If you’ve started thinking about preschool for your child, you’ve probably found yourself wondering: When did this process get so complicated? With preschool waiting lists and 13-page applications not entirely out of the ordinary, finding the right preschool is no longer a straightforward decision. Believe it or not, there are even preschool admissions coaches now!
However, before you hire a consultant for your two-year-old, you probably have another question when it comes to this early step in your child’s education. It’s a question that a lot of parents are likely to consider but might be embarrassed to ask. While it is often phrased in several ways, it usually boils down to something like this: Is preschool necessary?
As it turns out, that question is more complicated than it first appears. Here are some things you’ll likely want to consider when it comes time to answer that question:
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, average preschool costs can range from $4,460 to $13,158 per year, depending on your location and the quality of the program. And remember, those are just the averages; costs can climb even higher in some expensive urban areas like New York City and Boston. So, when deciding on whether preschool is the right fit for your child, it’s important to plan ahead financially.
Here’s where things can get murky. Depending on what study you find or what article you end up reading, you can find wildly divergent opinions and beliefs on the benefits of preschool. Some studies suggest that children who attend preschool have higher graduation rates and improvements in social and emotional development. Other research argues that these benefits are only really seen in students who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. With no definitive answer that’s easily accessible, it’s essential for you to do your own research in order to weigh all the pros and cons.
A final consideration to make when deciding whether preschool is necessary will be what other options are available to you. Is one parent able to stay home with your child during their preschool years instead? Does a daycare in your area have a program you prefer? Before making any decision, make sure to assess all the options you have.
When it comes down to it, every child and situation are unique and nobody knows your personal circumstances better than you. So, when the pesky “is preschool necessary” question comes around, only you can decide what is right for your family.