Switch from daycare to preschool

My son turned 3 in June and is presently in a day-care situation in a woman's home with four other children. one the same age and two that are younger.

He is extremely happy there, unlike his former day-care where he cried every day. I am happy because Suzanne takes great care of them and is reading books, playing music, doing arts and crafts and all kinds of fun and educational activity.

I am starting to get pressure from friends and family that it's time to put my son into a pre-school but he's so happy right now it just seems unnecessary. I'm thinking of sending him to a nursery school when he is four. Should I be worried that he will be at a disadvantage if he doesn't go to a pre-school sooner? What will he get there that he is not getting where he is?

Thank you in advance for your reply.


Dear Joyce,

From the description you gave of your son's situation, I can't think of a good reason to switch to a pre-school. Your son sounds very happy. He is certainly getting the social stimulation that children need at three. If he needs to learn to get along in a larger group of children, it is a lesson he can learn next year in a fours classroom in pre-school.

It is unnecessary to concentrate on academics at the early age of three. It sounds as if your daycare provider is doing a good job providing the kind of stimulation needed for her students. What children really need to learn at three isn't academic: it is that school is fun; that they can get along with other children and with grown-ups who aren't their relatives; and the other details of community life such as waiting their turn, sharing, etc.

Everything else can certainly wait until four. Remember: this is advice from a pre-school teacher with 20 years' experience!

Best of luck,
Patti Greenberg Wollman

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