Is pre-school really necessary?

I have two sons, 3 and 6 months, which means I’ve given a lot of thought to pre-K education lately. And though I’m probably opening myself up to criticism, here’s the decision that my husband and I have come to: We’re not going to send our boys to pre-school.

I tend to think there’s quite a bit of "keeping up with the Joneses" that goes into what we do with our kids. My parenting philosophy is decidedly laid-back — when I was pregnant with my first, my parenting manual of choice was "The Three Martini Playdate," if that tells you anything. Side note: It’s an excellent and hilarious book. You should totally read it.

But even given this, I feel a lot of pressure to send my sons to some name-recognized pre-school around here. And I won’t deny that there’s obviously benefits to it. So not enrolling them is not a decision we came to without deliberation, of course.
I had discussions with a couple of parent friends — who represent two pretty different parenting philosophies — about what they thought pre-school did for their kids. And they both told me essentially the same thing: They weren’t sure the money they paid for their kids’ pre-school education was worth it; and if they had to do it over again, they weren’t even sure they’d send their kids to pre-school at all.

We talked about what their kids learned at their schools, and it seems to me that, between what my son learns at daycare and what we teach him at home, we’ll arrive at roughly the same destination that they did with their kids in terms of social, emotional and intellectual standards for kindergarten preparedness.

So, we’ve made the decision. But I’m interested in hearing and learning from other parents out there. Did you send your kids to pre-school? Was it worth it? Am I giving this too much thought?


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