Friday, 8 March 2019

A Preschooler Who Isn't At Preschool

Toddler turned 3 on Monday. So technically he isn't a toddler anymore - in official terms, he's a Preschooler.

Except, he's not at preschool. And at the moment I don't think he'll ever go.

There are various reasons for this. One is that I'm just not sure he's ready yet - his speech has come on lots in recent weeks but can still be hard to decode, so I worry that he would struggle to communicate with staff and other children at preschool. Also he can get distressed if I leave him with someone else, and while I know that's common and something a lot of kids work through, I just don't feel like pushing it when I don't need to.

Which leads me to me. Circumstances are very different now to when I put Girl Child into preschool. I'm no longer trying to work from home so don't have a pressing need for childcare. Also, I'm finding this stage a lot easier now. He's a much more mellow child so I don't feel as exhausted trying to meet his need for stimulation as I did with Girl Child. And of course, he's my last child. I'll never do this stage again, I'm in no rush to share him yet.

But also there's the challenge of finding a preschool that I feel would be right for him, and for us as a family. Girl Child went to two different settings - one, a preschool, from just after her third birthday until just before her fourth, and then a school nursery until she started school. She didn't have the smoothest of times at either but the preschool was far better for her, and I'd envisaged sending her little brother there too. However, that now only takes children from 2 until the September after they turn 3. So if I put Preschooler in there now he'd only have a term before he would be expected to move to the nursery class, which was much more formal and structured and not at all what I think he needs. I'm strongly in favour of a relaxed, child-led approach as opposed to focussing on getting children 'school ready'. Different families have different feelings about this and that's fine, but my gut tells me he wouldn't be happy in a more structured setting yet.

So where does that leave us? At the moment I'm thinking of finding a childminder for a couple of days a week from September, as I think the smaller, more homely environment would be better for him. For now though, I'm just going to carry on enjoying having him at home with me. I'm very aware that not many parents have the luxury of being able to stay at home and I want to make the most of it before I have to give him up to school five days a week.

Is there anyone else whose preschooler doesn't/didn't go to preschool? What did you do instead?


  1. Waves- we did with Littlefae and plan to with Tinyfae. LONG complicated story but it was the best thing all round on many levels.
    Long story short we did games, puzzles, crafts and the necessary learning, visits and a lot of play and we ended up home educating when reception rolled around as she could already read.
    It works for us, we are lucky enough to be able to do it and afford it and I’m a former teacher too but know it’s not for everyone on many levels.
    With Tinyfae I will take her to the forest school sessions she does alongside Littlefae as the enrichment is worth it and it’s mixed ages.
    We see quite a few ‘preschool at home’ who some intend, some have gone into school and some are questioning about school from reception but they get interaction, friendships and activities from joining in the younger home ed stuff during this stage.
    (Not pushing you to home Ed!!! Just tat where we ended up and I should’ve joined the community earlier)

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think part of my worry is that as I won't be home educating, keeping him at home all the time until he starts school won't help with the transition. I'm hoping going to a childminder will be a good halfway house.