Monday, January 14, 2013

To Preschool?

Now that I am home, I have been searching for a preschool for Nicole. She is an anxious girl who doesn't really like crowds and has trouble playing with other kids. She would much rather just play by herself or with me, Matt or Dan. So, we thought it would be a good idea to socialize her in a preschool.

But, then I started researching preschools and they are super expensive! I guess I just didn't realize that it would be around 100 dollars a month to send her to preschool. As we move to one income again, we just don't have that kind of money to spend on preschool. And, I found there is a lot that I don't like about preschool. For instance, a lot of preschools are also day cares and I don't really want Nicole going to a place that is also a daycare. I want the place to focus solely on preschool material, not on babysitting my kid. Also, most of the curriculum for preschools is stuff that Nicole has already learned, like letters, colors, and numbers. Nicole is getting ready to read, she knows all that stuff already and has for a year now. I don't really want to pay 100 dollars a month for someone to teach her stuff she already knows.

I looked into preschool in the school district, but it turns out that it is mostly for early intervention kids (which Nicole is not). They let in a few average kids based on lower income and to have a raised bar in the classroom, but it is apparently very competitive to get in.

So, I started thinking that perhaps Nicole doesn't need preschool. I can teach her everything that she needs to know academically for kindergarten. I can teach her to read and to write. I never went to preschool, none of my siblings did, and we all turned out just fine. But, Matt's mother taught preschool in her home and all of her children went to preschool. Matt grew up learning that preschool is a vital part of childhood growth. Matt insisted that we find a preschool that would work best for Nicole, but not for the academics, but rather for the social aspect, just to get her used to leaving us a couple of times a week and being with other kids her age.

On Sunday, I was in the nursery with Dan and was talking to another Mom in there. I discovered that there is a neighborhood preschool that 6 of the moms do together. They each take a week and teach the kids twice a week for two hours and rotate. So every mom only has to teach every six weeks. And, there are no fees. The moms just pay for whatever they spend on the lesson that they teach and the workbooks that they purchase from Walmart. I wanted in. This sounded like an awesome option for Nicole. It will get her acquainted with other kids in the neighborhood, it is inexpensive, and I will also get to socialize with the other mommies. I asked if Nicole could enter the group and go the thumbs up from two of the moms but I am waiting to hear back from the other moms to see if Nicole can join. It would bump it up to 7 kids, so I don't know if we will get in or not, but I will cross my fingers.

But, even if she doesn't get into this preschool group, would it be the end of the world if she doesn't have school before kindergarten? I think not, but maybe I am being naive. I just don't know.


Sarah said...

Ha. Preschool, vital? Hardly. College = vital. Preschool = socializing time for child and free time for Mama. If she can't get into the preschool you could always just start doing playdates with other moms and their kiddles. I'm sure she'll learn as much or more from what you already teach her.

Marie said...

I think it would be good for Nicole. She does have some social anxiety so it would be good practice for her. And she loves learning so it would be good practice for that too. If you can get into that mommy group, it sounds like that would be perfect.

Jasmine said...

For my 2-cents-worth, I am totally an advocate of preschool. When Alexis was 2 1/2, I thought I would just try to do a co-op with other mommies in the ward. But nobody bit, so I figured I'd just look at area preschools when she turned 4. Then we had the whole speech delay issue pop up, and her speech pathologist strongly recommended that we get her in preschool ASAP. Fast forward to now, Alexis has been in preschool for a year, and it is the best decision we ever made for her. Her preschool is also a child care center, but honestly I don't think it's any different for her except during the summer, because they do all the academic stuff in the mornings, and the "babysitting" happens in the afternoon. Also, preschool isn't about academics, really. At this age, it's way more important to help develop social skills. I won't go on and on (though I could), rather just reiterate that I'm with Matt on this one -- preschool is GREAT!!! Seriously, even if Alexis wasn't speech delayed, I would still say it was the best decision we've made for her, and we plan on putting Cassie in preschool when she's old enough, too.

On another note: When you said $100/month, I thought "man, I wish we only paid that!", because for three half-days a week, we pay $285/month. Not to mention we had to pull a LOT of strings to get her in the one she's in, because there's generally a 2-year waiting list.'s crazy down here.

Jasmine said...

(Oh, and Alexis knew all the "academic" stuff before she started preschool, too. Like I said, it's more important for social skills development, so it sounds like it will be a really good thing for Nicole.)

Rebecca Susan said...

No one in my family or my husband's family did any pre-K save for one special needs brother, and all 11 kids between the two families did great in school and in their social lives.

That being said, we decided to do preschool for Keilana when we were in California, because she was very shy still and kindergarten was all day and primarily in Spanish--I just thought that would be too big of a shock with no transition.

If she is anxious, I think its a good idea for the social aspects (that was my only struggle with school--anxiety, and it would've been a lot harder for me if I didn't have a twin brother to use as a security blanket. I can still remember feeling like I could barely breathe on several occasions when I was that age, because I was so uncomfortable in a crowd), but preschool is not the only way to deal with that. Half-way through your post I was thinking about suggesting doing a small preschool with a group of fellow stay-at-home moms. I hope that works out, because I think that's a great idea. But even organizing a play group yourself of similarly-aged kids can be tremendously helpful.

If all else fails, you can look into Head Start in your area--I'm sure if there are any available, you guys would qualify. But I'm sure she'll do just find in the long run so long as she has an attentive mom. Even with the nervousness, knowing I was coming home to a loving mom at the end of the day helped keep the nerves at bay during the day.