Okay, so part of the psych report for the boys says that preschool is highly suggested. As a homeschooler, everyone seems to think I’d be against preschool. However, as a prior preschool teacher, I certainly am not.
As with all things, there are benefits of a child being home with mom as well as benefits to going to preschool. My final thought comes down to the fact that with a good part time preschool program, a child can have the best of both. At the same time, I don’t think preschool is necessary for most children.
But Ace and Champ are not most people. They have some needs that suggest that the psychologist is right. These kids may actually have hindered development if they do not attend preschool part time.
First, they have the common issue of foster kids to be so intermeshed in each other’s life, as each other’s main support, to practically believe they are two sides of the same person. Siblings have a close bond with pretty meshed lives anyway so trauma, abuse, and neglect seems to weld them together. I’ve only seen one sibling set more welded together than Ace and Champ. Preschool will allow them to become individuals (they won’t be in the same classroom).
Second, Ace and Champ both are followers. This is good in some ways as they have some special needs. Copying others will help them in the long run. However, copying each other will not. And copying only one or two other people may be an issue, especially if those people have some issues also. Having the boys in a few settings, including preschool, will allow them to copy a wider variety of people.
Having a wide range of people around will give them a variety of experiences, opportunities and exposures. Some people worry about this, especially for their young children. However, a good preschool doesn’t have any real number of highly dysfunctional children to worry about. And part time preschool gives them the opportunity while allowing them plenty of redirection at home as necessary also. But in terms of speech patterns, social skills, sharing, following the direction of other adults, etc, preschool gives a great varied experience.
It is my experience that preschoolers who attend a program outside of the family truly are better at socializing. Generally, good socialization is learned within a healthy and safe family and practiced in the community. I do believe that too much time with peers and less time with family can cause negative social skills to prevail. Obviously, all children and families are individuals also though. But I do believe there may be a benefit to part time preschool allowing children to learn, practice, and use social skills.
Along those lines, some children, including Ace and Champ in the opinion of myself and the psychologist, have a greater need to be in a greater number of settings in order to learn, practice, and use a variety of skills (social and language primarily in Ace and Champ’s case). Now, most kids *get* a variety of settings naturally in living life; but some kids need those situations to be more intentional and planned due to their individual needs. Ace and Champ need more time in each of many settings in order to figure out the “rules” of language and socialization the way other children may do less formally. Preschool will allow them many hours per week in a well-chosen setting to give them those opportunities.
Of course, all this is assuming the boys (and their baby sister) are staying. I should have more information by the end of the week.