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Preschool...help please?

Posted by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM
  • 21 Replies

Apparently now is the time to register for preschool for the fall.  Glad  I figured this out!  :)  For anyone who sends their kids to preschool, what did you look for in a preschool?  How many did you apply to and did you get your first choice?  Is it a preschool/daycare or just a preschool?  I think I know where I want to send P, but I want to make sure to ask the right questions to know if it is a fit for us or not.

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Hyacinth72
by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM
We checked into several schools, started ourresearch online, requesting packets of information amd tuition prices. Honestly, price was a factor fours so we were able to weed through them and not waste our time visiting schools we coudn't afford. We went from there. We asked questions lots....big ones for us were what were their safety procedures. Doors locked? Cameras? Also because we have an asthmatic child we needed to know medical procedures as well. We wanted to see the curriculum and make sure schooling out weighed playtime. Average class size and teacher to child ratio, how they discipline, do teachers have education degrees and backgrounds, are parents welcome to visit the classroom once enrolled, availability of the teacher before or after school if we had any questions or concerns, and diversity of the students. I am sure we asked more but this is what comes to mind. Our son started in January.

To be honest, we just knew when we entered his school...it felt right. I was extremely nervous and guarded sending him anywhere.
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Mdmooch
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM
Wow! Thanks, that is great info!
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Mdmooch
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM
I am very nervous too because this is the first time he will be away from me with someone who is not a family member.
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SicilyShelly78
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:53 PM
I tried to step back from the "procedure" of looking for a school. I realized that a lot could be printed in a pamphlet or typed in a guidelines packet. I went with three that fit our budget and location. I made a visit to each one while they were in session and got to watch what went on. I think I got a better feel from seeing and hearing. I also talked to other parents. I stopped a few when they were dismissing and asked questions. Employees of the school are trained to only speak positively. If you can catch parents off guard and they are willing to talk you're going to get a more honest opinion.
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Hyacinth72
by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM
That was my situation as well. First child, only my mom watched him when need be. Very hard decision. After the massive school shootings, I decided it was now or never for me. We chose a waldorf style school and love it.
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carebear41
by Bronze Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 2:55 PM
2 moms liked this

Good question! 

 I have some moms outside of this group that I would call my "mommy role models"  They had kids way before I did so they have been at this a lot longer!!!  I have about 3 "mommy role models" whose children are now in elementary school and middle school.  I really like how well behaved their children are and how involved the parents are in the children's lives.  With that said, all 3 of them went to the preschool we are currently enrolled at. 

However, in January of 2010, Keegan was not old enough to start at that school and I wanted to start him somewhere.  So, I signed him up at a different preschool.  I took a tour and from what the owner shared with me, I was impressed.  Then came our first day there.  It was a mommy and me class and it was awful.  We were never introduced and never felt welcome.  All the moms clearly knew each other and never acknowledged us.  There was a lot of sitting and no free play.  Keegan kept running for the door and saying that he did not want to stay.  After 20 minutes, we left.  I was crying and felt like the worst mother ever!  The even worse part is the school never once called us after we left.  We had already paid for our 3 month session, so clearly they had all they needed.

The one thing I learned from that event, is when you are considering sending your child to a school/activity, make sure to not just get a tour, but be able to have a free class/activity.  You can really get a good feel for the school/company and see how your child responds in said environment.

Now that we are wrapping up our 2nd year of preschool, I would have to say that I really value the following in my son's preschool experience:

1. Strong focus on socialization vs academics.  Our school does not drill the children with academics, but really teaches children how to share, how to sit and be respectul of the teacher, how to be respectful of other peers, table manners, etc.

2. Parent involvement.   Since we are a co-operative preschool we are scheduled to be a teacher's helper at least every 6 weeks.  I first was hesitant about this, but now I count down the days till I am helper.  By being the helper, I am able to see who my child is playing with so I can talk about his friends at home.  I can see what he is learning, so I can re-inforce those behavoirs/learned skills at home.  Most importantly, my child will soon be in school where I may not have the opportunity to be in his classroom on a monthly basis and interact with him/his peers. So, I am valueing this time since I know it will be gone way too fast!

 Finally, by being in a co-op, I have met so many of the parents.  I have enjoyed talking with the parents on the playground during pick up.  We all know how we crave adult interaction, so I know that x2 a week I will get to talk to some other mommies!

 

3. Learning through play.  Again, the school does not push colors, numbers, shapes, etc. on the children.  However, through songs, play, art, games, the kids are learning and they do not realize it!  I never want my child to dislike school or dislike learning.  So, by having them learn through play is very comforting to me.

 

Hope this helps!

Carie

SicilyShelly78
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 3:57 PM
Exactly what Carie said. Our school is a co-op too and has the same type of curriculum and parent helper days! I really like every part of that. I've already enrolled Elly foe next year and reserved a spot for Billy.
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KatieB416
by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:28 PM
I love the idea of a co-op, but it didn't work best for our family. Basically, we didnt have any care for Maddie during class times.

Our prime objective for Preschool at this age is to learn that school is a fun, safe place, and how to follow directions from teachers. I did want some structure, and for the alphabet, numbers, weather, colors, etc. to be brushed upon, but not rigorously. We chose a school that was a little costly, but I felt would be a great fit for O. Problem was that she was too young. We ended up going to a different school for a Mommy and Me class. We decided the benefits of O starting nursery school at three far outweighed the hang-up I had on them originally. The thing I didn't like about them at first was Olivia screamed whenever we toured their classroom (only school out of 4 that she reacted that way). They let me come in the day before school started and we hung out for 1.5 hours in her new classroom. She was fine from then on.


Olivia has a theme every week, a letter, a number and a new classroom chore. She does an art project every day (I recently heard about a school that doesn't), gym, etc. If you can't do a co-op, find out what parent/family activities they offer. Olivia's offers about 1 every month, and 2-3 times a session they offer family events that you could take siblings with you. They also told me I can stay in the room with her as long as I wanted to.

I really, really love how they come outside to get the kids from their cars, and for pick up, they have them bundled up ready to go, as Mad is almost always asleep in the car during drop-off. When we selected a school religion played a small role, it's really coincidence that Olivia is at a Christian school, but honestly one of my favorite parts is that the kids pray every day. It gives me a false sense security, that I much appreciate!

Good luck! Olivia's favorite days of the week are those that she has preschool. We've had nothing but a positive experience with nursery school. It sounds like you may have already found the right school for your family! :)
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KatieB416
by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:32 PM
Sorry if my response is choppy or repetitive. I was trying to respond while cooking dinner, since the girls were busy coloring at the table.

Carie- I recently met an old director from your PreK. She is such a sweet woman, and spoke so positively about both our schools.
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Mdmooch
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 6:32 PM

I really appreciate all of the information ladies!  Thank you so much!  It is a lot to think about!

I thought about a co-op, but I wouldn't have anyone to watch L.  We are Catholic and want to send the boys to Catholic school.   The place we are looking at is at a Catholic Elementary School.  So, if we liked it we would just send them there for school.

I do want a good balance between socialization and academics.  I do a lot with P at home, but sometimes I think he needs to be around kids his own age a little more.  I also want him to have to listen to someone when I am not around.  He is not good at listening right now and I think he needs that before it gets out of hand.

Ok...I need to go think about this.  I never really knew how much there was to think about.  Everyone has so many great points!  Thanks again ladies!

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