Start preschool at 2 1/2 or 3 1/2?

My daughter is 2 1/2. I have enrolled her in a 2 morning preschool program. She seems to really enjoy going. She is the second child and her older brother goes three mornings a week.

My daughter is a very intelligent and mature 2 1/2. I therefore thought preschool would be great. I am now having second thoughts. She will be in preschool three years before going to kindergarten. I now feel I would really like to keep her at home since she will be my last child. I feel I am being selfish by trying to keep her home.

Any ideas on three years of preschool vs. two years?


Dear Josie,

As of this year, I am the director of a school for children from two and a half years to four years. (I also still teach in a threes classroom.) I have a toddler (twos) program and believe that they are helpful for some children. But that year in the classroom is certainly not a necessary one. I'm sure your daughter would benefit just as much (if not more!) from an extra year at home with you. If your feelings are the same, you are not being selfish. You are entitled to this time at home with your child! There are many working parents who wish they had the ability to do the same thing.

Preschool becomes particularly valuable for children when they are in a threes program. Then, children have better listening skills and more interest in sustained play with other children. That is a wonderful time for your daughter to begin school. The value of preschool is not dependent on a two- or three-year program. Most important is schooling for the child from three to five years of age.

Best of luck,
Patti Greenberg Wollman

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