Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dilemma


I know I wasn't going to blog, but I need some help/advice....

So I went to sign PSP up for the local pre-K program which happens to be in a great school really close by and since it's public school, it's free.  Since Kindergarten in Texas is all day, everyday I was told Pre-K is half day/every day.  Well as it turns out Pre K in this district is all day/every day.  My gut tells me it's too much too soon.  I was already trying to prepare for her to be gone everyday for a couple hours, but everyday from 8:00-3:00?  That's too much and we're/she's not ready for it.  BUT I do think she needs something, especially since she'll be going all day next year...so in calling around to other programs/schools this is what I'm finding: 1) They cost a lot.  Obviously anything is more than free, but last year we paid for pre-school and it was very affordable (granted it was also coupled with parent volunteers which made for cheaper tuition) and lots of programs are just seeming too much.  2)  I'm looking for a pre-school, not a day care.  Most of these places are day cares with pre-school/pre-K programs attached.  I want her to have a classroom feel, with the same kids and same structure every day.  Maybe it will be this way, but for some reason day care sounds a little less structured and less school-ish to me.  3) Finally, even some of these pre-K programs are all day.  Sigh.  I guess that's just the norm? 

So I would love to hear your thoughts....how much do you pay for preschool?  Do you pay for preschool or did you opt out?  Would you send a 4 year old to school 7 hours a day?  Anyone in the San Antonio area know any good pre-K programs out there?   Any other advice?


ps--they won't let her go half day or partial week, if she's enrolled she must go.  Also tried calling another district to see if she could enroll there, but they don't have open enrollment.  

41 comments:

  1. I come from a family of 14 children. None of us went to preschool. Most of us graduated top in our class from highschool and almost all of us have at least 4 years of college under our belts. I know it doesn't seem like it in today's world but if you ended up not finding anything I'm sure your daughter would be fine. There would probably be a little more pressure on you to organize play dates and such for socialization but because your daughter comes from a good home preschool is not mandatory for her to do well in school. Don't stress, the right thing will come along and if it doesn't, enjoy your girl for one more year! (ps...my daughter who is going into 1st grade this year had all day kindergarten last year after never having gone to preschool, she loved kindergarten and had no problems!)

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  2. Funny you should bring this up today...because just last night I asked a young mom how much preschool is nowadays. She said the one she wants her son to go to (run 2 moms in a home) is $120. a month for 2 half days a week. They sounded high to me but maybe it's low...not sure. And we live in California.

    Just my opinion, but I think 7 hours a day for a 4 year old to be away from mom is way too much. That's even too hard for most 1st graders to do! There's got to be better options out there. I would ask around. If nothing else, perhaps you could start a rotating one....I did this with my first son many years ago. Hand select 4-6 kids and moms. And take turns having them in your home every 4-6 weeks.

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  3. I never went to pre-school. And I turned out (turning out) just fine.

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  4. Anonymous2:22 PM

    I'm a Kindergarten teaching in ONtario and we are just starting full day Kindergarten for 3,4 and 5 year olds. I think they are a bit young for full day. But some parents/other K teachers are loving it. I guess it depends on the child. Can you enroll her in the full day and just pick her up early every day?

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  5. In Texas, I think most public pre-k's are for underprivileged kids... What you need is "Mother's Day Out". In Denton, I pay about $180/month for Tuesday/Thursday from 9 - 2. It's at a church (most are) and is not connected with a "day care".

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  6. I agree with Julia. I bet you could find a preschool attached/associated with a church that would fit your needs. We are not Lutheren but we sent our boys to a local Lutheren preschool for $80 2x a week or $110 3x a week 9-11:30. I asked them about what "religious" things they taught and it was very basic. I even had an atheist friend that sent her kids there. Remember that your children are only with you for a short time. PSP will have plenty of school years ahead of her and you want to be her main influence at this time. Good Luck!

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  7. We pay 120 a month for 3x's a week for 2.5 hours for our 4 year old. It is a tad more than the going rate around here, but it was hard to find a 3 day a week (instead of 2 days)
    I live in place where there are almost no half day kindergartens anymore, I really don't like it and have even gotten feedback from some of the kindergarten teachers themselves that full day kindergarten is just too long for a 5 year old.
    Anyways, it is hard when you are new to an area, but have you found any people who do it in their homes? That is what we have found for a couple of our kids and they are structured, less like day-care programs. Or finding a preschool connected to a church sounds like a great idea too.
    I can't imagine a 4 year old in school all day - my 6 year old just started half-day kindergarten and I am so glad I get to have him in the afternoons(I know half day programs are getting rare!), once they start school - it just gets longer and busier every year!

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  8. All day, everyday pre-school does seem like waaaaaay too long for a little 4 year old to be away to school. I don't think I could handle being away from my daughter for that long when she has the next thirteen years life to be in school all day. We pay $115 a month for two day a week preschool that's not associated with a daycare. With my next kid, a little boy, I'm thinking about joining a Joy school group. Maybe you could start your own Joy school group there in San Antonio! You can read more about it at www.joyschools.com

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  9. Hey there...I'm Carri Schneider's friend...I've been following your blog for a little while! Very inspiring. :) I just thought I would weigh in on the topic since I have a different perspective. I went to an all day Pre-School and Kindergarten and I turned out just fine too. I think you have to decide what is best for PSP. Or you could try it out and just see if it works. She may just surprise herself and you and be just fine! But if it's not fine, you could pull her and enrich her at home. :)

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  10. I love you blog! You are doing a great job living your life!

    I wouldn't send her away that long. I'm not a huge believer in preschool though unless she has delays. (I had boys with some delays and they went)

    But you can teach her those same basic things the preschool can.

    You could do a play group for social skills.

    Kids want to be with mom. She'll be gone soon enough. Plus I bet it helps Lamp to have her around.

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  11. a dilemna for sure. i have a preK kid as well and i agree with you, 8-3 every day would be too much. i am in california and pay $340/mo for 3 day a week preschool (not a daycare). it is a little steep, although reasonable for the area. it was important enough for us to pay it and my 4 year old definitely needs it. wish i could help more. good luck!

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  12. I started my daughter (I have 3 kids) at age 4 in a church preschool 2 days per week from 9-1 and it was perfect. the cost was around $180 per month and there were about 14 kids and 2 teachers in each class. They had a spanish teacher, music teacher, and taught them Kindergarten skills as well- this is in Alabama, so it may be different where you are- I enjoy your blog tremendously.

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  13. Anonymous6:59 PM

    I agree with Nick & Kelly... if it's free, try it and just see! Will you be penalized for taking her out early or missing days? We did PT preschool last year, and are on day 4 of FT (8-2) preschool this year. We pay $480/mo here because the public schools are downright scary! We chose the cheapest private/christian school in our area. In fact we will be moving before 1st grade because of the school system...and private is too much! But I'm not motivated enough to teach her at home, being at the tail end of a rough pregnancy. And she LOVES school. So it's good for us both, at the moment.

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  14. Sorry this is long, but since you asked... ;o)

    I'm NOT a fan of all-day preschool or kindergarten. (I'm guessing the schools have instituted it mainly for 2-parent working families and single parents.) I'm super grateful my kids were able to attend traditional 1/2 day kindergarten!

    My kids have all done preschool, but it was for a much shorter amount of time. I loved each one of their preschools! Here's a breakdown in pricing (granted, it was a few years ago!):
    ~Colorado (private, in-home): 2 days/week, 2.5 hours: $100/month; 3 days/week, 3 hours: $150/month
    ~Utah (state funded in a school setting): 3 days/week, 3 hours: $80/month.

    I highly recommend that you don't put PSP in all-day preschool. Preschool is more about the social aspect (learning to listen to other adults and play well with other children) anyway. See if you can find something a little less lengthy. (Seriously, it is worth the price!) I strongly believe that she needs more time with YOU than other people...your influence as her mother is worth everything!! The other good news is, she is getting 2 hours of structure (Primary) on Sundays as well!

    To put things in perspective, B met my oldest two children when they were just babies/toddlers. Now one is off to middle school, and the other will be a 4th grader! My "baby" is starting 2nd grade! I seriously don't know WHERE the time has gone! Enjoy the precious time you have with your little ladies...they will be grown before you know it!

    *Lastly, PSP has you and B for parents! She can't HELP but be a successful and well-rounded individual! :)

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  15. P.S. The preschool hours I listed were hours per day.

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  16. Thank you for all the comments and suggestions!

    Just to be clear I am definitely NOT putting her in all day pre-K. That decision was already made for all the reasons many of you have stated--she's too young, I'd rather her be home with me and Lamp for our influence, etc. I was asking if anyone does or would more for reference and to see how it worked for you. Just to clarify... :)

    I think finding a local church run school--which is what she did last year--will be our best bet. It's good to hear some of the numbers you're throwing out so I know that perhaps my expectations aren't that unreasonable. Anyway, thanks again and still love to hear from you so keep it coming!

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  17. Anonymous9:21 PM

    I am in Virginia and to send my 5 year old 5 days a week (9am-12pm) to a church preschool program and it was $141.00/month. It was pricier when we lived in a bigger city-by about $30-$40 dollars more.
    I plan to send my 4 year old there this year for 3 days a week and I believe it will cost around $120/month.
    Good luck to you! These things are always so stressful but they work out fine. Hang in there, you've got a lot on your plate with a move and small children! Good to trust your gut too, on the all day program. Good to savor them being at home for this last bit as much as possible-even though there will be days you wish she is in the all day pre-k program;)
    Jayne

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  18. Hello!
    I am Kellie Coburn's friend who emailed with you a couple of times a while back about Cincinnati (we've moved here now and love it). I totally understand your hesitation, but can add an additional perspective, for what it's worth. We had our 4 year old in all day public PreK in east Harlem last year starting a couple months shy of turning 4. Aside from a couple of details (the 1 mile obligatory walk was a little long in bad weather, the snacks were not as healthy as I would have preferred) it was really a fantastic experience for her. While as a parent you certainly want to be the main influence on your child, I think there is also something to be gained from venturing out into the unknown, learning to navigate new social situations, and having friends with all different cultural, economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. GRANTED, you can gain that from half-day PreK as well. But at least in NY, most of the added time of full day vs half day is spent in things like recess, snack, nap/rest time, etc....ie social learning time rather than academic learning time. The academic learning time at this age (at least for us) is mostly at home. Good luck finding what you are looking for!

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  19. Children that attend Family Home Evening, Primary, etc. already get the structure necessary to start kindergarten. Children that preschool is absolutely necessary for, are those that have no other opportunities to learn in a group and learn in a structured way. Children need to learn to raise hands, let others have the floor, etc. You will not ruin your daughter by keeping her home. It will seem like such an insignificant thing in a few years. It may seem important now, but your decision is not the make or break of a good life for her.

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  20. Haven't read all other comments so I may just be repeating.
    I am a former Kindergarten teacher in Dallas Tx. area. Turned stay at home mom who has been home the last 8 years with my Second grader and my 3 yr old son. You do not need pre school for a child to be successful. The biggest advantage as you mentioned is getting them ready for that structure and being away from you. That is the only reason I sent my son (who is now in 2nd grade.) He went the year before he started school...he is a SEPT. birthday and our cut off here is SEpt 1. SO he was a year older than most kids....which is better IMO. he went to an in home pre school taught by a Mom from Church who had been to college for a teaching degree but never finished. Only 3 days a week 9am-12pm. that was perfect to get him ready to be away from me. Pre- K here is only for ESL kids and low- income....Kinder is only full day here as well. Full day IS WAY TOO MUCH for a 4 year IMO. Does not need it. I would check out all the churches....many churches around here do programs and only 2-3 days a week can run around $150- 200 a month. But I would try, try to scrimp and get that money. I think she would do best adjusting to kinder if she had some pre-school before. But if it was between full day or none...I would do NONE! Or get a co-op pre school together with other women at church....won't give the same school structure....but better than nothing...and free!

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  21. one more thing...from reading a comment above. She does not need full time social time away from you right now...she is only 4!!!! She needs you more than anything. You only have one more year with her!!!! 7 hours a day every day is SOOOOO LOOOONNNG. It's even long for my second grade son...whom I dread going back:( Savor your last year with her...soak it up, drink it in! You will never get it back! She will have the rest of her life to venture away from you and learn all those important school/life rules.

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  22. We were fortunate to receive free Pre-K through the city, it was every day for 2.5 hours a day, classroom structure, kids learned to write their names, letters, numbers, etc. If it was all day, I don't think my daughter would have done well. So I wouldn't do an all day Pre-K personally. Good luck, I hope you find something perfect for your daughter.

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  23. I sent all my children to TWO years of preschool. 3-year old preschool was on Tuesday & Thursday from 8:30 until noon.... and the 4-year old preschool was on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 until noon. The 3 year old program cost $45 per month, and the 4 year old program cost $65 per month. We were also responsible for buying juice/milk tickets and a rotating snack schedule for the class. This was through our public school system.

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  24. Hey Miggs,
    We started Josie at Xavier Montessori last year (when she was freshly 3) which is an 9-12, five days/wk program. We were SO worried that it would be too much, but she took to it like a fish to water and never looked back. When I got put on bedrest, she had to start staying in the extended day program. So she was there 8:30-3:00 and then 8:30-5:00 for the last two months when I was on 24 hr bedrest. It was SOOO hard for me because it went against everything I thought about the way I would parent. But then days would come when Lou would go to pick her up sooner and she would beg to stay at school. She thrived on the daily routine, made her own friends, and got her own "thing" which I think became even more important once we got a new baby in the house. I didn't realize how much she needed that until she had it. And oddly, her being in school really had a positive effect on our time together in the late afternoons and evenings. Just another viewpoint to consider. You're an amazing incredible mom! Does P have an opinion in either direction? Hugs!

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  25. Well as a working parent I have to have a program that will allow for full day( daycare) and kindergarten etc...so ive never known anything different until this year when I started to pay grandma to watch our son while I was at work ( daycare was too far from work..) Anyway what I am noticing for him- he just turned 3- is that since he was in daycare he adapted to that environment...hes more advanced verbally and with physical milestones and socialization than his peers. Parents often comment to me how old he seems and I think it has to do with the daily structure and activities he was provided in the daycare setting...Anyway now he will be doing a 2 day a week 2 hour a day preschool program as I found he missed out on playing with all the kids, doing all the activities and craves more socialization. Yes hes only 3 but for him he needs that extra bit. I think its different for all kids, what kind of neighborhood you have( other kids to play with) how much time you have to do activities in home etc. I honestly think that every kid / situation is different and you do what is best as a parent.

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  26. Hey Miggaroo! We were in a very similar dilemma here in South Carolina. Graham had not been in any pre-school before, and we wanted a morning program, that met five days a week. Our town has some very overrun public school programs that are too long, and several religious school options, but none of our particular faith, so we weren't super comfortable (they are all very conservative protestant schools, so we just did not know what he would be learning there). We bit the bullet and enrolled him in the local small private school K-4, which costs around $5000 per year. This is comparable to Norfolk, VA, so I figured it was the best choice for us. Good luck with the decision. I know how you feel:) XOXO

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  27. is there a local ymca? less common out west, but that's where i'm sending will. i think. here it's $70/month (2x/week 9 - 11:30) for members.

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  28. Anita9:26 PM

    What about this......so the public free pre-k is from 8-3 which means they would eat lunch sometime in there. Why don't you pick her up everyday either before or after lunch. That would be your routine and it would still give her plenty of social/academic time. If you are a stay at home mom, I don't see the need to send her everyday all day.

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  29. Anita9:27 PM

    What about this......so the public free pre-k is from 8-3 which means they would eat lunch sometime in there. Why don't you pick her up everyday either before or after lunch. That would be your routine and it would still give her plenty of social/academic time. If you are a stay at home mom, I don't see the need to send her everyday all day.

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  30. Anonymous9:27 PM

    What about this......so the public free pre-k is from 8-3 which means they would eat lunch sometime in there. Why don't you pick her up everyday either before or after lunch. That would be your routine and it would still give her plenty of social/academic time. If you are a stay at home mom, I don't see the need to send her everyday all day.

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  31. so we lived in TX (dallas/ft.worth area) and we had the same dilema, all day kinder and so they needed SOMETHING before transitioning into ALL DAY we found a pre school (3 days a week 3 hours/day) at our city's recreation center it was only $50/month and it did the trick.. they didn't learn algebra or even all their letters (the pre school tried!) but what I found way more valuable was the learning structure.. learning to get along with classroom friends and listening to an adult other than their mom.. not knowing about San Antonio I have no clue if you have a parks and rec dept but even if they didn't have a pre school if they have any "classes" you can sign her up for a few so they "mimic" pre school... good luck!!!

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  32. I think full day will be too much for her right now. For Gabe last year we payed $95 a month for two days a week and it was for 2.5 hours. By the end of the year he was reading small sight words. It was enough time for him to get structure but he was still home too. A lady in our ward was a teacher and did it. So it was structured and the kids were learning a lot. If I were you I would ask around your ward to see if anyone does that.

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  33. For whatever it's worth, that sounds like too much school to me. All of our kids have gone 2 mornings a week at age 3, and then 3 mornings a week at age 4. Look for Lutheran churches (Missouri synod, not ELCA; MS is much more conservative - all are around nationwide). We are not Lutheran but our kids' preschool education has been outstanding and exactly what we want. Here's the brochure for our small school in Kansas City:

    http://www.bethanylutheran-op.org/PS_Brochure.pdf

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  34. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I couldn't afford pre-school for my kids, so I got together a group of friends with kids the same age, and we took turns having the kids at our house. We got books at the library and planned the themes, and agreed on what kinds of things we would do each time, so there would be structure. My kids loved it, and it barely cost a thing--just a little for snacks/activities on my weeks.

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  35. I've done co-ops when my kids are 3- then you just pay for the supplies and take turns. I think 5 kids is great- then I teach once every 5 weeks. For my oldest I did preschool through the rec center the following two years (he's a summer birthday and we waited a year for kinder). It was twice a week for 2 hours for $55 a month. The churches around here are between $150 and 200 a month. Good Luck!

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  36. Catherine6:04 AM

    Check out the Acorn School ... I know nothing besides the name, but I was aware of a very nice young family who sent their two daughters there. I checked out their Web page, and they do have limited hours.

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  37. Anonymous3:27 PM

    It looks like no one will agree with me but here it goes:

    MONTESSORI is awesome! it is not day care and it alows your kid to still be a kid and explore as they get ready to have more asked of them. They are not all created equal.

    I work as the art director at mine for preK-5thgrade. I get a huge tuition cut and still be with them.

    That said I really believe in getting your kids in some sort of program by 4. Not just for a break but they come home so proud of things they learned and can show you. Good luck. Great Desk!

    Kimballs

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  38. Can I just vent here that the cheapest pre-school in all of Park City that I've been able to find is $255/month plus $200 sign up fee for TWO DAYS a week, 3 hours each day?

    Your options sound dreamy. I am confident you'll find something that will work for you guys.

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