There is a lovely (so I’ve heard) little Christian preschool here in Tiny Town that is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our front door. Handy, right? Except that we have chosen to not send our children to preschool at all.
It’s not that I think there’s anything terribly wrong with preschool (especially having heard such great things about this one). Nonetheless, we have chosen to do these preschool years at home.
I strongly believe that young children can learn everything they need to know simply from participating in life within a loving and caring family. In fact, I believe that young children actually benefit more from staying at home to play than they do in a formalized learning environment. I would worry that sending my child to school (even part-time) might set up a dichotomy between “learning time” and “non-learning time”, which I believe would be a disservice to him.
Currently my firstborn is 3.5 years old. He could have started preschool last September, but instead he is at home. If you peeked into our lives on any given day, you would not find letter and number worksheets, nor educational toys or carefully researched lesson planning.
Instead you’d probably see him running around in his underwear (he’s in an anti-pants stage…) imagining and acting out fairly elaborate scenarios with his trains, cars, and dump trucks. He’s a kid that builds an awesome block tower, covers every square inch of his paper with paint, and throughly enjoys digging in dirt and sand. He showed a small interest in drawing and colouring six months ago and recently he drew his first person, quickly followed by an airplane, a train, and now letters of the alphabet. He will sit still for as long as someone is willing to read to him, and loves books of all kinds. He is demonstrates empathy and care for others in his interactions with others.
I’ve written before about our attraction towards Interest-Led Learning (Unschooling), and I think that now is the perfect time to lay that foundation for my children. If you think about it – just in our daily life he is exposed to any academic subject that you can think of, including the following:
- Imaginative Play
- Physical Activity
- Life Skills
- Nature Studies
- Social Studies
- Writing & Story-Telling
- Ethics & Philosophy
- Religion & Christian History
I plan to do a series of posts outlining some of the ways that he is learning these subjects intrinsically in the rhythm and flow of life. Some are more obvious than others, but I plan to also share some of my ideas for how I will expose him to these things in a variety of ways.
Do you send your kids to preschool? What kind of educational philosophy resonates most with you?