Let's talk about preschool for a moment, yes?
Hubs and I have decided we are not going to send Daughter to a 3 year-old preschool program next fall. She will turn 3 in April and would certainly be mature enough to attend a preschool setting by September, but we straight up don't want to send her yet. It's my opinion that at 3 most children are still 'babies' in many ways and if possible they should remain home with mom (or dad). Obviously if both parents work outside the home and the child is in daycare of some kind, that's different. I'm just talking about people in my situation...stay-home moms.
At the risk of sounding braggy, I'm going to say that Daughter is really bright, quite precocious, and surprisingly social considering the lack of kids to play with in our neighborhood. She runs right into the room when we go to playgroup, shrugging off her coat and throwing down her mittens so she can join the kids already playing. She sits nicely at story time, cleans up after herself when we have snack (without being asked), and is almost always friendly and willing to share. At library story hour she's the only kid in the group who sits in her little chair and pays attention to the story, only speaking when the librarian addresses the kids/asks a question. She introduces herself to the other kids and answers adults when they speak to her. The librarian stopped me this morning to comment that "she's very bright...she's really doing quite well."
Yes, yes, of course I think she is amazing because she is my kid. I know how it sounds, and I apologize. I'm just trying to say that I don't think she NEEDS preschool right now. She's a really capable little kid and I like being around her. I set the bar high for her behavior (though I never expect her to do more than she is capable of at her age) and she rises to it. I look forward to another year together at home, doing our thing.
But that's another issue. Our "thing" is sometimes pretty lazy, and because we live in the boondocks & gas costs a fortune, we don't head out much. We aren't fortunate to have indoor playgrounds like some of you do. So we do playgroup (a bargain) and story hour (free), and this morning one of the story hour moms told me about a gymnastics place that has good tot classes plus free-play time several days a week (expensive classes, reasonable free-play charge) so we might try that. I'm also pondering swimming lessons.
The question is, how many things am I supposed to sign my 3 year-old up for? And should I be calling all the local preschools now, to observe classes and get Daughter on "the waiting list"? I overhear other moms talking about this stuff and I'm getting paranoid about it. I mean, what's wrong with letting your little one just play and learn at home until 4 years old? Am I really naive here?
I'd appreciate (gentle) feedback about this topic. This is my first time going through it and I'm concerned about doing too much or too little. How do/did you all handle these issues?