Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When to Start

My son has been on the waiting list for the local university lab preschool since he was 3 months old. The preschool has a 2 year old lab, 3 year old lab, 4 year old lab, and a 5 year old lab. This preschool is where myself and all my siblings went as well. The program has a very long history and is very well run. The 2 year old lab is only one hour and, talking to people who have done it, also very relaxed and a no pressure area. I've been trying to decide whether or not to put my son in the 2 year old lab if a opening becomes available this fall.

What did you look for in a preschool?

What did you do to prepare your kids for preschool?

What age did you start preschool with your children?

Any advice would be helpful! Also, checkout the post below about Father's Day.


Jessie said...

When looking for a preschool for my oldest, I wanted a place with some sort of physical activity to help her catch up on her large motor development. She wasn't way behind, but enough that I felt like it was important to get her back on track. For that reason, we found a preschool with an integrated gymnastics program, and it has been wonderful for her. She started when she was almost 3 1/2, and will go for another year before she starts kindergarten. To prepare her, really, we just talked about school, and what she'd do, and how fun it would be. She has always liked to learn be social anyway, so it wasn't a hard adjustment for her.

Good luck, my best advice is to find a nice place that you can afford and feel good about. If you feel like your child is struggling in any areas, look for something that focuses on that. Finding a place that feels "right" is important--you are trusting these people with your child. Good luck. :)

Tannie Datwyler said...

I really think everyone is different, so you decide what works for you! :) Here's my two bits....

My little girl is 3 1/2 and hasn't been to preschool yet. She has a full 2 years until she will go to Kindergarten, and could easily do 2 years of preschool. But the current plan is to send her to preschool for the full year before Kindergarten, but not before then.

This has more to do with money than anything else. Preschool can be super expensive, and we simply can't afford it.

It also has to due with the fact that I'm a former elementary teacher so I know I can teach her all the preschool academic skills she needs. Right now, she knows more than some kindergarteners do. So I am not worried about her academic skills when she goes to kindergarten, but I really want her to go to preschool because 1 - I know she will love it (she talks about going to school all the time), and 2 - she could really use the social skills development.

As for how do I pick one? NO IDEA! I can't wait to hear everyone's ideas. I liked Jessie's suggestion of finding a place that fits the skill you think your child needs.

Great topic!

Delia said...

I have jumped around on so many of facets of this topic. First I thought it was right for every kid....you know what everyone kid SHOULD do. Then I thought that kids should stay home until Kindergarten if they could. NOw...well I kind of still lean toward staying home rather than going but we recently had an opportunity to put my oldest in a University preschool. They teach everything through play. They don't focus much at all on drilling kids with flashcards and having them sitting in a desk. They focus on helping kids build their self concept and develop the building block precursors to reading and writing... and a love for books. They help kids stretch their imagination with materials and toys that we don't and can't have (like gigantic blocks)... and build social skills. The teachers were so wonderful. When I went to observe I learned how to be a better teacher at home and even disciplinarian. I LOVED this. He got accepted (there is a long waiting list) so we put him in and I don't regret it one bit. If he hadn't gotten in though I would have taught him at home and continued having a co-op preschool with a few other moms. Even with my son in preschool for 4 months, before he went and afterward I taught him and still do everyday. There is NOTHING that can replace a mother teaching her children...it enriches the child AND the mother in a way that preschool can't. Just my thoughts anyway. :) Good luck.

Oh and...As for good preschools. I have heard that Melody Lane is good and it is more affordable than others.

On The Go Family said...

I think it's different for each kid. My daughter started at 2 years old, because she needed the social interaction. My son has a very different personality and won't start until this fall when he's 4.

We had just moved to a new place when my daughter was 2, and it was winter, and we didn't know anyone, so I felt like that was really my only option. Now we've been here for almost four years, so we have plenty of friends and are able to get out and socialize in many different ways.

Like others have said, I teach my kids their letters, numbers, etc at home. I like that those things are reinforced in the classroom, but really I'm sending them to school to learn social skills -- how to play, how to deal with conflict, how to respect others, how to handle change, etc.

As for picking a school? Do your research and then follow the spirit. We are blessed with a ton of great church preschool options in the area, but when I visited a particular school, I had an overwhelming feeling that it was the one for us. At the time I didn't know what it was, though I was impressed with the manner in which the director prayed as it was SO close to the manner in which we pray in the LDS Church.

My daughter just finished her third year of preschool there and my heart is full of gratitude for all that school has done for her. It truly was the place she needed to be. Follow the spirit!

Erin said...

I really think my son (3 yrs) could benefit from the social interaction at preschool. He is painfully shy, and I want him to be used to going somewhere very part time before I throw him in kindergarten and he's traumatized. My plan is to do a co-op preschool starting this fall, and put him in part time pre-school next year. Kindergarten the year after, mostly likely half day. That way he's still getting interaction with other kids and teachers, but it's a gradual change. I thought about just doing two years of preschool, but I can't handle him leaving me yet! I only have these few years of him all to myself and I think that time is valuable for both of us.