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Old 02-15-2009, 11:54 PM   #1
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Question Choosing a preschool

How do I go about it? I have no idea where to start. My friends are all telling me that I need to start looking now because most preschools have a waiting list of one year. I don't know what to do! They start at 3 years old right?

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Old 02-16-2009, 04:46 AM   #2
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Re: Choosing a preschool

I think first you need to figure out why you are sending your DC to preschool? I actually started my DD in preschool at 2. We don't have any neighbors with little kids and I am horrible about playdates. I wanted her to have consistent interaction with other little kids. So, I put her in the 2s program at a close by preschool for 2 days a week. She LOVED it. She currently goes three days a week in the 3s program. Next year she'll go everyday. I also choose the program I did because it was close by. When she started, I just had a baby and I didn't want to be driving far to take DD to school and pick her up.

Second, you might want to think about what you want your DC to learn get from program. The program my DD goes to is more play/developmentally based. There are more academically focused programs. There are also Montessori preschools that are more focused more on individual learning activities.

Most of the preschools in my area have already started enrollment for the Fall. So, I would start to check them out. You should be able to visit them and see what you think would be best for your child.

I want my DD have meaningful interactions with her peers, learn the ins and outs of a classroom environment and be provided opportunities to play with her peers. I really think that any well-run preschool can provide that.

I will say, that I don't think that every child needs to go to preschool in order to be prepared for kindergarten. It is not a must. There are many things you can do at home to help with the transition into school.

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Old 02-16-2009, 09:28 AM   #3
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Re: Choosing a preschool

I was not ready to send my ds to "school" at 3. Instead I signed him up for a "mommy and me" type music class last fall. When that ended I started him in gymnastics- which he does on his own while I watch. This is for once a week practice listening and following directions of a teacher. We also go to a playgroup once a week and the library once a week. Another day each week some of the playgroup friends and I get together for a "preschool co-op." Someone plans a story and a project/activity to go with it each week. We also go on "field trips" a couple times a month to children's museums, orchards or other places- like we've gone behind the scenes at the post office, a local bakery, and we will be visiting a nursery in the spring to see how they grow the plants. We do activities at home to follow up- like baking bread, planting seeds, etc.

This was just my choice. I didn't want him to go to preschool yet but I wanted to make sure he wasn't bored sitting home alone with me. So I looked for playgroups and then found other moms in the groups who wanted to "homeschool" their preschoolers. We just try to give them lots of time to socialize and have different experiences. He is totally happy and looks forward to our activities.

My son will be 4 in May and he will probably be going to preschool in the mornings next fall. That will allow us to continue getting together with the friends we've made and doing our "field trips" in the afternoons.

This is our experience. Just so you know, you don't have to send them to preschool at 3. And you don't have to do all the stuff we have been doing. Depends on the kid and the parent and what is right for both of you.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:52 AM   #4
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Re: Choosing a preschool

Thanks so much ladies! I think I am going to go visit some schools to see what type of school we want. I do want to start her in school because I am a (mostly) SAHM and my MIL babysits her. She is an only child and an only grandchild so doesn't get ANY interaction with other children expect when we go to the play gym.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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Re: Choosing a preschool

Choosing a preschool can be overwhelming at first, especially when you're not quite sure what you want in a preschool to begin with. Personally I'm not a fan of the academic preschools. I like a preschool focused on play, sharing, manners, etc. all the while incorporating good children's literature, music, etc. A good school will weave all kinds of great learning opportunities into the day.

I'd recommend making appts for tours. You will get a feel for the school and have the opportunity to talk with the teachers. Preschools can really vary in tuition costs so that alone may help narrow your search. Good Luck!
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:01 PM   #6
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Re: Choosing a preschool

I would encourage you to look into parent participation (or co-op) preschools.

For me, at SAHM, co-op preschool was a great balance between getting enough socialization for dd, my desire to be involved in her 'schooling', and cost considerations (co-ops are much lower cost than traditional drop-off). We also greatly enjoyed the community building aspect of it.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:34 PM   #7
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Re: Choosing a preschool

I am also trying to figure out the preschool thing. I've had a hard time locating places that aren't just daycares. I don't need someone to watch my child; I need someone to help him advance using age-appropriate techniques without me standing over him and influence him. I also want him to have kid-to-kid interactions. Most of the non-daycare places I've found have been at churches. A lot of them call themselves learning centers or mother's day out programs, but they follow some kind of curriculum usually. I second the suggestion of touring the facilities. Be sure to go when there are kids there so that you can see what kind of activities they're doing. This is how I picked the mother's day out program that my son currently attends. Though I like the program, I always want to know all my options. Does anyone have tips on how to search for preschools, especially the co-op ones, besides simply using an online search engine? I keep thinking I'm missing a really good opportunity just because I'm not using the best search words.
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:15 PM   #8
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Re: Choosing a preschool

I just picked my DD's preschool a few weeks ago. She will be 4 years old when she starts next fall. I did not feel that she was ready at 3 years of age...she had a lot of anxiety about us leaving her.

I picked based on word-of-mouth (my niece went to the same preschool) and after meeting the teacher I knew it was the right place for my daughter.
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