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Wrong to Put Child In a Religious Pre-school? (Page 1)

I have posted this in parenting community too but thought it raised an interesting point to debate as well...

My husband and I are not religious at all. We had Christian teaching at school but not from our families and, when we grew up, realised we did not believe in it ourselves. We therefore chose not to get our son, Max, christened.

Now, I have recently started taking Max to a parent and toddler group which is wonderful and he loves it. They say a prayer before snack time which I don't like much but just grin and bear it because the rest of the time there are no religious activities. There is a pre-school in the same building which I took Max to for an open day yesterday and it looks fantastic. I wouldn't be enrolling him until he is three which is not til next March. Anyway, the problem is that this pre-school identifies itself as a Christian group so obviously it will involve Christian teachings. I'm not sure what to do about this. It looks like a fantastic pre-school and the ladies that run it are professional and kind and even the other children look like they come from 'good' families ie/ clean, polite and well behaved. Some places can be really rough and you can tell the parents aren't bringing their children up to respect others.

Is it wrong for me to put my son in a Christian pre-school when we have no religion? Will it brainwash him?

I'd love opinions!
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replied December 6th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
I don't think it is wrong, But I do think you should expect some of the teachings to rub off on him. Things said might stick with him through-out his life, and when he gets older he might decide religion is the way of life he wants or he might choose not. Some kids that where brought up with religion simply don't believe nor follow it when the get older some do. Some learn it on there own after they grow up. I think no matter what it is we instill into our children that at one point they decide it's for them or it's not. Our actions and our thoughts about life, how we portray ourselves reflexes what kind of a person children turn out to be. Not so much what they are told. When a mother or father are racist, sometimes that turns a child into wondering why their parent where that way, but then for some children they become racist too.

With it being pre-school he might not remember a lot of it either..
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replied December 6th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
I think the best thing you could to is ask for the major curriculum that they teach. If it seems too religious to you then maybe another school is a better choice.

Many children don't stay as the religion they are raised as; I didn't, and my father who went through a very catholic upbringing (including being taught by nuns in elementary school!) is anything but catholic lol.

It's all going to depend on your child's personality. My father and I are Analytical; thus we obsess over facts and solid truths. Sensitive personalities don't obsess as much and so may find they like religion more than someone like me.
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replied December 6th, 2007
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I don't really know.

I went to a Catholic school and was taught by a couple of nuns during my childhood. I was in Catholic school from the age of 3 until I was 18.

I think enrolling your child in a Christian school is fine, as long as you, at home, reinforce your belief that Max can be whatever he wants to be, as long as he's respectful. That's how my mom taught us. Though we were being taught in a very Catholic way, she encouraged us to question what we were being taught. If we disagreed, that was great, as long as we weren't disrespectful. She helped us find alternatives to what we disagreed with.

I have my qualms with religious education, but as long as children have a solid backing at home where they can dissect what they're being taught at school, I think it's great. I personally would prefer putting my future children in the public school system while teaching them what the world has to offer spiritually at home. But that's just me!
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replied December 6th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
You answer the question re "brainwashing" yourself, you were taught about Christianity where you were educated, were you brainwashed?

weather it is right for you to send your son is a different matter

It depends on how you view christianity - do you find it offensive, do you believe it likely to make your son a bad person or a good person, if he is exposed to religion and he eventually became a christian would you be opposed to that.

What it comes down to is do you think a christian educatin would be a good influence or a bad influence
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replied December 6th, 2007
Experienced User
u do whats best for ur kid
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replied December 6th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
i think it will provide a good moral base for him to grow up with.. they dont just teach you GOD IS GREAT GOD IS GOOD they teach you how to respect others, and to treat others as u wish to be treated.

I went to a christian daycare that my mother taught at when i was a child.
Im now agnostic.


My cousin also attended a private christian school for grades K-4th.
Hes now a devout ATHIEST.

lol so no, dont worry about him growing up to be the next Falwell. As long as u teach him to be what HE feels is right, all will be ok in the world. ^_^
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replied December 6th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
I would personally not do it. Conflict of interest.

While I think an education in major religions is a necessary piece, I would not enroll my child in a Christian centered school because I have grave concerns about the morals and ethics taught within that environment. There are reasons you have made the decision to bow out of religion. I would revisit them before making any decision.
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replied December 6th, 2007
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I also would personally not do it. Children are just too impressionable at that age- and if openness is what you want them to learn, a christian school just doesn't seem the way to do it.

However, I think you could do it and still manage to raise an open child.
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replied December 6th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
I just hope he doesn't grow into a little piece of you know what.
And let's face it, religious or not, most people are plain you know what, isn't that what matters? If you had a choice of him being religious and good, or not religious and bad what would you do I wonder?
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replied December 7th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
What exactly is 'you know what' woops?!
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replied December 7th, 2007
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I believe the parents are more impressionable than a school.
I went to a catholic primary and secondary school, and they made us say prayers everyday and go to church sometimes. Sometimes I did consider the possibility, and even tried believing in it, and saying prayers before I went to bed. But my family didn't believe it at all, and when I tried to believe in God it just didn't work. When it was time for me to take my first holy communion, my parents let me decide if I wanted to or not (I didn't). I'm also pretty open-minded (I'd like to think anyway) so I don't think you have any fear of that.
As long as the school isn't extreme, you should be ok.
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replied December 7th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
Woops- what about being non-religious and good? There is such a thing...
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replied December 7th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
I think no matter how a parent tries to avoid their child being exposed to the religon some time in their life it is going to happen. And most kids when they grow up will decide if that is something they want to follow or not. Regardless of their parents beliefs and input!
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replied December 7th, 2007
Experienced User
I went to an all-girls religious school and my parents were very christian! And though I grew up with the bible-thumping mania, I am cherry-picker, and my two brothers are die hard atheists, I really do not think it makes a difference...there were even some jewish and muslim girls in my graduating class. One of them is now training to be a Rabbi, sometimes it is just a better education choice, the public schools in my area were just awful.
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replied December 7th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
I would not do it. Here is an example of why.

In first grade, my DD' best friend said to my DD, "You cannot go to Heaven to be with God because you were not baptized." They were both 6. That actually unnerved my daughter and she told me about it. I took her into the bathroom and got my fingers wet from the sink faucet. I sprinkled her with water and said, You're all set now."

She gave me a big smile and scampered happily away to go play. But her little friend REALLY believes what she said. She really believes some people are going to hell, etc. And that is from just a short time in Catechism and Catholic Church once a week. I feel badly for her, and I am very glad my child is unburdened in that respect.

As for teaching morals, etc., here is a good example of why religion/belief in a God is not necessary to accomplish this:


Alan Dershowitz


IDEAS: Obviously, you don't think religion necessary for morality.

DERSHOWITZ: Quite the opposite. You need not to have religion to have morality. Morality based on religion is often no morality at all. If you do it because of heaven or hell, or because an instruction book told you to, it's not morality. It's morality when you have decided yourself, without benefits or threats, that this is the right thing to do.
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replied December 8th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
I believe that quote so much...
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replied December 8th, 2007
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i personally beleive most religions scare people into beleiving what they want them to beleive so they do as they want them to.

very cult-like.
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replied December 10th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
Most? Can you name any other besides christianity that does that?
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replied December 10th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
Well the three main monotheist ones do, Judeism Christianity and Islam. Aside from that, I don't think many do.
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