Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pre-School/Daycare selection

O.k. so I'm relaxing at home with my parents and have some time for a fun posting without having to rush or worry about what Katie is getting into:)

So... pre-school. When do you start thinking about it? If you live in a big city and work - I am guessing you start thinking about it soon after you find a daycare for your child. If you stay at home, I am assuming you don't think about it until later.

I didn't go to preschool. I don't think it was as popular or as automatic as it is these days. I talked to my parents about it and they admitted that it just wans't really a topic of converation so it wasn't really a money issue or a not being ready issue - it was just a non-issue.

I'm already thinking about pre-school. But I'm worried for a bunch of reasons. Katie is only 2 (turned 2 in january) She knows her alphabet, numbers 1 - 10, colors, most basic preschool type songs (itsy bitsy spider, etc) and is even starting to make up her own songs now. she is also fully potty trained. I hate to sound like a bragging parent but she is a bit advanced for most 2 year olds. We weren't expecting it and it has been a welcome surprise.

However, I worry about putting her into a school setting too early. When we were touring daycare/preschool programs right before she turned 2, the directors were explaining to me that since her birthday is late - she won't actually start preschool until the September AFTER she turns 3 - which means we have 2 years left before that happens....

I thought 2 years is a long time before we can put her in school - but the director explained that all the kids that start the programs early will be repeating things year after year. She showed me how their earliest preschool program is just starting to learn letters now.... I worry that she is going to be of those kids that acts out because she's bored. Especially since she's not even 2.5 yet and I was ready to send her to some sort of school type program....I am afraid to miss out on her showing interest in learning but at the same time, afraid that it will be too much school for too long for her.... grrrrrrrrrrrrr there should be a guidebook from the hospital for this stuff!

I think there is such a thing as being too prepared for school. We all know and remember the kids we went to school with that were always in trouble because they were just bored. Not because they couldn't do the work, but because they were too smart. I'm afraid if I continue to try to find a program to put her in now - that will be the case for her.

I am sure there will be some regressing and I am sure that she will eventually level off with other kids her age - but I am torn because I really had wanted to put her in a structured setting to give myself some time alone with the baby to help make sure they both get as much attention from me as they deserve. I don't want to favor one over the other or spend more time with one than the other - so i figured if I could find a program for her now, I would put her in PT mornings, and then when she was home make sure that was focused time for her and me.

I could put her in daycare - but I feel like the main point of staying home is to save money and be with your child- so putting her "just" in a daycare program defeats both of those things.... I have a hard time justifying spending the money when I will be home all day.....

Did anyone else have a hard time with finding and choosing daycare/preschool type programs?? How did you do it? What was important to you when you went and toured the facilities? What was an absolute deal breaker for you? Do you ever feel guilty leaving your child at daycare on a day that you are home and could be spending time with them? (like vacations, etc...)

Is anyone going through the process of applying to preschools that have actual exams and interviews, etc.... How much is too much for preschool/daycare in your opinion?

Tell us tell us!

1 comment:

  1. I started to think about pre-school for Jack when he was 3. He, like Katie, has always been advanced for his age (Minus the potty training which was a nightmare). He also has a January birthday which is the same with Katie (we had to decide weather to fight to put him in Kindergarten or keep him another year in pre-school)He could recognize letters before the age of 2, was reading at 3 and all that fun stuff, but he had never been around a lot of other children. (At the time, he was the only grandchild on both sides and there weren't a lot of kids where were living prior to this place.) Money, however, was an issue for us. My aunt teaches pre-k at a catholic school near us, but it was too much money. We looked there and then a family friend mentioned the head start program at her school. It's for low income families, 5 days a week, 4 hours a day and breakfast and lunch was provided. All that was require for entry was a basic application and income verification. The program was WONDERFUL! Jack got the social aspect of it all, but he did tend to get bored with what they were doing. He was there for 2 years and spent a lot of it learning things on his own (they had good software on the computer for him that was a little more advanced). The teacher would take them in small groups while the other kids would do "centers" where they basically played or looked at books. Jack was generally in his own group where she would help him with things that he was interested in (like math and science, I got him some work books that they did together)and his writing.He has always been a little behind in fine motor just because he is an immature boy who can't sit still long enough to write neatly or color neatly. He has gotten better now and I'm glad I kept him in pre-k another year. It gave him a chance to mature and in Kindergarten now he is doing wonderfully. You may think differently when you see Katie in that setting (girls do tend to mature faster lol).
    Peyton is starting in the same program in the fall. (She has a June birthday) and she could go in a completely different direction. So you basically just follow their lead.
    There's always library story time, library time on her own, or another class in the area that she can try until you think that she should be in a more structured setting so as to avoid the fatigue of repeating all the same things that she will do in the 2 years of pre-school. A friend of mine has had her daughter in gymnastics since she was Katie's age and she loves it.