This is a hot topic for me, one for which I have very strong opinions. Yesterday, I read on a news website that our state is considering making preschool mandatory as well as all-day kindergarten. For some obvious reasons (if you've read previous posts of mine), I'm not exactly in line with this type of thinking.
I wish that people could realize how much a child learns by simply exploring their world. That a child can learn so much more in five minutes of this type of exploration than they sometimes can by sitting in a preschool classroom for 2-3 hours three times a week. I wish that more parents would realize that their children can benefit so much from them spending good quality learning time with them.
I just recently read, and I wish I could cite the source as it was only a day or two ago, that by the fourth grade there is no difference between children who went to preschool and children who didn't, and also, in that same study, there was no difference in the early grades between kids who went to preschool and kids who came from strong learning environments at home that didn't attend preschool.
I'm not sure how the state will mandate preschool, if this bill passes. I know that kindergarten used to not be required, is it now? If it does pass and is required, I supposed I can always officially home school my kids for at least preschool, as I already do that and follow a pretty structured curriculum even. But it just makes me sick that so many parents buy into this notion that preschool is necessary.
As far as all day kindergarten, I really don't think that should be required. However, we wouldn't be the first state to do so. Many other states already have full day kindergarten as standard. I do like the half day option, but that's because for some kids, half days are just better. I taught all day kindergarten. Let me tell you, there were kids in that class for whom all day kindergarten was a horrible experience. They were exhausted by after lunch time and became my problem students when in the morning, they were my exemplary ones. They were in all day kindergarten because their parents worked and figured it was a better (cheaper) option than daycare. I get that some parents need to work, so make it an option, not a requirement!
I know that what I've said in the past makes it sound like I hate preschool. I just feel like lots of parents don't realize how easy it can be to teach their kids at home. But as long as it's not required, I guess I'll be happy to just keep my kids at home with me as long as possible. Early childhood goes by way too quickly, and I love to teach my own children these academic basics. I hope this doesn't pass.