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Old 07-05-2012, 07:10 AM   #1
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In lieu of preschool

I feel really terrible about this. Lots of mama guilt, and I need some ideas to kind of fix it. I always thought I would stay home with my daughter through ages 4 and maybe even 5 - that she would want that and that would be best for her. Well over the past few months I have come to realize that I was wrong. The problem is, I cannot get my daughter into preschool at this point. We are moving into a new district on September first, we need to sell our home and move our household to another one. We don't have much extra cash right now, and we are dedicated to living within our means. If we had planned for this financially it would be fine, but we didn't. The waiting list for universal pre-k in the new district in 35 children deep, which is likely an insurmountable obstacle according to the coordinator. Waldorf nursery is 4k, as are a few others. We have crunched and crunched and we just really cannot afford it and continue to live our lives as we know it, plus we are faced with an uncertainty as to how much our house will sell for and when that will happen. As we live in our new home, we will be paying taxes and insurance ($400 extra a month) on two houses until we can close, which can only happen once we sell. Finances are going to be tight at this particular point in our lives. Anyway, unless I can find an acceptable, inexpensive preschool that isn't already full, Gigi will be home with her brother and me. Which is not what is best for her.

I have a 1 year old too, but I am absolutely commited to getting my daughter out and interacting with other kids. That is what she craves - she wants to play and talk and connect with other children in the worst way. What are some places that I can take my 4 year old daughter during the weekdays where she will find some friends her age? Are they all in school at that point? Any ideas on connecting with other non pre-k kids? Thanks so much.

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Old 07-05-2012, 07:25 AM   #2
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Re: In lieu of preschool

I have a 3 year old and a 4 year old. This will be the 4 year old (almost 5) 3rd year of preschool. He went to them YMCA preschool when he turned 3 and then last year he went to the school district preschool which he will return to this year.

My 3 year old is on the school district waiting list and all of the other programs in our small town are FULL. He probably won't get in this year and that only leaves next year for him.

I feel guilty DS1 gets 3 years of preschool and DS2 only gets 1. Academically I am not concerned for DS2. THe school district screening lady told me he tested in the 90% for 3 year olds (and he had only turned 3 the week before the screening). We do want him to have the interaction with other kids so he will be going to the library preschool hour once a week and he is going to take tumbling once a week.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:38 AM   #3
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Re: In lieu of preschool

Check your library and even state programs. Our local library does story time several time a week (one story, but several different time options). It includes several stories, a craft and since ours does it in a youth room rather than in the open it also includes play time. Our state also does PAL- play and learn groups. They are organized and supported by the public school system. Includes play time, story, snack and craft. Your required to stay- the plus though its for kids of all ages so your 1 year old can be involved also. I had no idea the PAL program existed until we were referred by dd's physical therapists. They aren't advertised, its strictly referral (its part of a state program called Early On in Michigan- the program is designed for kids with any kind of delay regardless of income. The PAL groups are open to everyone.) or word of mouth.

Check with your local YMCA- classes are pretty cheap and several at that age the parents don't stay in the room during the class. Our Y also has a $20 half day "club" (they have a full day one too). You have to register like you would for school, but you don't have to commit to any days. You just call a week in advance to register for a particular session (you can sign up earlier). Its a drop off for a few hours (or the day if that is what you have chosen). Its not preschool but they do crafts and mostly just play- but its organized games (at least at ours). Our Y also has a preschool, but the waiting list in insane since its reasonably priced and non-religious (most of the preschools in our area are religious).

You might check around for home preschools. A lot of home day cares do preschool curriculum in the morning so you might be able to get her into one of those for just half days.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:42 AM   #4
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Re: In lieu of preschool

Don't give up so quickly. A lot of people change their mind and for what ever reason don't use their slot so things do move/open. I would look into co-ops (some let you pay out for volunteering) - those can be $150-400 a month for a few half days. Some are church based and some are not. And, if you are comfortable, look at the church based as they are usually subsidized by the church. Look at your local high school as some have a program to teach the students and its very affordable.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:44 AM   #5
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Re: In lieu of preschool

Check with your city or parks and rec dept. Our last city had a preschool like program 2 or 3 days a week for 3 hours, and it cost around $80 for 3 months, plus $5 for supplies. We did the Mommy/Daddy and me class that was a precursor to this class and loved the teacher and the set up. Also the program restarted every 3 months so people could come and go as they liked and if you registered early for the next session you could get in, even as a new student.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:49 AM   #6
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Re: In lieu of preschool

Our preschool we found last year for DS was $100 a month for 3 mornings a week. Look into all of the local churches etc. They may have openings. We got lucky and were able to enroll DS the week before school started so don't give up because there might still be something out there that will work for you.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:52 AM   #7
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Re: In lieu of preschool

What about local in-home daycares? Many are licensed and accredited and offer preschool programs. There are some that do allow kids to come for just the actual preschool part and do not have to attend the full day all day like the other daycare kids. There are several in our area where the providers where former teachers and run excellent programs at a fraction of the pricier preschools. Its something to consider.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fairycat
Check with your city or parks and rec dept. Our last city had a preschool like program 2 or 3 days a week for 3 hours, and it cost around $80 for 3 months, plus $5 for supplies. We did the Mommy/Daddy and me class that was a precursor to this class and loved the teacher and the set up. Also the program restarted every 3 months so people could come and go as they liked and if you registered early for the next session you could get in, even as a new student.
Ding ding!! thank you so much. This is just what I just did. I had no idea such a thing existed. Our new town has play pre school. 3 half days, drop off, 3-5 year olds, emphasis on play (perfect!) with a bit of structure and a dash of academics. About $200 every session, so $600 a year - totally doable.

Thanks so much for the info from everyone, it opened my eyes that there were other possibilities and now a huge weight has been lifted. So much so that when I called my husband with the good news, I cried unexpectedly. This thread has filled me with gratitude for the DS community. Thanks so much.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:59 AM   #9
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Re: In lieu of preschool

My DS was home with me until 5 and we HS and plan to do the same with the other two. We did find some playgroups and sports classes through the local park district. Otherwise we found some local HSers and just made it a point to get together each week and go to the parks, museums etc. It takes effort but it is worth it I think. My DS also craves constant interaction with other children so I had to be really proactive about it. Academically he was well prepared for Kindergarten and finished the year doing everything and more that the kids had been to a full time preschool were doing.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by nonipie
My DS was home with me until 5 and we HS and plan to do the same with the other two. We did find some playgroups and sports classes through the local park district. Otherwise we found some local HSers and just made it a point to get together each week and go to the parks, museums etc. It takes effort but it is worth it I think. My DS also craves constant interaction with other children so I had to be really proactive about it. Academically he was well prepared for Kindergarten and finished the year doing everything and more that the kids had been to a full time preschool were doing.
I agree with your approach as well. My daughter will be going to public school and her academic level is pretty high so socializing with peers and getting ready for ps (lining up and whatnot) was my worry. I admire your dedication.
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