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A Four-Year-Old ‘s Preschool Options

28 July, 2022
Q First of all, let me congratulate you on this wonderful service you are providing, may Allah reward you for it. My question is regarding my four-year-old son. I am a German convert who decided to live in a Middle Eastern country (Egypt) in order to raise the kids in a somehow Islamic environment. I found out that the school system here is totally different than the one in Europe that I was used to. Now my son is four years old and he is currently attending a nursery school where he has learned his numbers and alphabet, in addition to some songs and quranic verses.I am at a loss when it comes to his education for the next two years. Should I send him to a nursery in a big establishment(a regular school), a small nearby day-care center, or just leave him at home till he reaches school age?Thank you in advance.


As-salamu `alaikum, 

Thank you brother for writing to us.

I would like to give you a word of advice: A child at this age needs emotional support. He has changed his environment; he has moved from the known to the unknown, with all the fear and suspicion this unknown may hold for him, so do not pressure him into making new friends, and do not expect him to fall in love with his new environment outside the house.

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He needs love and understanding, if he expresses how he feels about being and alien or an outsider, comfort him and assure him that adults, not only children, feel the same way. Point out to him the blessing of being in a loving family, who, together, will overcome this difficult time.

From your inquiry, I understand you to have three options, but you do not know which one to take:

1. To send your child to a nursery school in a big establishment.

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2. To send your child to a small nursery school where he can play and have a good time in addition to learning his numbers, alphabet and so on.

3. To keep your child at home until he reaches school age.

We will define each option and its positive and negative sides. We will then try to objectively choose what suits your child best. Your role in this process is essential because you know your child best.

The first option is to enroll your child in a regular nursery school in a large educational establishment.

Your child is ready to experience what school is all about, it will permit him to adapt, at an early age, to a system of school periods and different teachers. It will help him learn to share toys and games with others, and learn the art of giving, the art of listening, and the art of respecting others.

This will suit him because he has already experienced what nursery school is all about, and, from what I understand, he did quite well. Your child has experienced the pleasure of learning, and all he needs now is a friendly school environment where he can feel accepted and respected.

There are a few points, which I cannot really call negative, but should be kept in mind:

*Make sure that your child is not different from the others, (for example, a distinct accent, a culturally different background, or wearing ethnic clothes) most schools now have uniforms in order to at least eliminate the difference in appearance between students.

*Make sure your child adapts well. Therefore, you should take care that the integration of your child to his new environment comes gradually.

Visit your neighbors, introduce your child to theirs, take him on outings and encourage his attempts to make new friends. All this should be done before enrolling him in school.

The second option is to enroll your child in an independent nursery school. The advantage this system offers is that your child adapts gradually to a new environment without the restrictions regular schools impose. This system is recommended for the bashful child, the child who has difficulty in making friends without the help of his parents. If your child has expressed disenchantment with his new environment and refuses to leave the house, this system is well recommended, and, as I mentioned earlier, you are the best judge where your child is concerned.

The following are some negative points of the above system:

*The child will miss the chance of entering school at the right age, and his enrollment in school will be postponed until the following school year, or even the year after. To postpone his debut until the first grade has its disadvantage, because we will then expect more from him than he can give, such as learning and adapting to a more structured system. The lessons will be based on what he has learned in nursery school. He will be asked to respect his teachers and participate with others in school activities—all at once, without introduction.

*Make sure there is a place for your child in the school you have picked, because the children who are enrolled in the nursery school of a bigger establishment have precedence over others when moving to the elementary level.

The third option is to keep your child at home and his mother takes over the responsibility of his education. Many families resort to this option in rich, developed countries as well as in poor, developing countries.

A new trend has appeared in the past few years, calling for children to stay at home and that education be geared toward home tutoring. The advantage is that it promotes closer family ties, which are often affected by the loud, modern way of life, in which the mother has no time to tend to her children’s physical or mental needs. More conservative families see that keeping their children at home will protect them from delinquency, which has pervaded the school system in general.

In less developed countries, mothers take charge of their children’s education to save on school fees, but they run the risk of not finding a place in elementary school for their children.

This choice would be the most difficult, it requires an enormous effort on the mother’s part.

*Time organization is of utmost importance. The teaching method should be interesting and appealing; the mother should acquire some of the skills of a pre-school teacher in addition to having educational material to help her achieve her task.

*The mother should be aware that after a day of learning, children will need to relax and go out to avoid boredom and loneliness, we suggest that children should practice sports to keep the balance between mind and body.

Sir, we are committed on the service page to help our readers make the best choice. We do not make choices on their behalf because they know what suits them best.

I hope I have answered your inquiries satisfactorily.


About Mona Younes
Mona Younes has an extensive background as teacher and supervisor in both English Language and Arabic Language schools, before which she obtained her B.Ed at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.Mona attended and participated actively in a long list of conferences and seminars dealing with Family and Parental Issues. Currently, Mona Younes is doing her Masters on Online Education at the Southern Queensland University, Australia.