Okay, so I'm freaking out about preschool. I'm going crazy researching and trying to find one!!
There was one that I was SUPER, SUPER excited about! A lot of the people in my play group have had children go through the program. It's a Montessori school and at first when I kept hearing people talk about it I assumed it was a religious school so I just ignored everything they were saying, but it turns out it's absolutely not! It's a really different program that emphasizes a lot on hands-on learning, learning through play, and real-life situations. They don't have any "toys" there, just things you'd find in every day life. (which makes sense, why would I pay money for my child to play with toys?! especially since we have a TON of toys at our own house and I bring Venily to a play group/story time/ library classes, etc. already!) The one woman I talked to who had a daughter go through the program told me that almost all the students that leave their preschool leave already knowing how to read! So I was really psyched about it!
Venily, Haven, and I took a tour of it this week and we really liked it, but it didn't quite live up to my INCREDIBLY high standards... so I'm really at a loss as to what to do!
Things I loved about it:
*small class size, only 7 in a class!
*the teachers are really experienced and most have their bachelor's degrees! (important to me since I have an education degree)
*academic focused, a lot more so than any other preschools in the area
*thorough weekly lesson plans that are posted so I can see what is going on each day
Things I didn't love:
*we are on a Very tight budget and though it's comparable to any other preschool, we are only going to be able to afford 2 days a week (you can send your child 1-5 days a week) and even that's going to be pushing it for us!
*it's at a church... there is absolutely no religious component to their teaching but like as I walked in there was a poster that said "God loves all children." I'm fine with that, but it's not the ideal situation for me.
*Okay, and here's the biggest thing- I read through the parent handbook and all the handouts and things they gave me and their curriculum goals weren't as high as I was anticipating. Specifically it says that
-'depending on interest, children will be introduced to the letters and sounds of the alphabet' and 'children are introduced to counting 1-20'. And this is for the 3 and 4 year old class. Venily already knows how to do all these things!
So what do I do?! There are other curriculum goals of course, but nothing that I don't do with her already or that aren't covered by the various other classes and things we go to.
I WANT to send her to preschool. I WANT someone else to teach her 6 hours a week. But I'm not sure if it's worth the financial strain that it will put on us! I'm thinking with such a small class they'll be able to work with her at her level, but I'm not certain of it. I am going so crazy over this decision!
Venily's a smart girl and I want her to have some experience in a 'school setting' because I'm hoping to skip her a grade and put her right into kindergarten the following year instead of 4K. I'd put her into 4K in the fall, but she's technically still only going to be 2 years old at the start of the year and I doubt they'd take her that early.
I could always send her to the preschool and continue to supplement her education at home. Then I'd basically be paying to get her used to school. She's never been away from me for any length of time (only close family ever watches her and that's not very often) and I've NEVER just dropped her off somewhere where she didn't know anybody, so that'll probably be quite an adjustment. Hmmm.... I just don't know!
I have her paperwork all filled out and ready to hand in along with her deposit, but I'm so on the fence as to whether or not to send her! What do you think?! I need to come up with a decision quick b/c they are already almost booked for fall!