What’s a Momma To Do?

I have a little girl who is very resistant to change.  She is very, very shy in new situations or when she is required to be particularly demonstrative (i.e. high energy songs with corresponding motions, etc.).  Ironically, once she is comfortable in a situation, she won’t shut up.  Hmm . . .  sounds a lot like her Momma.  Suffice it to say, I can relate.

When she was three years old, she took a gymnastics class.  She LOVED gymnastics.  When she was three-and-a-half, she started a new season of gymnastics — new class, new teacher.  She never adjusted.  She put up a fight when I dropped her off each week, even though she enjoyed herself once she was there.  She said she wanted her old teacher.  I finally pulled her out because it was such a challenge to get her there.

Last year she went to preschool three mornings a week.  Although she was clingy when I left her at her classroom in the mornings, she loved school and always wanted to go.  This year she is supposed to go back to the same preschool.  But of course there will be a new class and a new teacher.

She does not want to go. She keeps saying she doesn’t want a new teacher.

I know this sounds normal, and most kids adjust after a few days.  I wouldn’t be concerned except for what we went through with gymnastics, and because of her reluctance to enter the classroom last year when she actually wanted to be there.

I talked to her last night about trying it for at least the first month.  She just looked at me with these huge, brown, tear-filled eyes and sad little down-turned mouth and said, "But I don’t want a new teacher."  She’s not whining like she usually does when she’s being bratty.  She really doesn’t want to go.

My question is this.  At what point do you allow a child to determine whether or not she goes to school?

On the one hand, I want to respect her feelings.  And I am not convinced that preschool is necessary, so what’s the big deal about letting her stay home one more year?

But on the other hand, if I let her out of it, do I set a bad precedent?  Will she think she can dictate other big decisions that crop up?

I always said if I had a kid who hated school, I’d have no problem homeschooling.  But she doesn’t really hate school.  She just hates change.

Oh Experienced Moms of the Internets, what say you??