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"pre-school"

1. (noun) An institution offering on-site childcare services for toddler- to pre-kindergarten-aged children that attempts to distinguish itself from a daycare center by claiming to teach, enrich, religion-brainwash, and otherwise not ignore the small children left in its care. Also unlike a daycare center, pre-schools do not typically offer care for more than four or five hours a day, and more frequently will only offer partial week coverage in two to three days/week packages, thus making the more inexpensive and more educational kid-dumping-off option ideal for the stay-at-home parent who "just needs a break" or who is "simply looking for enriching socialization opportunities" for his/her child. These desires stand in distinct contrast with the working-at-an-actual-job parent's need of "just somewhere to just put the kids" while they suffer through Westernized cultural norms (and laws) that force mothers back to work less that three months after their child is born, and thus investing at least one-third of their salary in paying someone else to raise their children. Pre-schools are often associated with churches, and in fact, when not, should be viewed with great suspicion - especially if the institution actually has the word "school" in its name (Montessori Schools and The Primrose School being especially dangerous examples of daycare centers trying to market themselves as something more by hijacking the comfortable connotations that traditional pre-schools carry). It should be noted that a pre-school is not actually a school, merely the thing that comes before school. Any pre-school promoting its ability to teach children how to write, tell the difference between an ark and a Noah, or calculate a tip for parties of five or more is being disengenuous - really your kid is just going to take turns playing with 20-year-old Fisher Price Little People or trying to cut shit up with scissors in separate centers each day, every day, just like they would at daycare, except the part about taking turns. 

2. (adj.) Related to the age of a child who could theoretically go to pre-school, specifically ages 2 to 5 years old, or Toddlerdom to Pre-K-dom. Not necessarily related to the specific noun form or a specific childcare institution, "pre-school toys" just sounds a lot nicer than "daycare" toys.

See also: Pre-schooler.


This post first appeared on The New Parent's Dictionary Of Baby Terminology, please read the originial post: here

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"pre-school"

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