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Old 01-24-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
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Pre-school question

DS will be 4 in November and we are planning to send him to pre-school in the fall. We love our local Waldorf school but it is way too expensive for pre-school. So I am looking at others and want opinions.

My two favorites are vastly different. One has large classroom of up to 20 kids at a time, but follows the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education that I really like [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach"]

The other is a very sweet day care/pre-school in a church that has lovely dedicated teachers but follows standard pre-school practices. The biggest draw is that the class is 10 students max.

So, the question is smaller class size and more traditional "curriculum" or larger class size with a child-led curriculum?

If you got this far, thanks for reading

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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Re: Pre-school question

Well, my kids go to MMO at a local church/preschool and they love it! I would totally send them to a Waldorf school if we had that option, but there aren't any around here.

DD is just turning 4 and next year she will be doing the pre-k program that is 4 (5?) days per week. Their prices are crazy low too, I pay $100/month per kid!
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:56 PM   #3
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Re: Pre-school question

How many teachers are in the class of 20? Unless there are several teachers there, I would go with the smaller class size. 20 is a huge class for that age and, as a former kindergarten teacher, I can tell you firsthand that class size has a huge impact on quality of education, especially for young children.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:59 PM   #4
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Re: Pre-school question

I agree with the PP and would lean more towards the smaller class size. I huge class with a "child led" approach can quickly led to chaos. Will they let you observe at either preschool? That could help you make the decision.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:07 PM   #5
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Re: Pre-school question

Yeah I believe that the class sizes for 4-5 year olds are between 10-13 kids and there are two teachers in EVERY room. My son's class (he's 2 but in the 1 yo room) has 6 kids and they have 2 teachers.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:10 PM   #6
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Re: Pre-school question

I would start with the smaller class to give him the experience of being away from mom. Just remember, this is for the next 14 years, so start small!
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:06 PM   #7
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Re: Pre-school question

I look at preschool as leanring how to get along with other kids, learning how to listen to someone other than me, learning that when Mom leaves you in the morning, she'll come back and get you again at the end. I am not so concerned with letters, numbers, colors, etc. She'll get there, with or without preschool. So, that said, that colors my opinion I think smaller class sizes are the way to go. I (personally) love our parent co-op preschool. The 2 day a week class averages 12 kids, the 3 day a week class 18 kids. There are 2 teachers, and one parent in the classroom every day. It's been a wonderful way to experience preschool (IMO).
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:52 AM   #8
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Re: Pre-school question

I would say go to both with him and see where he feels comfortable.....you can see it in his behavior attitude. Does he feel comfortable with more or less kids.....are the rooms to cluttered for him......does he seem to gravitate towards a certain type of caregiver (since at the pre-k level they are really caregivers).

we did this with our DS and the couple places I really liked that have wonderful reviews, he went into and just huddled by me and looked overwhelmed. Then I took him to a co-op preschool ("regular" curric.) right by our house and he smiled and just opened up. It has a lot of windows and is bright and open. He needs space. Some of the other ones I noticed were a bit more cramped now that I think about it.

Anyway.....the school really doesn't do as much "educational" things as I would like, he has blossomed socially and has gained so much more independence and loves his teachers.....that to me is worth it's weight in gold.

Wow, that was long. Good Luck!
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:31 AM   #9
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Re: Pre-school question

I agree with the others- while some of the more alternative methods are lovely in theory, I know for my DD, class size and the caregivers would make a bigger difference. We don't have a lot of options around here, but DD (28 mos) is in a toddler preschool class two mornings a week where the class is capped at 10 kids, two teachers and an occasional parent volunteer. She really, really likes it- but I feel that more kids for my DD would be really overwhelming. Even following a more 'normal' curriculum they do cover the basics- sensory stations, arts and crafts stuff, blocks, books, snack, outdoor time...I mean, really, what more would she be getting in an alternative center in 2.5 hours?

I think you have to go with the space and caregivers that you are most comfortable with as a mom.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:25 PM   #10
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Re: Pre-school question

Thanks for all the responses! My gut is telling me that a smaller class-size is more important than anything. We visited the smaller one on Monday and he loved it. One of his very good friends is actually in the class so they just got a kick out of seeing one another in "school". We observe the other place this Friday. Thanks again!
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