I never attended any kind of preschool for a variety of reasons. The first being that my mother simply couldn't afford it. Secondly, by the time I was old enough to walk, my sister was a teenager and could easily watch me when needed. But thirdly, and most importantly, my mother simply didn't believe in it. She understood that sometimes parents were in positions where preschool was a necessity, but she felt bad for those parents and those kids. She did not care at all for parents who sent their kids to preschool when it was not absolutely necessary. My mother believed these parents were letting other people raise their children. She believed they were lazy and disinterested in their children. Without a doubt, there are instances where she is correct. The world has far too many disinterested parents. However, I did not understand the benefits that pre-school provides for the child until I was an adult with kids of my own. I never understood the concept of child socialization. In my life without kids, I never had a reason to. But it certainly explains the rough time I had with my transition to school.
You see, before I entered kindergarten at Sandalwood Elementary, I had spent nearly every moment of my life either in the presence of my mother, or one of my sisters. There was always a beloved family member nearby. The only other kid my age that I really knew was my friend Sammy from two houses down. He would run across the lawns to come play at my house, or vice versa. The only other kid close to my age that I knew was my niece Jenny, she was a few years older than me, but we played together a lot when she was around. No matter where I was, my mother was pretty much always available "on demand".
So when Kindergarten was about to become the reality of my life, my mother had started preparing me. She had taught me my alphabet, and I had already started to read, and I could write a few words and do very basic math. My mother had spent a lot of time preparing me academically for school. She had explained to me that it is very important that I do well in school. She had also explained to me that I would go to school and there would be a teacher and other kids and all that other good stuff...
What was not made abundantly clear to me at that young and impressionable age, was that "I" went to school, not "WE". My mother took me to school and dropped me off in the classroom and she left. I remember being fine for a bit, but then the teacher had started to gather the kids together and calm things down, and as I looked around I realized my mother was nowhere to be found. This room and this building were completely foreign to me. I remember I went to the teacher and told her that I would like to have my mother. To this day I can remember what she said to me "You can't have your mother right now" then she told me to go find my name tag on the table. I insisted that I wanted my mother. She again reiterated that I could not have my mother. So I went to that table of name tags and I cleared all the tags off, when the teacher yelled at me, I grabbed a chair and began swinging it at anything or anyone that got near me. It wasn't long before I got my mother. And so my kindergarten career ended on the day it began. My mother was told that I may need more time to adjust and that she should consult a doctor.
Now I am a parent. I have two boys of my own and although we initially put them in day care and preschool out of necessity, there were times when either my wife or I was not working, and we still kept them in, at least part time, for the socialization benefits. Additionally, we have seen our boys flourish not only because of the fact that we chose a high-quality day care and preschool, but also because we have not used it as a substitute for our own parenting. We use it to compliment our own parenting. We spend a lot of time with our boys, we love them, we discipline them, we give them all that great attention my mother gave me. My boys get the benefits of both.