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Mom Questions Preschool for Child

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My daughter will be 4 in March. She has been home with me since birth. I am just not sure if I want her to go to preschool. I am not comfortable with the trend for early academics. I do no academics with her of any kind. I buy no learning toys. She has such a wonderful imagination. I am just worried that I am not preparing her for Kindergarten, which is very academic around here. I guess my question is: Is it okay to let her just be a child for as long as possible before she must enter school?

A: I hope that your daughter can "just be a child" when she is in school as well as when she is with you. As a culture, we plan away and steal far too much of our kids' childhood, all in an effort to give them a leg up on their academic "competition" so they can get into a great college. Even "hurried" preschoolers are being over-programmed and placed in academically oriented preschools and "enrichment programs" because of their parents' fears that not doing so will leave them behind in the race for a place in a fine college.

You appear to be offering your daughter a stimulating, creative home environment where her imagination and self-directed play are encouraged. By doing this, you are affording her fine opportunities to learn and develop. Be aware that her social development is also a crucial part of her overall child development and provide her with chances to play and interact with other kids on a regular basis. Be careful not to prejudice your daughter's attitudes towards kindergarten because of your own dislike of its academic preparatory nature. I am sure that your healthy attitudes about learning will hold her in good stead during all of her schooling.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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