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Uniforms for Preschoolers?

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A growing number of preschools across the US are requiring preschoolers to wear uniforms, according to The Wall Street Journal.

girl in school uniform

"Many parents like the ease of dressing children in uniforms and say it usually costs less than other clothing. Daycare directors say uniforms lend an atmosphere of professionalism, giving a sense of order and security."

While uniforms for preschoolers is still a relatively new trend, sales of toddler uniforms doubled between 2008 and 2009 and rose another 30% last year, says Michael Arking, a vice president at Classroom School Uniforms.

Momlogic wants to know: Are uniforms for preschools a good or a bad idea?


next: Whose Kid is THAT?
16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anita April 28, 2011, 11:45 AM

Yes they are a good thing. Competitiveness over clothing starts surprisingly early amongst girls. One 4 yr old at my daughter’s preschool takes great pleasure in saying she has better shoes than everyone else. Thankfully she can’t compete over clothes as the kids all have to wear the same things.

Sara April 28, 2011, 2:24 PM

I completely agree with Anita. I am from Britain where most pre-schoolers have to wear uniforms. It takes away competition and is a lot easier for the parents!

Debra April 28, 2011, 5:46 PM

I think it’s a great idea. The preschool my daughter attended now requires uniforms (they didn’t when she was there) and it’s been a good thing - parents love it. It’s nice to get them started young so if uniforms are required in grade school it’s something they are used to. It makes dress codes easier to enforce, too. You’re either in uniform or not - no grey area about what is a ‘too short’ pair of shorts for example.

Anonymous April 29, 2011, 9:37 AM

another money pit for parents

NJMom April 29, 2011, 11:59 AM

I think it is a great idea. I live in Jersey City and all the pre-schools have uniforms. It is very good when kids are in park so you can easily indentify your charges. Plus it is less hassle in morning and easier on wallet.

WhoCares? April 29, 2011, 12:49 PM

Preschool is NOT real school! It’s a glorified babysitter.

I care April 29, 2011, 3:12 PM

@WhoCares? Obviously you haven’t been to a real preschool in the last decade. My older daughter is in preschool (she’s almost 4) and is learning things now that we learned in kindergarten when we were kids. They’ve already started basic reading, math and geography. Besides, I don’t know any babysitters that send home homework and assign class projects.

As for the uniforms, our public schools don’t use them, but I wish they would! It would be a lot easier than having to shop for school clothes every season!

Anonymous April 29, 2011, 5:27 PM

Hmmm, what’s more expensive; those $4 special t-shirts and sports shorts at Target which he can also wear around town and playing on the weekend, or those 12-20$ polos and uniform shorts that we need to buy. I say no to the uniforms.

Individuality? April 29, 2011, 10:45 PM

What ever happened to individuality? How would you like it if your boss showed up on Monday with a big box of uniforms for everybody? And as for it eliminating competitiveness…being competitive is a part of human nature, if it’s not about clothing than it will be something else…backpacks, shoes, what car their parents drive!!! Sounds ridiculous but believe me it happens. As a mother of 5 (18, 15, 12, 7, and 5) I’ve been through it. My oldest never had uniformsm but the rest did at some point, and they all went through the same thing in one way or another. So, I say it’s better to teach children at a young age that we are all different and give them the opportunity to express their differences and accept those of others. Also, they WILL at some point be exposed to others that can’t accept those differences, and it’s better for them to learn at a younger age how to deal with it then shelter them.

Carol April 30, 2011, 3:58 PM

You can never start conformity and group think early enough.
Let’s start it birth!

Joe April 30, 2011, 6:34 PM

Get a grip people. We’re talking about preschool kids. Last time I checked, most 3 and 4 year olds don’t buy their own clothes so it’s the parents’ (or rather, TV) expressions not the kids that are being exposed. Most kids at preschool level wear basically the same clothes anyway - something Disney or Nickelodeon.

And as for “Individuality?“‘s comment: “How would you like it if your boss showed up on Monday with a big box of uniforms for everybody”

That’s one of the most ignorant comments ever. Many people DO wear uniforms to work (or do your police officers wear cargo shorts and t-shirts of their favorite bands?). And for corporate offices that require suits and ties, they might as well have uniforms because they all look alike anyway. Many schools choose to have uniforms because it makes the students act more professional, not because of issues of expression or because one kid can afford a pair of Nikes and another can only afford the clearance rack at Walmart.

Schools all over the world have had uniform requirements for decades, in some cases over 100 years. If you want to talk about kids suffering from lack of expression and needing to learn about reality, it works two ways. They can suffer by growing up thinking they are entitled to express themselves however they want only to realize that in the real world, life doesn’t work that way. Your kid’s boss isn’t going to care that they want to express themselves by dyeing a strip of their hair hot pink or adding 5 rings to their nose. If that’s not appropriate for the office where they work, they will still be fired, and then they can go home and cry to mommy and daddy that the world doesn’t want them to express themselves. Then, instead of the parents telling their kid to get their act together and dress appropriately for the office, they will probably encourage them to sue.

Individuality? April 30, 2011, 11:29 PM

Oh, Joe…where do I start…
1. Yes, I pay for my children’s clothes, but that does not mean I pick them out. That’s their call.
2. Yes, some jobs do require uniforms, but it is a persons choice to work in those fields. If someone aspires to be a cop, they’re usually proud to wear the uniform.
3. Yes, in the corporate world hot pink hair and 5 rings in their nose probably won’t go over well. But in my experience people with such style wouldn’t choose that career path anyways. For arguments sake, let’s say that my child had this style and did choose to work in an office. He/She would probably get fired for it, and so be it. I personnaly would not encourage to sue (I’m Canadian, sueing seems to be more for the Americans). I would in fact tell them that they need to obey the rules of their workplace and if those rules don’t fit their lifestyle, then find one that does. A person can not be happy as anyone but themselves :)

Sarah25 May 1, 2011, 7:34 AM

Schools in California and New York instituted uniforms because of gang color/symbol issues. It was to keep the kids safe. Like Joe said, it wasn’t an issue for individuality, there are a lot of other reasons schools decide to use uniforms. Growing up in the late 80’s early 90’s in LA, it would be nothing for a little kid to be shot or beat up for wearing a certain color if they didn’t have a family member in that specific gang. Getting ready to go to school was a huge ordeal. Can’t wear red, can’t wear blue, can’t wear anything with this symbol or that symbol. Can’t wear shoes with specific laces, etc. Uniforms made life a hundred times easier for us kids and our parents and probably saved the lives of many kids over the last 20 years. Also, like Joe said, schools around the world use uniforms, even starting in preschool, so what’s the big deal?

No offense, but if you are Canadian, why are you even commenting? It says in the first sentence that it was schools in the US, not Canada. Yes, sueing is an American thing and there have been many lawsuits regarding people getting fired over hair color, tattoos, piercings and stuff like that, so obviously it is an issue here, which is probably why Joe brought it up.

Individuality is fine, in the appropriate place. If you want to get all upset about kids not being able to express themselves, then people should fight more to keep art, music, dance and drama in schools (all of which are no longer offered in my daughter’s school) and stop worrying about whether or not they want to wear uniforms.

Anonymous May 5, 2011, 12:59 PM

LAME

Mary Ann May 12, 2011, 7:36 AM

I lived in Australia for four years and preschoolers wore uniforms, as did all public school students from kindergarten through 12th grade. It was wonderful. The children don’t mind them because all their friends wear them and it marks a transition into older childhood. They wear them with pride. As for individuality, why can’t we promote individuality in thought and not in the superficial and meaningless area of fashion? Public schools in America would do well to adopt uniforms across the board. Then our children wouldn’t want to emulate gansta style “pants on the ground” or hootchie

Ashee May 18, 2011, 6:41 PM

In Australia, children don’t wear “Uniforms” to preschool.

If they’re taking about those horribly constrictive things that make them all look the same-yuck. How can a child get messy in paint and mud and play in those things?

Our preschools often print a “preschool shirt” with the preschool logo, and usually in a variety of colours- but wearing it is completely optional. I think thats fine.

As long as it’s a practical, play-friendly uniform and not something to “look smart” then I don’t have a problem with uniforms. Pretty much ALL Australian school children wear them (with some exceptions).

As for “reduces competition”- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
There is no truth to that statement.
Children will ALWAYS find something to compete with- it’s part of development. Uniform or not.


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