a bit, and it didn't make sense to get her started in a school, only to have to move her again.
I have to say that I had to do quite a bit of convincing of my husband to get him to agree to send her. He was very nervous about her allergy, and we ended up finding a peanut free school that we are very comfortable with. They go up to kindergarten, so we were able to keep her there for this year. I have to say I am very happy with the way things turned out. I am not at all sorry that we waited so long to start her, but on the other hand, I think that even the short time did give her a better preparation for kindergarten, and she has is just thriving now.
I wouldn't make exposure to germs your primary consideration. They are going to be exposed anyway, and I don't really think they are going to get that much protection by being exposed earlier. Home schooling is an option, of course, but I really didn't think it would work out very well with my daughter. She is very resistent to being taught or shown anything by both my husband and me, but just loves her teacher and is very open to learning in her classroom, and I'm thrilled with how well she is doing. There are pros and cons to each choice. It's a pain that you would be the first food allergy that the preschools in your area would have to deal with, and that's a lot of work on your part. On the other hand, if you plan to send them to public school, then it would give you some practice on dealing with the system ahead of time.
Bottom line, I don't think preschool is necessary, but I do think it's helpful, especially in helping children deal with the structure of an organized classroom. Getting accustomed to asking the teacher for help, raising hands, etc., can give them a leg up when they start kindergarten. And if most of the other children in the kindergarten have had preschool experience, then it can put them a little behind the eight ball at the start if your children haven't.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:22am
Donni's picture
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Joined: 11/06/2000 - 09:00

Dr. Wood at Hopkins said the greatest school-related risk for my son to have a reaction would be in preschool and kindergarten due to food being eaten in the classroom.
I chose not to send my son to preschool due to the risks involved. I just continued to teach him as I always did from birth...and still do!
At my first meeting with the principal regarding a 504 plan for his kindergarten year (2003-2004), I told her that he'd not been to preschool. She said it didn't matter--within 3 weeks, there's no distinction between the children who went to preschool and those who were "taught" at home. She said the greatest distinction within those first 3 weeks is that those children who did have a formal preschool experience were use to a routine. However, with preschool being a couple of hours a few days a week and kindergarten being all day for 5 days a week, there wasn't much similarity in the routine. As to which group of children learned better/quicker, there was no difference. The difference was in the child and the support of the parents.
I have to say that I have observed his class many, many times and have never been able to pick out which child went to preschool and which child didn't. I can, though, pick out which child has a parent/guardian who helps him/her want to learn and do well.
Where I live, a child is not required to go to kindergarten but only to have a "kindergarten experience." I chose to send him to kindergarten because of his strong desire to learn...and homeschooling is not what I really want to do. (That's a whole 'nother subject, eh?) It's been a wonderful experience for him. And, yes, there have been a few "close calls," and a few problems with the 504 plan not being followed correctly. I try to keep on top of what's happening, though, and bring problems, etc. to the principal's attention. I have to say--she gets things corrected and done right away. We're fortunate--the entire school staff is very supportive and all try to keep him safe to the best of their ability and knowledge. Although there are 4 students with a peanut allergy in his school, he's the youngest and is the only one who reacts by contact and possibly airborne. Every staff member (even the 6 grade teachers and almost all the substitutes) know who he is and what to do if they observe him having a problem or looking unwell. Most know me, too, since I'm the only parent who walks her child to his classroom and picks him up from his classroom each and every day.
Whatever you decide to do, stay involved. Be there at odd times and at expected times. Volunteer to help or provide supplies. You'll want to know your children are in a safe environment when you can't be with them.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:47am
toomanynuts's picture
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Joined: 08/23/2003 - 09:00

Hi!
IMHO I would say keep them home and homeschool them.
My dd is 3 1/2 PA/TNA. I homeschool her now for her preschool and I will continue for her further education. If she was not PA/TNA I would still homeschool her.
A lot of people ask me why I don't send my dd to preschool (in our area even Stay at Home Moms put their children in preschool)and I just tell them I do not see the need. She has a lot of friends, has playdates with one friend at least once a week, meets with groups of children throughout the week, has a weekly dance class, and plays at the park with other children. Plus she has the benefits of being home and going everywhere with her mom and dad. She is a very kind little girl and gets along with all ages of children.
She is very advanced for her age socially she is very smart academically - knows her ABC's, can count to at least 20, knows her address and phone number, knows all the colors, knows her full name and her parents full names, colors, draws, writes her first name, does arts and crafts during the day, goes through her 30 day homeschool curriculum in 2 - 3 days, can read, tell time, follows directions, and is a good listener. It is often hard to keep up with her and she can become easily bored but I intend to keep her learning and keep her life creative and fun.
If your children have other activities they are involved in and have friends to play with then why would you need to spend the extra money and the worry to send them to Preschool.
I think that the more time that you can have with your children the better. They really need to have a parent that can give them constant interaction more than they need a classroom of peers and just one adult. They have plenty of time for that when they are older. I think a parents influence is critical when they are young.
Most people that I know put their children in preschool for a break from them, for socialization, or because they are bored with them. I think it is sad when we have only a few short years with them and when they are old enough to walk they are put in preschool.
There are so many Co-op Programs, Moms Clubs, Parent and Me Classes or Activities that children could be involved in for social interaction and enrichement that far out way any benefits of a Preschool Program.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 4:02am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I think preschool can be a wonderful experience for kids, but it depends 100% on the particular preschool and the teacher(s) who would be interacting with your particular child(ren).
We are very fortunate to have a local parent involvement preschool run by a local school district's adult education program. My nine year old daughter was there for three years and my three year old son goes there, now. The teachers are wonderful and the other parents (for the most part) are kind, educated, and fun! The program is peanut and nut free. Each mom helps out one morning a week. (2 year olds go 2 mornings a week; 3 year olds go 3 mornings; 4 year olds - 4 mornings.) Another good thing about it is that it costs a lot less than private preschools.
If you decide to keep your kids home with you, I think it would be beneficial that they have experiences where they are part of group and need to listen to an adult other than you. So, community classes and/or library story times would be a good thing. Also, play dates with other kids and moms would probably be good for all of you. (But you already know that, I'm sure.)
Another thing I really like about preschool is that the kids are exposed to so many fun, messy activities that we don't usually do at home. This sort of takes the pressure off at home. However, if you like doing that sort of stuff and already do a lot of it at home, then that wouldn't be an issue.
Since your boys are twins I am sure they already know/are learning how to take turns, which is a good skill for kids to learn. As for the academics: I wouldn't worry about that at all. I am a firm believer that the preschool years are for playing and exploring. They will learn how to read and write when they are ready.
Look into the preschools you have available in your area. Think about whether your boys' lives would be enriched or stifled by the experience. Follow your heart and your gut.
Good luck!!!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 6:14am
BS312's picture
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Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

PA DD did not attend preschool due to her food allergies. She did dance and swimming instead and had a great year. There was no food involved and I stayed with her. She had no problems adjusting to full-day kindergarten. Re. the expense: Our local public school system has a program in the high schools where the Child Development teachers run a preschool. Teenagers work directly with the preschoolers. It is a great program for the little kids and is practically free. You might want to check with your local public schools. Good luck with your decision!

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 8:14am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I totally nixed the preschool idea for my kids because my philosophy was, that if I'm quitting my job, I'm going to just be home with them until they start Kindergarten.
Money was a not too big an issue, but $100/week did seem like a lot for the runaround that I'd be doing. And for what? More colds and sickness, worrying to death about peanuts, the aggravation of getting up early in freezing weather for at least 4 months out of the year...
The kids did get out though. I joined the gym many years ago and they'd go to the gym's playroom three days a week for two hours at a time. Lovely, responsible, and caring director and they had a blast too. Extremely helpful in dealing with peanut avoidance as well. This worked out well for me and them.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 8:19am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Oh, and even with Ryan not going to preschool, he had a 95% attendance rate in Kindergarten, and has had zero "true" sickness days thus far in first grade. His only missed day was due to pink eye. So that germ theory for him is out the window, perhaps it's all his handwashing [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I would never had believed that my asthma/PA child would get to January without a bad illness. Just amazing.
Now, knock on wood...
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited January 14, 2004).]

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