Thursday, February 24, 2011

My toddler is growing up!

Sophia will be 3 in May, so she is at that in-between age: not yet a pre-schooler, but not exactly a toddler either. Today we tried for the first time to attend story-time at the local library. The librarian runs a great toddler program! The kids sit close to her on carpet squares, and she greets everyone by name, and leads them in singing and dancing. Sophia was shy at first, then jumped right in doing the wiggle dance, and imitating every hand gesture the leader made. I was surprised to see her so attentive and able to follow multiple actions in a brand new setting! The songs were new to her, and she can't read the lyrics on the screen like I can, so it's impressive that she caught on so quickly! Of course, when it was time for them to settle on their square and read a book, she was less interested. But once the next song started she was up and dancing again! After about 20 minutes of songs, activities, and stories, they brought out some boxes of toys for free play. And she didn't ask me to play with her or beside her like she usually does. She seemed quite happy exploring on her own, and sharing, and sitting inside the play tunnel. It was like watching her in a pre-school class, and she was doing well.

Which is why I am now feeling badly that I don't think she will be able to start pre-school in the fall. She will be 3 by then, and there are some programs around here for that age, but with my husband deployed and a new baby coming at the end of September, I just don't think starting school 2-3 times a week will be possible. We will probably spend a few months inside hardly going anywhere! But I will continue teaching her letters and numbers and colors, and doing some art projects with her. And once I am used to life with 3 little ones, she will go back to socializing with kids through play group and daycare. Do you think this is a suitable replacement for pre-school? What age did your child start school?


  1. My personal opinions on this happen to be strong, since many people here start their kids in "mother's day out" programs, 2-3 times a week, at like 18 months. So prepare to be ranted at :P
    a)most people in your situation would start their kids in preschool or a "mother's day out" program _because_ they now have 3 kids and no husband, a...nd that is one less kid worth of work (esp if you could find carpool to the pre-school.
    b) following from a, most people take advantage of pre-school as daycare, no matter what they are saying about the "learning"
    c)your child gets plenty of socialization through playgroups, playgrounds, story times, open play, etc, esp if you back off at such places and let them explore and handle the other kids by themselves.
    d) no learning is at good as one-on-one, adn they learn more about life in general from parents than any other people.
    e) people who try and convince you that either c or d is untrue are trying to convince themselves really, because they don't want to admit it was just easier to put the kids in preschool than take care of them.

    not that there is anything wrong with starting preschool at 3 (but 2? really?), but I don't think anything wrong wit waiting until 4 either.

    - Kristina W

  2. I think she'll do fine at home even if you didn't enroll her in preschool ever and just went with kindergarden. Really preschool in scheme of things is a relatively new idea for kids. Most of us who are sending our chlidren to school now, didn't go to preschool ourselves, and our parents almost definitely didn't attend preschool and we all turned out as intelligent, social citizens. She can learn so much from you and there are a ton of preschool activites you can do with her at home plus playdates are a wonderful outlet and learning experience too. Preschool is more about learning to follow rules and how to get along with other children---all things you can teach her on your own at home or in a playdate setting. In my opinion kids tend to learn more through imaginative "free" play than thru structured activities. Plus---they are constantly watching adults---they learn so much about life and how to act and behave and what is exceptable social behavior thru watching a parents actions and how paretns interact with others. You're an awesome Mommy and she's going to have years ahead of her to go to school, so don't feel you need to rush it.

  3. Knowing how awesome of a mom you are, I know Sophia will get all the instruction she needs as far as letters, numbers, shapes, etc. my worry would be the lack of social interaction which can't be provided unless she has other children around. Now I don't think preschool is the only way to learn that at all but if think you are not going to attending playmates or heading out to group events with the new babe then I think preschool would be a great idea. since it also occurs regularly you could build a routine with it. Sophia is going to need some big girl time with kids her own age and knowing my niece will need to be busy too! I don't think its wrong to also look at it as a break for you. You will have 3 kids close to 3 and under, with a husband deployed, you deserve a break of entertaining too. Now putting on my teachers hat I have to say that I think preschool plays an important role because it gives kids the interaction and learning experiences in a play environment. kindergarten is no longer the place where kids learn this. It used to be all about abc's and 123's and coloring and cutting in K, but now kids in K are expected to read, add, and write completed and connected sentences. yes, absolutely crazy but it is what it is. Anyways, I'll get off my soapbox now that I've given my $2 worth. in the end you know best what Sophia (and you) need. you are a fabulous mom and you WILL make it all work. XO

  4. Sorry about the typos and lack of capitalization in my comment. Just figured out how to read and comment on blogs using my phone but the darn autocorrect and I do not get along! :-)

  5. thanks for the feedback! this certainly gives me some food for thought. Deciding when to start pre-school is a tough choice, and one I have been toying with for months now. It is made worse by the fact that many places around here have a wait list up to 1 year, so we may have to "decide" and sign up for a list, before we have really been able to decide. I confess it is also a financial choice, too. There are free programs for 4-year-olds, but not for 3's, so you start to weigh whether $1,600- $2,000 for the year is worth it. I will keep looking and thinking about it. Expect to see more posts as I explore!