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October 10, 2007



Having been a public school kindergarten teacher and now a mother of four, I have seen a big difference in the behaviour and comfort level of a child who is home with either Mom or Dad until ready for school (about 4-5 yrs.) versus a child who is required either by necessity or choice to attend a preschool before age 4. I had the luxury of keeping my older children home until they were well into their fourth years, and was always surprised at how ready they were to leave me and their familiar environment, never having any separation anxiety. But I have witnesses many friends and parents of students who suffer daily with children who cry frequently about leaving home or don't want to go to school. I have concluded that many of these children are made to leave home and their familiar environments too early, not by their choice. I understand that many times it is necessary for them to attend a childcare because of working parents, but their are many parents who I spoke to who believe that their child will somehow get an early start on their education and socialization, and that it's better for their child than staying home with them. I have to conclude that this is not true, even with precocious children.

donna simmons

Thank you, Colleen, for your response - it is so helpful for people to respond in this way because it helps other parents see that they are not alone. Those of us who feel this way, who have this knowledge of children, are in the minority - and those parents who have a gut feeling and would be inclined to agree often feel so isolated and unsure that they do not act or feel helpless.

So I more than welcome others of you who have had similar experiences to also share here and let everyone know that the status quo for children - ie early preschool ed - is not necessarily the best way to proceed! That indeed, it can be damaging in many situations.


I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. I have such gratitude that I am able to be home with my two young children. I enrolled my oldest child last fall at a Montessori pre-school a month before he turned 5, for 3 mornings per week. My memories of this have lots of "always's". He was always so happy and excited to go to school, and focused & happy while he was there. I always held an internal celebration on the days he stayed at home. And it always makes me so sad to see 3 year olds crying when their parents drop them off. Or crying later when they needed comforting & Mom was not there.

My background is in child psychotherapy. I walked away from an enjoyable and profitable career to be home with my children. I wish that we as a culture did a better job of listening to our children and understanding their needs. I wish many Moms I know felt empowered and confident enough to listen to that inside Mom voice. The same voice that brings their own tears when they drop off their kids for the first day of school.

We seem to have a widely accepted myth that it's better to send young children to school than let them be at home with their parents. I wonder how, almost as a society, parents have lost faith in themselves and lost touch with their own wisdom.

I know that many Moms don't have the financial ability or luxury to for go paid employment. My heart is with them. But...that doesn't mean that our children don't need their parents & home.

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