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  • Thoughts on Pre-K?

    We are trying to decide whether or not sending our first to Pre-K is worth it. I define this as any structured learning environment before the start of Kindergarten, not just the year before.  In doing some research on the subject I came across this interesting current summary on the Pre-K research out there:

    https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/duke_prekstudy_final_4-4-17_hires.pdf

    Unfortunately, my general take-away from this and pretty much any other study I looked at was that gains were typically described relative to affluent children, and that those gains (sadly on many levels) have no convincing evidence of sustainment. However, I would think most of us would fall under the "affluent" category, so the data are less helpful to draw a conclusion for our situations. The alternative is to have my wife (who works from home and can spend time with him every day engaging in reading, writing, math, etc.) do the education, although admittedly on a far less structured basis with no background in child education.

    So is there clear evidence that Pre-K holds an advantage over this alternative option of stay-home-parent based education, particularly for "affluent" children?  I saw in the above research summary that most affluent kids are in some form of Pre-K - is this a keeping up with the Joneses effect, a marker for two parent households with two earners who don't have a stay-at-home option, doing it because they have the money, or is there a known advantage?  Is there a known superior curriculum?  Is there evidence to support the financial decision to invest in a private program over a "free" public one?  We'll need to budget and possibly locums it up more if we decide to do it, so curious about your all's thoughts and how you approached this Pre-K situation. Thanks!

  • #2
    How much does it cost in your area and do you have childcare currently? I do not personally know the research, but I can only imagine it is good for little ones to get some socialization.

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    • #3




      How much does it cost in your area and do you have childcare currently? I do not personally know the research, but I can only imagine it is good for little ones to get some socialization.
      Click to expand...


      $200/wk, but this is a guess based on word of mouth from other moms in the area.  This would be something before the "free" state pre-k for 4-5 year-olds.  No child care as my wife works from home and is able to set her own hours since it's her business.

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      • #4
        .
        Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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        • #5
          We found out that our son was "accepted" into pre-k today too. Cost would be between $5500 to $8500 a year based on 3 vs 5 days and half vs full days. My wife stays at home and he is only 2 + years right now. Still I think it might be a good break for her from child rearing full time and good for him to go out and socialize without us around....who knows.

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          • #6
            We send ours to a pre-k-like thing a couple days a week. Really more to have them around other kids their age socially and give Mom a break. Be sure to set your dependent FSA appropriately.

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            • #7




              Cost would be between $5500 to $8500 a year
              Click to expand...


              .
              Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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              • #8
                It's all about the Pre-Pre-K.  Pre-Pre is very competitive these days...

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                • #9
                  We had our son at a montessori school and really liked it. They taught him very practical life skills as well as math/reading concepts. They also did a great job of creating a community and some of our greatest friendships started there. If I was at home I would still send my kid there starting around age 3 in order to get a break and to allow for socialization (my husband and I seem to make extremely social kids, so this is needed). If you're asking if prek is make it or break it for getting your kid in to harvard though . . . probably not. So I would do whatever is best for your family.

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                  • #10
                    I seriously doubt there are any measurable long term effects regarding basically anything for pre-K. If your kid doesnt get much socialization, than yes, it will probably help with that, as will any other activity. Kids are just too young and malleable, and its far too easy for them to learn and lets be honest school isnt tough from a volume/depth standpoint. You would need the next stage to be difficult enough to weed out those "prepared" for it so to speak.

                    So even those "ahead" at the time of kindergarten entry while maybe doing slightly better at the beginning and bringing home finger painting and macaroni collages that you're proud to hand on the fridge at home, well, the other kids catch right up by thanksgiving and will also have proud parents.

                    If you think its advancing their educational career its a colossal waste of money. You'd do far better to read to them often and foster a general sense of inquiry in daily life, that will go much much farther.

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                    • #11




                      It’s all about the Pre-Pre-K.  Pre-Pre is very competitive these days…
                      Click to expand...


                      Yup. And add a Pre from before that too. Before Pre K is Prepper and there is PrePrepper before Prepper. Which is where my kid joined at age 2 3/4 years. Quickly got promoted to Prepper, PreK and could enroll in K before she was 5 ( since it was private school).

                      The socialization and true teaching ( not babysitting like what most baby / daycare do around here) made her score well in IOWA testing and get her in a gifted and talented elementary / middle school. At $8000 per year including breakfast . lunch and a snack it was well worth the cost. And gave my wife a much needed break during the day. If I had to do it all over again I will definitely choose it.

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                      • #12
                        @Kamban  or I'm thinking Kumon after that post ...  totally agree that a structured early education+socialization is head-shoulders above sitting a child in front a TV childcare setting.    Like everything, it starts at home and THEN carries over to the daytime system if that is enhanced--not the other way around, IMHO.

                        Pre-K in isolation may help, but really, the other 18 hours makes a lot more in the final determination.

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                        • #13
                          I'm doing pre-K for my kids (20K/yr). I have no idea how much it will help, but I doubt it will hurt (but I suppose it could due to burnout, etc.). Agree that home environment is far more important and the school is just a costly supplement.  The school in question provides a pretty stimulating environment and opportunity to interact with other kids and it feeds into the elementary school that we plan to send them.  We know a number of kids that have gone to the school and they seem to be very bright, well-adjusted kids.  However, they all come from families that really value education and would pretty much do what it takes for their kids to succeed in any environment.

                          It's definitely a splurge especially since I live in an extremely good public school district. I just think this is slightly better, and I can afford it without a significant effect on my long term financial plan. I guess that everyone has occasional luxury purchases that probably aren't worth the cost.  This is mine. Otherwise, I'm fairly frugal.

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                          • #14
                            My wife has been a stay-at-home Mom (which is very different from a work-from-home Mom) and we still took full advantage of preschool for both boys starting at age 3 or just before.

                            I think it's good for the kids to get used to playing and learning with other kids and for most stay-at-home parents, a welcome break.

                            Living in LCOL areas, the most we paid per child was I think $2,400 for all-day MWF preschool.

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                            • #15
                              Many issues in parenting fall under personal choice and parenting style.  PreK is one of them.  You can drive yourself crazy trying to research it.  In the end, the decision should be based on what you believe is best for your child and your family.  FWIW, none of my three went to PreK.  No matter what you choose remember you are the most important influence in your child's life and education, not the school.

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