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aibu to not want my baby doing formal learning at 3 years old?

(44 Posts)
minidisco Wed 26-Nov-14 13:03:40

My in-laws all privately educate their children, have all been privately educated themselves, and are very academically focused. My son (my husbands step son) is in secondary education at a state school, and is not academic at all. I went to state schools, and did all of my further education as a mature student.

My in laws, plus my husband, are very keen for my daughter with my husband (1 year old), to be privately educated. I am personally quite uncomfortable with the whole idea of private education, but I can also see some positives, such as small class numbers, better grades etc. I have agreed to consider sending her, but I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of pre-school, whereby she will only be 3 years old and being taught in a formal setting.

Therefore, aibu to keep her in her partime private day nursery 3 days per week, where she will be doing informal learning in a relaxed environment, until she is reception age? My husband and in-laws all thing this is ridiculous, and that I will be hindering her future learning confused.

I feel really uncomfortable with the idea of such young children being taught formally, and think that as she will be in education for such a long time that I want her to enjoy her early years in a relaxed and fun setting.

Pootles2010 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:07:25

Sorry not following you entirely. They want pre-school from 3, you want part-time nursery, as she is now?

I would suggest if that is the case going to see the pre-school. My ds went to pre-school (not private) from 3, every morning, and loved it. It wasn't formal as such, he was learning, but through play. It was great because it wasn't such a huge leap when he started full-time school in September- he already knew the school, other children, etc.

I've no experience of private schools, but would guess it'll be much the same? Have a look before you decide.

NCIS Wed 26-Nov-14 13:08:09

My experience of private school at this age was no different to a day nursery and learning through play was paramount. It certainly wasn't a 'formal setting'.
I presume you've visited the school you're considering?

minidisco Wed 26-Nov-14 13:10:12

Yes its pre school aged 3, but formal lessons such as French, science etc, rather than fun play. It is a full school day, so basically starting school one year early. I have had a look around, hence my desire not to want to send her to pre school!

Quiero Wed 26-Nov-14 13:10:47

I don't think they'll offer formal learning - I'd like to see them try.

I'm against private schooling at any age so can't really offer an unbiased opinion but it's your daughter so you do what you feel is right. You don't have to feel pressured by family at all.

There's some evidence here to back you up.

Pootles2010 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:12:05

Wow. In that case... I agree with you. Thats nuts. No expert but pretty sure all evidence seems to point to learning through play being the way to go these days?! Far, far too young. DS is in reception year at school, he still does loads of 'play' learning - water play, home corner, etc. 3 is too young.

DixieNormas Wed 26-Nov-14 13:13:09

I wouldn't, there is no way is ds3 ready for formal learning though, he's 3.6 so that moght be coulering my view! I think it would make him miserable

DixieNormas Wed 26-Nov-14 13:14:00

Might, colouring!

Theorientcalf Wed 26-Nov-14 13:14:36

I'm a bit confused, what do you think pre-school is? My 2 year old goes to pre-school and there isn't any formal learning. When he gets to near school age he will do a full day 2 days a week and they'll teach him how to be ready for school. They do lots of activities, painting etc. He'll also have little friends he'll know already which will be nice.

dixiechick1975 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:15:05

The private school nursery and daycare nursery will both offer the same EYFS curriculum.

Have a look at the schools and make an informed choice.

If I had my time over i'd have moved DD to the lovely nursery at the (private) school she now attends at 3.

You should be able to access your 15 hours free at either choice.

3 year olds don't sit at individual desks in rows anywhere.

Theorientcalf Wed 26-Nov-14 13:15:41

X post, French and science? How formal is it? Is it any different from say, a bilingual nursery? Have you looked round?

minidisco Wed 26-Nov-14 13:15:54

Thank you for the link quiero, I will show my husband as he thinks that I am just being awkward!

Obviously in the lessons they do some fun play too, but the head mistress herself told us that it is formally taught lessons. All the babies in the class had full school uniform on and were sat at their desks, and it made me feel really sad!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 26-Nov-14 13:15:54

I feel sorry for your son - so his sister gets a private education and he didn't? I know your DD's father's family want to pay but please think about how this will make your poor son feel.

Quiero Wed 26-Nov-14 13:16:26

sad Are some parents so obsessed with their children getting ahead academically that they would rather a 3 year old learned French than colour in and climb and sing songs.

Let children be children for gods sake.

dixiechick1975 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:17:55

Sounds very odd.

They do Spanish in dd's school nursery - one little one got a certificate in assembly last week...for good singing of the 'colours' song.

JoandMax Wed 26-Nov-14 13:17:59

That sounds very unusual and not at all suitable for reception let alone pre-school....

DS2 did pre-school in private school but it was pretty much exactly the same as DS1s local state pre-school - lots of painting, playing and singing. He did half days and the only real difference was he had a uniform. He's reception now and it's still very heavily play based learning.

duchesse Wed 26-Nov-14 13:18:13

Starting formal lessons earlier and earlier, in a kind of academic arms race, hasn't shown to have any proven benefits. Most children learn how to read eventually and the early "learning" (as opposed to pre-reading skills) will be of little benefit. The lost years of exploratory play on the other hand are irretrievable. Wave this article and links at your DH and inlaws.

ChristmasJumperWearer Wed 26-Nov-14 13:18:46

I think it depends on your child.

My 3.5yo attends nursery and, at the moment, is absorbing new stuff like a sponge. He is bubbling with new letters, numbers, ideas, and is finding it all really exciting.

But this is learning through play, including a language, rather than formal lessons. I'm not sure formal lessons would be as well received.

FWIW my older DC started Reception unable to read or write, and is now absolutely flying.

I think both of my DCs would, however, have struggled with a formal classroom environment at 3yo.

Quiero Wed 26-Nov-14 13:19:32

WibblyPig Why do you feel sorry for her son? Why assume the private education is better? Gave you even read what she wrote - it sound hideous.

Ridiculous statement.

minidisco Wed 26-Nov-14 13:20:22

Yes I have looked around, its a proper school day for them. Obviously they do fun things too, but it is a full school week, doing proper lessons, worksheets, French, reading, writing etc. Plus they get homework! confused. The school is obviously very academically focused, and they believe that the need for formal learning is to start at pre school.

duchesse Wed 26-Nov-14 13:20:39

FWIW, DD3 is in a setting where they do no formal learning at all until age 7. She recently went for a taster day (bearing in mind she's 5 and cannot read or write or do formal sums yet) at a local private school and they are very keen to have her based on her wide vocabulary, brightness and alertness, and willingness to settle down to new things.

Quiero Wed 26-Nov-14 13:28:18

I think a good school (however it is funded) will base their teaching on evidence and research of what works and what is best for the development of the children. And by that I mean their whole development - not just academically.

It sounds to me that this school is pandering to the wants of ill informed parents who just want poor Gideon to be head of the Bank of England before he's 25 and are happy to throw money at anyone who is willing to help.

And on that note, I expect to be torn apart so I'm off to work grin

Wolfbasher Wed 26-Nov-14 13:30:08

My DC all went to private pre-school (youngest is there now.) They did French, science etc. etc. But certainly not in a "formal" setting - can't imagine any pre-school does. French is singing songs with actions round the piano, science is dropping objects in water to see what sinks and what floats. And so on. It's all learning through play, like any other Early Years setting. The difference between pre-school (whoever the provider) and nursery is that pre-school structures the learning more - which doesn't mean making it "formal".

With all 3 of my DC, they were very ready at 3 for more structure, and really enjoyed it. I was looking at some photographs in the pre-school "display" book last week of DC2 on an 'exploration' day - the DC arrived to find a load of packing crates and planks in the nursery playground, and were told they could do what they liked with them. They built all sorts of great things - play houses, obstacle courses, an "aeroplane" with landing strip etc. etc. The grins on their faces in the pictures as they bustled about were lovely to see. Because so many of them got into the "aeroplane" scenario, the next week they did lots of aeroplane related play, including looking at a world map to decide where to fly to, working out what to pack for the trip in their communal suitcase, making their own "passports" (complete with photos) and so on.

I think a good pre-school is a fantastic setting for children - not at all about "getting ahead", just about giving them opportunities for more complex learning scenarios (if that doesn't sound too pompous!)

But that doesn't mean every pre-school is right for every child. You need to visit them and see. And it's very much about what you and your DH decide is right for your DC, not the grandparents. It's good of them to offer to pay, but they should not be directing your choice. I think you and your DH need to talk about this now, and make sure you are united in your wish to make your own joint decisions.

naturalbaby Wed 26-Nov-14 13:32:37

My dc's started in a nursery like that and absolutely loved it. I was amazed at their progress and the experiences they had - not just academic. They were desperate to learn and we wanted them in the school that the nursery fed into so it suited us. Our decision was totally informed on the primary school we wanted them in.

Stalequavers Wed 26-Nov-14 13:34:38

Sounds hideous. I would say a firm thanks but no thanks.

People are in such a rush for their children to be in school and 'learning' and conforming to the 'norm'. So many years are wasted sitting behind a bloody desk.

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