Just hoping some would give me reasons why I should send my child to Catholic Pre-School as opposed to an “ecumenical” pre-school. I am a devout, cradle Catholic and my wife is currently going through RCIA. Thanks for your help.
If the Catholic preschool is sincerely Catholic, then I believe there are numerous reasons. At our Catholic preschool, they instruct the children in the faith. They take the children to Mass and teach them how to be quiet in the pew, etc. Our son may go next year, and this would basically be the main reason I would send him.
I wouldn’t spend money on preschool if it’s just to teach the child letters, getting along with others, etc. Many preschools are just glorified McDonald’s playgrounds. In this case, the child is better off at home.
A Catholic preschool will help you in your role as a parent to provide religious instruction. Since I am a convert like your wife, I don’t feel that I know enough to instruct my son as fully as I would like. That is one reason why our own family is considering a Catholic preschool. I also feel like I need some back up in helping to teach him how to be quiet in Church.
I think it would really depend on the pre-school. If I had a problem with the teaching approach then they wouldn’t be going. If the program is good it could be very nice. OTOH, for some extra religion instruction might be less important than meeting kids from other backgrounds, depending on the circumstances.
Why would you send your child to a non-Catholic religious school where they will learn non-Catholic ideas?
A Catholic preschool will teach them Catholic prayers, the sign of the Cross, perhaps Mass attendance, the liturgical seasons, Saints, etc.
A non-Catholic, Christian preschool will teach non-Catholic forms of prayers and will not do the sign of the cross. They may even actively discourage the sign of the cross or tell your child it’s wrong were your child to try to begin his/her prayers that way. They won’t celebrate the seasons of the year, Saints, etc. Your child may even learn, subtly or outright, that things she believes in are “wrong.”
Children are inquisitive. If she asks at school “where are the statues?” or “why don’t you have a priest” or “can we pray the Hail Mary?” or “why don’t you do the sign of the cross?” well… you’ll have a problem. And, you’ll confuse your child.
Start your child out in the way he/she you want them to go. If you want to instill Catholic values and beliefs, send your child to a Catholic school.
It really depends on what the program is like.
If it is a program where they go to daily Mass at least once a week, have religious instruction and there are priests and/or nuns at the location, then it would matter.
If it is a Catholic preschool in name only, where they happen to meet at a Catholic church, then why does it matter?
A few years ago I taught at a preschool. ALL of the teachers were Catholic. About half the students were. But we met at a Christian church, because the Catholic church already had a preschool. Problem was, it was Catholic in name only and the waiting list was a mile long. No we didn’t have Mass or a priest, but neither did the “Catholic” preschool.
So the reasons for sending your child to a Catholic preschool include: needing to send them to preschool, daily Mass, religious instruction and the presence of a priest.
I’ve taught in an “ecumenical” pre-school (before I was Catholic, I would not do so now) and I can only echo what 1ke says here:
The kind of challenge to faith and way different approach to Christian life is too huge for a pre-schooler to cope with - it would be hard for an older child too, but pre-school is a very formative stage.
From what I know about schools, unless the Catholic school offers absolutely no structured learning programme at all, this shoud be your automatic choice. If their curriculum is so poor, you’d be better off sending your child to a completely secular pre-school.
I most assuredly want to send our little one to a good, Catholic pre-school for all of the reasons you all mentioned. Please pray for me. My wife and I are not totally on the same page with this. I know how important this is and am trying to convey this to my DW.
Lampo, I will most definitely pray for you, your wife, and child in this matter. I just wanted to add that many so-called “ecumenical” preschools have no religion instruction whatsoever. They just happen to be held in a church, or they might just promote what they call “Christian values” such as sharing, kindness, etc.
I used to teach school at various levels, including assisting in a secular preschool at one time. So many preschools today are chaotic and full of very badly behaved children. I just spoke with a friend at Mass yesterday who chose a cheaper neighborhood preschool over our Church’s Catholic preschool, mainly for convenience and cost. She said that her child is having a hard time dealing with the agressive bad behavior of the other kids. I get the feeling that she is regretting her choice. Not that you wouldn’t find bad children at a Catholic preschool, but you are more likely to find children who are well-supervised and trained at home. I hope that some of these ideas that everyone has shared will help your wife.
I’m not answering for the OP, but for me, The only reason I would send my child to a non-Catholic religious school is because I can’t afford the tuition for a catholic one. What about teaching the child at home and sending him/her to Sunday school?
Don’t underestimate the value of a good preschool CCD class. My daughter learned quite a lot in the 3yr old CCD class at our parish last year. I send her to a secular preschool with a really good curriculum. They do say grace at her school before snack, but it’s not anti-Catholic in anyway (in fact, many of the teachers at her school are Catholic).
My kids will be attending catholic school for as long as I decide where they go to school because:
- The will be educated with the faith, as well as everything else
- Catholic schools can still enforce discipline
- I don’t want them to have a planned parenthood in their school
- As much as I think we should teach our children to respect people despite sexual orientation, gay history month is taking stuff way too far
- currently in my area, not going to private school means the kids will be bussed to the ghetto (seriously)
list really goes on.
Certainly a parent can teach their child religion at home, this is the primary place they should be learning it.
The school reinforces what they are learning about the faith at home, and should never conflict with it, subvert it, or contradict it. What a child learns at a non-Catholic religious school could do so.
If you cannot pay tuition at a Catholic institution, find a private institution not affiliated with a religion or a public institution.
We’ve considered sending our daughter to a Catholic Pre-school mainly because she’ll be attending that same school for k-8th grade as well and we thought it might be a good idea for her to get a head start on making friends and getting used to the school she’ll eventually attending. We decided against it mainly because the pre-school is only 2 days a week and we need full-time day care. All other reasons weren’t a factor for our decision since we’re very serious about religious education at home.
Our daughter, 3 (almost 4) is in her first year at a Catholic preschool. We are thrilled with it. The school itself though is led by a very devout principal and is very skilled in apologetics and does alot towards leading/instructing the teachers as well as parents in our faith. His son is actually in my daughter’s class, so I felt better knowing he sends his own child there. They are teaching a religion program from Our Sunday Visitor and now I can’t think of it’s exact name. At this age, they only go to Mass on holy days and I think after the 1st of the year will go on First Fridays. They recite morning prayer, before snack and before going home, if someone’s ill, etc. They also have done units on the rosary, Hail Mary, etc.
All that said though…it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she didn’t attend the Catholic preschool. My older son attended a non-Catholic preschool for 2 years and they still found ways to incorporate God (prayer for snack, etc). And at this age, at least this program it is just 2 mornings a week. But around here, our Catholic preschool tuition is very comparable to other schools in the area. So for us, it just made sense.
I would do everything you can to avoid exposing a child to the rapid securalism in the public schools even preschools. They want to throw out GOD as early as possible. I know this sounds extreem but I’ve seen the public schools turn one sibling into an atheist and and the other into someone who believes there are no absolutes.
I agree wholeheartedly with what you have posted. Anyone who wants to send their child into the spiritual war zone that is today’s public schools is seriously underestimating the reality of what is going on there. A child is not equipped to handle the onslaught of the culture of death that goes on there daily. I taught in a public school for years, and our oldest attended through seventh grade. The rest of our kids will not set foot in a public school if I can help it.
What is a non-Catholic form of prayer? A Catholic does not HAVE TO make the sign of the cross every time or always pray a formal prayer. Any prayer to God can be a Catholic prayer!
I have to say at that age the religious aspect is not going to matter that much. I would be more worried about whatever preschool your kids attend getting them ready for school. Kindergarten is not what it used to be. Children should be able to count to 100 as well as count the number of objects on a table; know the alphabet to recite and be able to name letters by sight. Ideally they will also know the sounds each letter makes. They should be able to dress themselves, they should be able understand and follow three-step directions. They should be able to explain similarities and differences. They should know what a map is and what a globe is. They should know left from right. If the preschool your at is not accomplishing these things than your child is already behind when it comes time for kindergarten.
This is exactly what is wrong with North America’s education system. This “earlier formal learning is better” stff not only takes away from other things kids that age should be doing, it has negative consequences for later academic performance, especially for boys.
A pre-school or kindergarten like this would not get my child, no matter how good their religious education component.
Actually, America is behind many other countries with regards to education. I’m glad we’re starting to step it up a bit.