Preschool is NOT for infants!

I guess anything is possible when you have lots of money--even thinking that enrolling your infant in preschool is a good idea! Yes, you read right. There's a growing belief among parents in the upper classes that their children need to start learning in a structured setting with a set curriculum as soon as possible, and that could mean as early as 4 months old.

Believe it or not, the demand for this type of formal education is high with parents dishing out upward of $30,000 for yearly tuition and going through the application process, which includes interviews, at least one year in advance. In fact, in many cases this super early education centers have long waiting lists. 

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I'm all for early education, as study after study has proven that the better prepared children are when they enter school, the better off they're going to be in the long run. But there's a time and a place for everything. Whatever happened to letting children, especially those under 3, be children? 

While many affluent parents still prefer the full-time nanny option for their children, some of them don't think these caretakers are fully equipped to help their children develop their verbal and motor skills the way the teachers with master's degrees in these early education centers are. Well, that's obvious, but how then did we all survive before these early learning centers for infants and toddlers became available?

I was able to stay home with my daughter Vanessa until she was about 2 1/2 years old. While I did enroll her in a Parents Day Out program at our local church when she turned 2, it was only once a week for four hours. The rest of the time we weret together doing all kinds of fun things all children should be doing: going to the park, singing, dancing, going to the pool, playing, reading and many times just hanging out and letting her be her age! 

When Vanessa turned 3, I enrolled her in a preschool program three times a week for five hours, which she also attended when she was 4. I can honestly say that it was more than enough. My daughter is 5 1/2 now and is in kindergarten where she's learning how to read and write just like everyone else and is doing awesome. In fact, she's doing more than awesome as she is bilingual and is learning to read and write in Spanish too. And the best part is that she's doing it on her own by just transferring the skills she's learning in English.

Childhood is so, so short. Why can't we just let our children be children? 

What do you think about preschool for infants and toddlers?

Image via Etolane/flickr

Topics: child rearing  how to parent  on parenting