More whining about preschool

So those of you who have preschoolers? HELP.

Because it's time for me to seriously start working on getting Sydney on a waiting list for preschool. For THE preschool that is THE BEST ONE at the Giant Presbyterian Church Nearby (according to every single Nice Parent At The Playground). And it is in my neighborhood!

And internet, I HAVE QUESTIONS.

AGE: Do I start her when she's three? Do we wait until she's four? Her birthday is at the end of August so she will have just turned three (or just turned four). If her current rate of development is any indicator (which it very well should be, right?!) she would probably be able to handle it as a three-year-old. I have already decided that (school enrollment schedules be DAMNED!) she will be great as one of the youngest in her class … the last one to turn sixteen, etc. Is this crazy of me? I have a spring birthday so I never had to wait all summer to FINALLY get my driver's license and other things.

POTTY TRAINING: The school says that she must be fully potty-trained. Could someone please predict the future and tell me WHEN she will be potty-trained? Thank you.

DAYS: There is a Tues-Thurs class and and Mon-Wed-Fri class (both are from 9-12). What has been your experience? What did you prefer?

PRICE: Does $280 per month seem like a lot to you? Remember … this is LOS ANGELES.

WAITING LIST: So apparently if I get on the waiting list for Syd to go when she's three and she's not ready when she's three (keep in mind, this is ONE YEAR AND EIGHT MONTHS AWAY), then I'll lose my spot on the waiting list. Which could possibly screw up her opportunity to go to this preschool at age four. I was talking to a mother at the playground the other day who was like "I didn't WANT my kid to go to preschool for two years but I was so afraid we'd lose his spot I sent him anyway." WHAT THE WHAT?!

KINDERGARTEN: Ok so how old are kids when they go to kindergarten? Five? Six? I have no idea.

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN: Educate me. Placate me. Tell me I'm not bonkers. SEND COOKIES.

xo, Manda

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15 thoughts on “More whining about preschool

  1. Sheila says:

    $280/month for preschool sounds like peanuts to me– we are paying $120/WEEK for childcare. And we are in Podunkville, Va where everything is cheaper than EVERYWHERE ELSE.

    Most kids are five for Kindergarten.

    I would say go for it! Talk to the Preschool– if she’s not ready at Three, maybe you could switch with the person in line after you and merely postpone your spot?

    Preschool will be a great chance for you to have the best of both worlds– Mom AND Real Person.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Eli is going to preschool this September, based on nothing more than the very strict rules of when he is actually allowed to go. But he’s had to be on the waiting list for two years, I want to say.

    He has to be potty trained (hold me) and he’ll be…three and half. Which seems old to me, I wish he could go NOW. And he’ll be in it for two years, after which he’ll go to kindergarten.

    The nice thing about this place is that they have a sliding scale of how much it costs depending on how much the parents help out, and how much time they go…you can see the tuition rates here.
    http://www.suttervillepreschool.com/scheduleandtuition.html

    To put some things in perspective, my friends in San Fran pay $1600 a month for four days a week of child care. So I think $280 a month sounds like a grand deal.

  3. Nora says:

    Age: Bethany started when she was 3 and I have gone back and forth or whether that was a good decision or not, but now I feel like we did the right thing. She is starting to read ON HER OWN… They have only gone over sounds at school, but she suddenly developed a HUGE interest and we’ve worked on it for 5 mins or so here or there and she can indeed quite a few words and is learning to sound out bigger ones… blows my mind.

    Potty Trained: Daniel decided on his own that he wanted to use the potty at 18 months… no trouble. Bethany was harder, but with about 4 months to spare before her 3rd birthday she got it pretty much figured out. We still have nighttime accidents every now and then, but it’s no big deal. A good friend of mine has a 3 year old who was not quite potty trained when preschool started. She paid for her and brought her in the morning and showed her her class but told her she couldn’t stay until she would pee pee in the potty like a big girl and that did it-she was 100% potty trained in a week. And that doesn’t mean that they can’t ever have an accident. Most preschools have you send a change of clothes just in case.

    Days: Last year (3’s) she attended on Thurs, Fri. This year she goes Mon, Tue, Wed. The extra day does seem to help her retain more information, but she did learn a lot last year.

    Price: Well… I suppose that does sound like a lot to me (we pay 110 for 3 days), but I’m not sure how that price is for your area. Some church preschools end up loosing money more often than they break even so I’m sure it costs a lot to run one.

    Waiting list… I have no clue. You would think that with children (who are anything but predictable) that there would be more flexible, but I guess not…

    Kindergarten… It depends on each state, I have learned… And some of them have the cut off on Oct 1st, while others have it like mid-summer. KY is Oct. 1st, but I have a couple sets of friends who’s children’s birthdays are in August and September and they are holding them back a year before starting. It’s a big trend here. Mainly because they don’t want their kids to be the youngest in the class or start college when they are 17.

    You’re not bonkers… It’s a hard decision. But whatever decisions you end up coming to, own them… don’t look back. No matter what, Sydney will learn and grow and mature and turn into a brilliant sweet young lady πŸ™‚ .

  4. larmar says:

    uhm
    you’ve just overwhelmed me with decisions that i have yet to make.

    thanks for that.

    be sure that i will be checking back to steal your comments from other people for my own selfish reasons. πŸ™‚

  5. Arwen says:

    Okay, I don’t actually have a kid in preschool but I have a three-year-old AND I’m a major know-it-all AND I myself was born in late August and therefore have an opinion on the age issue. So I couldn’t resist this one.

    I *think* many kids are ready for preschool by age three. If it were me I would wait until age four but my girl is so high-needs and attached that she probably wouldn’t even be ready for preschool by age four. (Actually, we’re thinking she’s not going to be ready by age five, which is one reason we’re considering homeschooling for kindergarten, but this is supposed to be about Sydney, not about Camilla.) On the other hand if you put her on the waiting list for when she’s four, she could end up being totally ready at three and you’ll spend the whole year wishing you had her out of the house a few mornings a week. Although (again with my crunchy AP leanings) for me it would be much worse to traumatize a kid by putting her in school before she’s ready than to have her wait a year when she might have been okay earlier. But that’s just my personal feeling. YOUR feelings about YOUR kid are the important thing in this situation.

    Potty-training… eh. Camilla was fully potty-independent by a couple weeks before her third birthday and I felt that if we’d pushed it, we could have had her ready a couple months earlier. It was a lot less work to just wait until she took the initiative, but I think it is possible to make it happen earlier if you’re willing to put in the time, especially with girls who are notoriously easier to potty-train. So my crystal ball says that barring any unforeseen physiological issues, Sydney will be okay with the potty-training thing.

    I don’t really know about the days of the week thing. Although it costs the same for Tu-Thu or M-W-F? Because M-W-F is definitely a better deal! On the other hand, if you do weekend traveling – we do a fair amount – a Tu-Thu schedule would give you a lot more flexibility. Camilla’s in a Friday morning catechism class at our parish this year, and I really regret not signing her up for one of the sessions earlier in the week, because it’s been a logistical hassle a couple of times.

    I’ve never paid for childcare or school (yet) but the private school where we’ll probably send Camilla some day costs about $5000/yr tuition, which works out to about $550/month. Which is for full-time school, so yes, half that amount for a quarter of the time (and PRESCHOOL no less) kind of seems like a lot. But I don’t live in Los Angeles.

    As far as the waiting list thing goes, I think you should do some more research into preschools in your area. Yes, the big preschool has good word-of-mouth, but maybe there’s a gem of a preschool tucked into some corner, that most people don’t know about but which is absolutely wonderful. My personal best-case scenario if I were you would be to find two preschools you think are great, then put her on both waiting lists – one for when she’s three and one for when she’s four. That way you have options! You can even keep her on waiting list #2 if you decide to start her in the other one at age three, just in case school #1 doesn’t turn out to be a good fit. It would be perfect!

    Okay, on the kindergarten thing: my birthday is August 23 and I started school when I was barely five. I’m glad my parents didn’t wait any longer, because I was still pretty bored all through school although I did have a little trouble adapting socially during my first two years. (I was very quiet and shy.) Camilla’s birthday is in October, and under MI law kids can start as long as they turn five by Dec 1st, so we’ve already decided that we’ll start her in kindergarten right before she turns five. But we’ll probably be homeschooling. But I still think she’ll be ready. You’ll have to decide for Sydney on your own of course, but whatever you decide will be the best thing.

    Good luck!

  6. Caroline says:

    On all of it, trust your instincts for Syd. Does she interest in potty training? Waiting lists are common here in TN as well. For LA that price does not seem so bad. I would try 2 days before 3. Unless baby #2 is closer than you think. I know for me (being a on pause teacher) kids learn at different rates, academically and socially. Maybe the church John pastors at can consider starting one.

  7. Emily says:

    First off, daycare is way more expensive than preschool. Daycare is usually all day, every day, while preschool is maybe two days a week, for two or three hours at a time. So $280 a month pays for something like, 30-40 hours of care, which is a week of 9-5 daycare. Does that make sense?

    We chose to keep Asher out of preschool this year. However, he is 10 days past the cutoff for school, so he will go to kindergarten when he is a very old five, and will turn six about three weeks into the year. So if we send him next year, he’ll still get two years of preschool before kindergarten.

    My opinion on preschool is that it doesn’t really matter where you send them. As long as they’re taken care of and happy, it doesn’t matter if it’s a highly recommended/well-known place or the church down the street. Most likely, you’re sending her for socialization, not academics. So as long as there are providers who enjoy being with kids and the environment is safe and happy, I would search out places without waiting lists or without such stiff competition. But I am generally annoyed with parents who just HAVE to send their kids to THE BEST PRESCHOOL or else NOTHING will go right in their kids lives EVAH. Preschool isn’t going to change who Syd is or make her smarter or happier or better off when she gets to elementary school. (There are studies that prove this.)

  8. Rachel says:

    I think if you get her on the waiting list, and she isn’t ready, you’ll find another place to send her.

    I send LG to a Mom’s Day Out program that supposedly had a year long waiting list. I put him on the list in June and got him in for the fall semester. We pay $22 per day for 5 hours in the midwest.

    As for 2 or 3 days, it depends on what you plan to do with your time while she is gone. If you are just running errands then for for 2 days. If you plan to work, 3 days might be better.

    I was always the youngest in my class and disliked it. I could have graduated high school in 3 years, but since I didn’t want to start college at 16, I stuck around another year and took easy classes.

    Whatever you decide will end up working out for the best. Pray about it, that usually helps make decisions easier.

  9. Lisa says:

    hey there,

    we debated about preschool but stephen has proven to be a late potty-trainer so the decision would have been made for us.

    for me, the benefit of preschool is getting them accustomed to the group atmosphere, taking turns, etc. i really don’t think it’s academically superior to being at home (or inferior either, for that matter).

    stephen will be the youngest in his class and will start kindergarten right after he turns 5. i figure we’ll put him in preschool when he’s 4.

    he’s 3 right now, and i thought he could benefit from something that would start to teach him the larger group skills, so i enrolled him in a music class that he goes to without me once a week. it has been a good “middle road” to take. it’s $65/month for one class a week.

    so, just my 2 cents. hope you are happy with what you decide to do!

  10. Mary says:

    I was born in August and here’s the thing, I had to go to preschool TWICE. Because I wasn’t old enough (according to the rules of the state) for kindergarten at the end of my first year. I remember being very confused about that as a little girl. But honestly, being the oldest in the class is SO preferable to being the youngest, developmentally, emotionally, and physically. I know you don’t want to hear it, but I really would wait until she’s 4. That way she would be potty trained for sure and you wouldn’t feel pressured if, at 3, you don’t really feel she’s ready. Just my two cents.

  11. Shannon says:

    Lurker here:

    My thoughts are, there is no reason to put a kid in preschool at 3 unless they are very academically advanced, and even then it might not be enough. Otherwise, wait til she’s 4 for preschool. Until then send her to a daycare a couple hours a week for socialization if you aren’t getting it elsewhere.

    5 is normal for kindergarten. I too am an August baby (24th) and I was about 2-3 weeks before the cutoff in Colorado back then. It did suck a little being the youngest, and was still 17 for two days when I started college. But, it really depends on the kid. If Sydney isn’t ready, she isn’t ready and you can wait. If she is ready, then she’ll be able to handle being the youngest anyway.

  12. Sascha says:

    I just had to comment on this one…

    My daughter started at age 3 in a TTH ($175/mo) class run by a church near our house. We didn’t really prefer their teaching style. I know, you’re like “what are they ‘teaching’ three year olds anyway?”. They just focused on religion more than what is our preference. I wanted a little more ABC’s and 123’s etc….

    At age 4 we decided to change to a different school at another church nearby. It’s one of those schools that you better get on the waiting list when your baby is like 2 days old. Which we didn’t, duh. I hoped a spot would magically open up. It didn’t and we lost our spot at the old school. In panic mode I agreed to enroll her in the “backpacker” program at the crazy long waiting list school. That’s a really popular thing here in California. Sometimes it’s called Kinderbloom. I’m sure there are other names for it. What is it you ask? It’s geared toward 5 year old children that are age appropriate for Kindergarten, but not quite ready. Here in CA it’s very popular to hold back boys an extra year. Something about development, yada, yada, yada. My daughter was the youngest (by far), but the school wanted her to enroll for two reasons. One, the had 14 boys and only two girls enrolled and they wanted to balance it out a little. The second reason was the tuition was $5,500!!!! Yes, I choked on that too. To make a long story short, wait, too late for that. She went. She loved it. I’m still bitter about the money. This year her district elementary school started to offer the same kind of program for free (I guess paying property tax isn’t really free now is it?. My advice is to find out if your elementary school offers a kinderbloom. That way your daughter can get the benefits of social interaction and become friends with the kids she’ll be in school with for a while.

    Okay I’m done πŸ™‚

    p.s. California cutoff is December 2.

  13. Megan says:

    OK…just my little 2 cents. I’m a lurker by the way. $280 a month isnt that bad for preschool. To put in in perspective we live in the midwest and daycare/ pre – preschool is 254 a WEEK.

  14. maggie says:

    What Emily said.

    I only know what preschool costs at our church, and it’s about $320 a month, I think. I haven’t looked anywhere else, but I will, eventually, uh, one of these days. Quite honestly I’d prefer a mom-run school in her living room down the street. That I can walk to. Too bad there aren’t any.

    And Molly’s birthday is one day past the cutoff. I’m terrified of what I might have to do if I want her to go in as a four-year-old-for-one-day.

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