We Are Saying No to Preschool

Image via Flickr/ woodleywonderworks

It was during a coffee break with friends when I first heard how prevalent attending preschool was these days. Someone had mentioned signups for the upcoming school year were fast approaching, and the atmosphere in the room suddenly became excited and intense.

“Oh, I'm so looking forward to having both kids in school!”
“Thank goodness, Callie will be in all-day pre-K this year because, last year, when she was 3, it was only a half day!”
“I can enjoy the house being in order again!”

Someone asked me where my daughter would be going, and I said she didn't turn 3 until after September 1 (the rule in our state), so she was still too young for preschool. My friends gave me a sympathetic look, and, as a consolation, reminded me to enjoy my last year because they really do miss having them home. Honest. 

{ MORE: How to Deal with Back to Preschool Stress }

To be honest, the idea of my daughter going to preschool had never crossed my mind. Actually, when she was born, I was thrilled her birthday meant she would be home with me until she was almost 6-years-old and that I would be able to squeeze out an extra year of having her all to myself.

Since I never went to preschool, I naively assumed only the kids whose parents needed to work attended, as it was a cheaper option than daycare. It never occurred to me that parents started their kids on the academic track early just because. Not that there is no reason for preschool — I understand the benefits — but I assumed I could fulfill them myself. 

{ MORE: Why My Kids Start Nursery School at Age Two }

We work on our letters and numbers daily, as well as sight words. We sing songs, play, and learn to clean up after ourselves. My daughter attends group-setting extracurricular activities with other preschool-aged kids to keep her social development on track. I just haven't seen the need to send her off to school where she will be taught the same things I'm able to do at home — where I can watch her learn right in front of my eyes.

I mean, these are the things I'm qualified to teach her, you know, the alphabet. I have to send her to state-mandated school for kindergarten and beyond because the education she would receive from me if I homeschooled her would be pathetic. “Yes, we are skipping math this year because it's awful and boring.” Not exactly a great life lesson. 

{ MORE: Learning at Home: When Your Child Is Not in Preschool Yet }

While, admittedly, it would be easier for me to be a work-at-home parent with only one child at home instead of having to pull all-nighters for the ability to grab some kid-free hours to work in silence, I don't see myself changing my mind down the road. Preschool was never in my parenting plan, and that's OK. For some parents, they remember that preschool enhanced their lives and prepared them for kindergarten, and they want to give their kids the same opportunity. It's all in how you were raised and in what you're comfortable with.


We're saying no to preschool right now. Thanks, anyway.

What do you think?

We Are Saying No to Preschool

Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to her 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and her 18-month-old son, Jackson. Her writing can be found all over the web, mostly detailing her own parenting struggles and triumphs, as well as her life as the military spouse of an active-duty airman. She also writes about her life as as a special needs parent on her blog, Tales From the Plastic Crib, and spends an unnecessary amount of time on Twitter. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Absolutely love this! It is how we feel too and it is refreshing to hear your words.

  2. alex says:

    I sent my two older boys to PreK. One of them attended PK3 at a private school and received AMAZING education(not only on paper, but that was when he started to really use his manners). We couldn’t afford to send the two boys the following year(being only 18 mos. apart), so they both stayed home. However, when my oldest was in Kindergarten, the younger was eligible for PreK, I’d been a stay at home mom for nearly 6 months, and we’d already gotten into the habit of doing “homework”, so he was ELATED when he was accepted into the program. My kindergartener came home with a black eye more than once because of an “accident” and was “accidentally” not fed lunch a few times. My PreK[er(?)]’s teacher told me that my son was too far advanced for what she could teach him and strongly urged me to get him into an advanced program. When I looked into it, I was knocked down at every door. Now I homeschool the both of them and will do so with my daughter and youngest son when the time comes.

  3. Monique says:

    Well, my girls loved prek 3. I would just keep them home when I felt like it and take them in late. They learn a whole lot more than just letters in preschool. I also have so many cute memories with the in school activities with them. I don’t feel that way about preschool. We loved and said “yes” to preschool!!! it’s the cutest years of a child’s life. It also prepared us as parents for the real school years. It like slowly gets us used to the idea of dropping our kids off but with more flexibility like I said above going in late sometimes or keeping them home sometimes to snuggle. The transition this year to kinder was as easy as 1-2-3 because of preschool.

  4. Carli says:

    I taught preschool for years. I also worked in Title 1 for elementary kids and worked in special ed. As long as parents spend quality time with their children, teach them the basics, and keep them social, there is NO need for preschool. Kids benefit much more developing a loving secure relationship with parents and family than trying to please strangers. Happy and emotionally well adjusted children is what is most important. Sad to say, some children do not come from families that will support them this way. In those cases, preschool is a wonderful thing. I had one child who loved his preschool and two more that never attended. I love my kids at home

  5. bee says:

    my daughter is also a sep baby and i dont c why to put them in pre school it all depends on d parents situation i guess, i went over letters numbers colors addition and some “science” experiments wich made it extra fun ,but everyone has their own reasons .

  6. Jenna says:

    I love this! I have always felt very strongly that most kids really do not need to be in preschool and that parents are duped into paying for something they do not need to pay for. I can understand if you work, you’d rather pay for your child to be learning every day than just sitting around in daycare, but if you are home all day, I don’t know why people are so excited for preschool. They are only little for such a short time and then they will be in school and making friends. Enjoy these young years while you can!

  7. Rachel says:

    We are also saying no to pre-school. I myself was home schooled until 6th grade and I believe that it was one of the decisions made by my parents that gave me a huge advantage over my peers. I had plenty of healthy social interaction with kids in a variety of ages and my mom was able to take me to all kinds of places on field trips that my public school friends didn’t get to go on. My parents weren’t rich-my dad was a pastor and my mom stayed home to teach my brother and me. They had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to provide us with that opportunity. We both still played travel sports, took art classes, and when we entered public school were both popular and well rounded. I’ve been a public school teacher for the last 10 years and I’m honestly terrified of when the time comes that I may have to send my son to public school. I worked hard to find a position that would allow me to work from home once I had kids so that I could ensure they have the skills necessary for a happy and successful life. This has always been the game plan for me and my husband. Do I think homeschooling is the answer for everyone? No, absolutely not. But I also laugh at the argument that pre-school (or any other school) is the only way for a child to learn what they must and be happy. I’ve seen too many high schoolers that have had too much school and not enough attention from mom and dad.

  8. Toshi89 says:

    My mother is a teacher and I am an education major, who went to pre school, but you can learn at home the same things. That includes cognitive things and that the world doesn’t revolve around you. My children aren’t going to pre school, in fact they will bemail homeschooled until at least middle school. As a parent is our right to choose our children’s education and honestly they benefit from all different kinds. Not going to school doesn’t make you selfish or non sociable.

  9. JennyCorbett says:

    We chose preschool because it’s a co-op, and therefore less expensive than attending several different group classes. My kids have loved it, and I get to be in the classroom to watch them learn – as well as learn how to be a better parent by watching the teachers handle the kids. It’s been invaluable for us, but there’s nothing to say that this can’t be accomplished in the home.

  10. amgray31 says:

    Please let her decide what to do with her children, and don’t try to make her feel guilty about it! My husband and I spent months researching options for out boys for school, including talking to many educators at different levels (pre-K – high school). I was surprised that nearly every teacher encouraged me to homeschool, and the preschool teachers were among the most insistent with that. In the end, education is just like every other parental decision (breast v bottle, epidural v non-medicated, etc) – it’s personal and should be supported not judged.

  11. Jennifer says:

    As a preschool teacher I have to say people should really say yes to preschool. The things we teach in our classrooms is so important. And no it’s not just about the learning the letters, letter sounds, recognizing numbers and knowing the quality for them, it’s not the learning how to clean up. It’s the social emotional aspect, the gross motor and fine motor, and the congnnitive aspect that they will learn as well. They will make friend and will see them daily. There is a lot of things preschool can teach your children that you just can’t at home. Also with how everything is changing its making it more important to attend preschool.

    • AngelA says:

      I plan to sign up my 4 years old Story time at the library, maybe swimming lesson, and ballet…she will get her social skills elsewhere

    • AngelA says:

      I wish preschool helped with the bullying that occur today.it seem like it is not doing anything as far as social skills. Otherwise,my child would never be bullied by the same kids he went to preshool with (private prep school) . it seem teachers allow peer pressure to discourage negative behavior . not that it is bad thing but I just feel preschool does not solve anything as far as social skills.

    • alex says:

      My children have plenty of social interaction outside of “school”. It is very unfair so say that a child can’t have good friends without going to preschool.

    • Kelley says:

      I’m an Elementary & Special Education teacher and have also spent time in Preschool Classrooms. I have no plans to send my daughter to Preschool. I will make the extra effort to involve her in social groups/activities. You gain those social/emotional skills, anticipation of seeing friends, etc as you mentioned. As much as well intended in Preschool children aren’t as closely monitored, less control over peers your child interacts with and experiences your child will received. I’ll be able to provide greater enrichment experiences educating my child myself. I’m sure there are some areas in the country that if you pay enough money a school can match close to what a dedicated parent can do themselves but that’s not usually something most can provide. Even if your child has special education needs your are better off not sending your child to school for services because staffing is never sufficient. Children are still better off with parents getting the services and helping their own child so long as the parents are capable.

    • Jenna says:

      They can learn almost everything you’ve said here at home.

  12. Charlotte says:

    You should consider homeschooling, even if you don’t think you can. I’ve spoken with some parents about it and have done a lot of research and it’s not as difficult as you may think. My cousin was unsure about homeschooling because she felt she wouldn’t be good at it, but she tried it and loves it. It will be challenging at times, you will make mistakes, but you have a lot of flexibility for finding what works for you. There are a lot of curriculums available so you don’t have to come up with your own. My cousin said at first her children faught a lot, but she stuck with it and within a month they were getting along better than they did before she started.
    No one knows your children the way you do and if you join a homeschool group your children will be well socialized and you’ll know who they are socializing with. You will also have more control over what your child learns and teach at their pace. Too many people I know struggled through the public school system because they were too smart or were unable to sit at a desk for hours. One person I know was humilated by a teacher because the teacher didn’t like that he corrected her in class and tested well without paying attention. Another one I know got in trouble at school for reading books too advanced (in second grade he could read at an 8th grade level), he wouldn’t have done well skipping grades because socially he was still a 2nd grader. Schools force conformity on children and a lot of kids don’t fit the approved mold.
    You’ll also see a lot of boys don’t do well in the classroom setting vs their girl counterparts because they can’t sit still (there are exceptions on either side, of course). They don’t all have ADD or ADHD, they just develop differently and need more exercise to release that built up energy.
    I could run my kid non-stop from the time he comes home from school until it’s bedtime and he still wouldn’t be able to sit still in class all day. His sister on the other hand does great in the classroom setting and rarely comes home with anything but above average behavior marks. They are only 14 months apart, but their maturity levels are very apparent. They both attended preschool and kindergarten, but thank goodness his birthday is after the cut off, because I would not have wanted to fight to keep him back a year, but was prepared to do so if necessary (they are my stepkids so homeschooling is not an option with them). So, sending your kid to preschool will not automatically make them a teacher-approved kid.
    At the end of the day it’s YOUR child and YOU should make the decision that is right for them and your family. You should not be ashamed or feel guilty for making decisions you feel are best for your child.

  13. CM says:

    I never went to preschool and I don’t see what it can provide my child that I already can’t until Kindergarten. I love being with my baby so much that I don’t think I will ever want some time away from her regardless of how tired I may be by the end of the day. I may even end up homeschooling my child as she gets older with all the vaccination laws being enforced in schools these days in California.

  14. mackenzy says:

    I’m currently in school to be a special education teacher. So of course I get all the statistics on effects of school. I think that your child will really be missing out, they are at a time in their lives that they are able to learn so much as we get older we lose the ability to retain as much knowledge.. Children who go to preschool are more likely to go to college, make more money in future careers, and They are less likely to drop out. A lot of this is because they soak up extra in preschool and learn techniques on how to absorb this knowledge. Honestly looking at all the facts I wish my parents would have put me in preschool when I was little. I see nothing but benefits to it, and even though I don’t ever want to be separated from my son I want him to have the best oprotunities in life and give him all the tools I can as a parent to help him succeed. I’m happy to say my children will attend preschool.

    • alex says:

      I was the ONLY one of 7 children that graduated high school, and when I was younger, preschool was not implemented. My two youngest brothers went to preschool, one dropped out when he was in 7th grade, and the other when he was a junior. One cannot hold onto statistics and EXPECT them to always work.

  15. Cathlyn says:

    I was lucky enough the daycare center I sent my daughter to had a pre-k program as well as a junior K program. So I sent her to private school when she was 4 (Kindergarten – Birthday isn’t until December) and I found absolutely no reason to keep my daughter in a day care center for another year. She did very well and this year she went on to first grade. I think there are a lot of advantages to the pre-k programs for kids. Most of all I would have to say it teaches them a lot more about a structured environment rather than at home where learning is here and there and teach them what you want when you want. I did a lot of teaching my daughter a lot at home as well on top of what she was learning at pre-k, junior k and even in Kindergarten. As one person put it the other day, she has the body of a 5 year old but the mind of an older child. It is something that should be seriously considered. I’m not saying you should absolutely do it but you should seriously consider it and even take the time to maybe put your child in the environment for a week or two and give it a serious chance, if you don’t see any benefits then pull your child.

  16. slgill says:

    I work for the school district, come from a family of educators and I am saying Yes, to preschool. My daughter is 2.5 years, knows her ABCs, knows how to found to 20, knows colors, shapes, etc. She learned from me and daycare. Preschool is more than just learning. It’s socialization, getting ready for not just Kindergarten but school in general. Working at an elementary school, all the kids that did not attend were immature and some were even held back either in Kdg or 1st grade. A couple even stopped attending altogether and tried again a year later.
    Preschools aren’t as expensive as people make it out to be. There are several that are part of the school district and cost less than private ones do.

    • Jenna says:

      Not true. I taught kindergarten and I found that kids whose parents really worked with them at home and allowed them all sorts of opportunities to learn and grow did just as fine, and often better, than kids who had done preschool. That is why preschool should be an option for those who are unable to do this with their kids because they work so much (like single moms, those in poverty), but for an average SAHM who spends so much time daily with her kids, she could provide everything they need to prepare them well enough for school without paying for preschool.

  17. Julie says:

    I am an elementary school teacher. My daughter is 4 years old and just started preschool this year. She also missed the August 31st deadline so she will be one of the oldest in her class. I have taught her all of her letters and sounds etc. and my accountant husband focuses on numbers and math. She is well on her way. She is also very social. However, she is going to preschool to realize that the world does not revolve around her. She needs to see the structure in a classroom setting and know that there are others who know more or less and how to approach learning in a non competitive setting. There is a lot of pressure in kindergarten and elementary schools these days. (Common Core) She will already have an advantage on what is expected of her and will be able to focus on becoming the best student she can be.

  18. Ashley says:

    Being a kindergarten teacher myself, I think it is crucial that every child should attend preschool if it is an option! My staff and I have had this conversation numerous times about not just being on track academically but also socially and ready to adapt to a structured environment. We see many children come into our school with no preschool and they already start out nahins because kindergarten has gotten so hard! They are expected to write multiple sentences on topic by the end of the year, and add and subtract to 10. It’s a lot for a kindergartener to comprehend! Without the building blocks they can obtain in preschool and the social interactions with their peers on an educational level, it is a very difficult world for a 5 year old to enter into. I respect keeping your child out of preschool if you are truly working with them, but would encourage sending them to at least a summed pre-k program before they start school:-)

    • AngelA says:

      If this is truly important, how come we do not have free preschool. The only free preschool program are for kids with special needs and low income in my area, and I do not qualify for either.

    • Austin says:

      I feel like this is the more important issue. I didn’t even have to read complete sentences when I was in half day kindergarten in the 80s. A five year old shouldn’t be doing homework for 30 minutes a night. I’m willing to pay for a private school that lets kids be kids.

      • Jennifer says:

        I agree with Austin. I think the issue is we are pushing kids to learn sooner and sooner and not give them a chance to play and just be kids. I was in all day kindergarten in the late 80s and was not required to write in full sentences. It seems like nowadays, what we used to learn in kindergarten is being taught in preschool and what we used to learn in first and second grades is being taught in kindergarten.

        • alex says:

          My 6 year old is learning at a 3rd grade level, where my 7 year old is learning at a 2nd grade level. Both had a year of PreK. If I was to shove them in a public school, my 6 year old would be far ahead of the kids in his class, where my 7 year old would be “just making it”. In my case, I’d rather homeschool and allow them to grow at their own rate, rather than labeling one “smart” and the other “average”.

  19. mjosephson91 says:

    I definitely agree with you. I don’t think we will be sending my daughter to preschool either. She’s currently 5.5 months. I’m a SAHM (with a background teaching in preschools), so there’s really no need for it. Not to mention how expensive it is.


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