Your child's earliest educational experiences influence the rest of their development. Now that your child is ready for preschool, you need to decide whether to send them to a formal classroom or continue teaching them at home. While both of these options have advantages, there are some aspects of going to a private preschool that are challenging to replicate in a home environment, even on a temporary basis. Be sure to keep these considerations in mind as you plan the next step in your child's education.
A Chance to Develop Trust In Others
Up until now, your child's world has mostly revolved around you and other members of their immediate family. Although they may have spent some time with babysitters or in child care programs at the gym or church, your child might not have spent enough time away from you to really be challenged to develop their independence. Going to a formal early learning program typically involves a brief transition that requires your child to learn how to trust that someone other than their family will help meet their needs. Developing a close relationship with their teacher paves the way for when they go to school and need to spend even more time away from your care.
Social Engagement Opportunities
Preschool-aged children are still developing their social skills. Although homeschooled preschoolers can socialize with others in playgroups or at the park, a child in a formal classroom environment has to learn how to handle potential conflicts that arise in an educational environment. For instance, your child may have to learn how to speak up in a group during circle time activities. They may also have to learn how to follow a routine or schedule such as eating lunch at a certain time. These types of experiences now prepare your child for entering primary school.
Access to High-Quality Learning Materials and Equipment
Homeschooling can involve things such as curriculum and specialized learning materials. However, some things are just not feasible to do at home due to financial or space constraints. For instance, preschools have child-sized furniture that helps kids develop their self-help skills. They may also have unique learning programs that involve computers, musical instruments and other expensive types of equipment that you might not have around the house.
Many parents choose to blend the two options together. Your child can attend an early learning program during the weekdays, and you can support their developing skills at home with homeschooling activities. Choosing this route can give you the best of both worlds so that your child thrives.