Parents make a ton of tough decisions regarding their children, including school enrollment. It can be daunting when there is a wide variety of options. Factors like safety, behavior, and learning styles are key considerations when searching for what will help children succeed. Exploring your options — including knowing the difference between formal education, preschool, and homeschool — is a great start to narrow down your long list.
Preschool vs. Homeschool
As its name suggests, pre-school is an early childhood education program dedicated to preparing and nurturing students before they begin school. The role of a preschool facility is to familiarize students with basic academic material and help them develop various cognitive and social skills.
In their State of Preschool 2020 report, The National Institute for Early Education said that just over one-third of 4 year olds in the country were enrolled in preschool, followed by 6.3% percent of 3-year-olds.
Homeschool, unlike preschool, is the term for parent-led learning conducted in-home. It is not specific to learners who are in pre-Kindergarten and can, in fact, go on until high school. Homeschooling has been the educational method of choice by many parents these days, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. According to research, about 8% to 9% of the student-age population (K-12), or 4.5 to 5 million children, were homeschooled as of March 2021.
The choice between sending children to preschool vs. homeschool continues to be debated. Those who advocate homeschooling emphasize the benefits of having a flexible learning environment amongst real-world situations, while those who support the preschool setup highlight its positive impact on a child’s mental and psychosocial well-being, which leads to a productive and sustainable education. Of course, they are not without their share of pros and cons.
Let’s talk about preschool’s pros and cons, in particular.
Preschool Pros and Cons
The preschool vs. homeschool debate helps parents decide what role they’d like to take in their child’s education. If parents are leaning towards preschool, looking at preschool pros and cons can help answer questions and clear up concerns.
Pros of Preschool
Many parents and educators support the preschool option for the following reasons:
- Focused on child development. As an Early Childhood Education initiative, preschool helps students with developmental milestones to prepare for the social, mental, and educational experiences they will have as future kindergarteners and eventual academic scholars.
- Nurture creativity and curiosity. A great preschool program focuses on the process of learning, which allows students to have an autonomous educational experience and explore themselves and the world freely. Programs that encourage creativity and curiosity build confidence and establish positive connections between learning and school.
- Interaction with peers. Preschool is one of the first places children learn how to interact with each other. Interaction with peers promotes positive social skills, including problem solving, sharing, and listening.
- Trained staff. Trained staff are equipped to teach and build a curriculum that supports children during this crucial time in their development.
Cons of Preschool
The disadvantages of preschool lean more toward the emotional side of the matter. Here are some of the reasons why some find it unfavorable.
- Difficulty adjusting. For most preschoolers, leaving home is a big deal. All the faces and routines children are used to change when they enroll in school. However, with time and patience, children overcome these feelings, especially when they start making friends and getting accustomed to the environment.
- Tough drop offs. When a parent leaves their child at school, emotions like abandonment can take over if the child is not reassured the parent will return. In this situation, parents must take extra care to be consistent with drop off and pick up times so that the child can build trust and confidence.
- Unknown environment. Learning new things in a new environment can be difficult for children who aren’t used to being away from familiar places. Preschool can be intimidating for a newbie, but it doesn’t need to remain that way. Both the parent and teacher can work together to ensure that the child finds comfort in this new environment and looks forward to being there often.
Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?
The typical tell-tale signs of a child’s readiness to go to school include:
- Age. A child’s brain doubles in size in their first year and keeps growing to about 80% of adult size by age three. For this reason, it’s best to enroll your child into preschool as early as possible to support their development with an age-appropriate curriculum.
- Potty trained. Most preschool programs require children over the age of 3 to be potty trained prior to enrollment unless stated otherwise. However, younger children are not required to be potty trained, and there are options for children over the age of 3 who are not yet potty trained.
- Able to communicate. Children in preschool programs should be able to express individual and group needs to staff and other students in whatever form of communication works best. This can include communicating feelings of discomfort, encouragement, and support, as well as aiding in collaboration.
Nurturing Your Child’s Growth at Cadence
Preschool is a big step for both parents and children. Fortunately, there are many awesome preschool programs to choose from. Cadence Education is a network of early education programs dedicated to providing a homelike and nurturing environment for students to thrive.
Cadence Education’s dedication to providing students with the best education has to offer includes professionally trained staff and a skills-based curriculum to encourage empathetic, social, and confident scholars.
Cadence Education’s Preschool Program, a fully accredited and nationally recognized program, is focused on providing quality experiences for children, using developmental milestones as the foundation of their curriculum. Children enrolled at Cadence Education are encouraged to explore the world around them and understand and value their place in the world through positive reinforcement and guided exploration. Choosing a preschool can be difficult, but Cadence Education makes it easy.
If you’re interested in beginning your child’s educational journey at Cadence Education, check out their many locations to find a school near you.