Should my child go to preschool?

Should my child go to preschool?



Many parents wonder if preschool is advisable and worth the inconvenience or expense. I highly recommend preschool for young children! It’s great if kids can even go for a few hours a day. I recommend that they go five days a week consistently to get into a routine. For example, my son Mark went to Montessori Monday-Friday from 9-1.

Anecdotally, here is what I have noticed as a speech-language pathologist. The kindergarten children who have never been to preschool have a rocky road ahead of them and in fact stand out from the other students in noticeable ways. They have no idea how to line up, sit in a circle, pick up their toys, share with other children, and a thousand other small things we take for granted. We tend to focus on academics: can the child read, write, spell, do simple math? The website below lists the multiple benefits of preschool.

All of those skills are built upon a foundation of knowing how to behave in the classroom—what I have called the “hidden curriculum”–when the teacher asks you to do something, you obey immediately; you don’t wander off to another activity; when you line up, you do not push other children or barge ahead of them; during circle time, you raise your hand and wait till the teacher calls on you before you talk; you do not interrupt others. But a child with no preschool background does not know these rules.

Preschool teaches those “hidden curriculum” skills, which are foundational to learning academic skills.

As a speech-language pathologist who has worked in public school settings for many years, it always saddens me to see children with no preschool background who spend much of kindergarten focusing on learning the hidden curriculum to the detriment of gaining academic skills. Children have only so much “money in the attention bank.” When they are allocating all their resources to learning the rules of the hidden curriculum, they are not able to focus on academics the way they should, and they can easily fall behind in school. The gap between them and their classmates who have had preschool experience often widens over time, becoming larger and more intractable as the years go on. Research is conclusive that early childhood programs worldwide have been proven to lead to real and lasting benefits These benefits include learning the rules of the hidden curriculum.

To help your child gain a major advantage early in life, make sure she has had one-two years of high-quality preschool experience before she starts kindergarten. The child who begins kindergarten after five years of being alone at home with a caregiver is at a huge disadvantage right from the start. She is at risk of being retained in kindergarten or possibly in a later grade because she starts behind the proverbial eight ball. Check out the link below for 10 good reasons why kids should go to preschool.

Attending a good, high quality preschool will help build your child’s preliterate and oral language skills, especially in the areas of vocabulary and social skills. Children who attend preschool engage in play with peers. When they do this, they learn to negotiate, work together, and resolve conflicts. They learn self-advocacy skills, which are so important later in standing up to potential bullying.

Preschool rocks! Go for it!

For more information on the benefits of preschool, check out my book Love Talk Read to Help Your Child Succeed. Available on Amazon at