To Preschool or Not to Preschool

Most of the readers who faithfully follow Liberating Working Moms know that my son spends his day in the care of my beautiful, patient mother-in-law, his Abuela. During the day, my son receives priceless one-on-one attention, home-cooked meals, bilingual communication, and all kinds of love only a grandma can give.

But.

Every day when I pick him up, I wonder if he should be getting more. If he should be interacting with other children. If he should experience centers and arts and crafts and structured instruction.

The other day, my friend’s daughter played with my son. They pushed a stroller together, each alternating telling the other, “Puuush.” When my friend and I put a bottle of bubbles away, her daughter said, “Where da bubbas go?” My son? Yeah, no sentences yet.

“What a smart little girl!” I said. And she smiled. And then I frowned.

Most days, I remind myself that my brother was practically mute until he was 3 and that each child is different. I listen to my son’s minimal “sentences” like “I go walk” and realize he is learning and he is communicating, and for that, I am grateful. I mean, he is only 22 months old. But still, in that moment, I wondered to myself if my son would have a stronger vocabulary if he were spoken to in a preschool setting each day.

I have spoken to friends, I have made phone calls, I have emailed centers, and I have thought and thought and thought about sending my son to preschool. My husband and I even scheduled a tour of a preschool for one of our teacher planning days and had fully intended on placing my son in a local center starting in August 2013.

But this week, after spending time at my in laws’ house where my son spends every morning and afternoon, I had a revelation: what we’re doing right now works for us.

Our situation is cheaper. I trust my family. My son hasn’t been sick. He is comfortable. He is learning.

What’s the problem?

So for now, we’re foregoing preschool. My husband and I agreed that we will revisit the idea on my son’s 3rd birthday, as I actually have vivid memories of attending half day nursery school at three years old in New York and believe that it was good for me at that age. But even if we get to that point, and I still don’t think it’s the right fit for my son, I’ll be okay with that.

To each his own, right?

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