I originally expected to start Luke at Preschool when he turned 3…he’s almost 3.5 and we’re still trying to decide what and when to do with Preschool. I really can see why so many parents choose to home school, it’s not something I personally feel comfortable doing with my family but I totally understand it. Finding a good Preschool is proving to be more difficult that I thought.
Before we got pregnant I was thinking I wanted to start him at Preschool this Fall but now the baby will be here then and I really want to wait until Jan of 2013 to get him started because I really don’t want him feeling pushed out of the house with such a big transition with the baby coming. It takes a little time for the whole family to adjust and I want to include him as much as possible with that adjustment. He’s been doing so great at Gym class and now Swim lessons that I don’t want to completely rock the boat and throw him into something that might set him back. It took so long for him to get to where we are at Gym and I was nervous about Swim lessons with a completely new teacher but I followed his lead and he told me he was ready so we went for it and it’s been an overwhelming positive experience for us. It’s another gradual step in the right direction and I like that we have no rush for these transitions making it a very natural gradual transition for him.
The whole Preschool topic came up again recently when my mom told me they were moving a Preschool close to me – in my backyard close to me. I was giddy at the thought of being able to drive less than 5 minutes to a Preschool and then it got even better when I heard it was known as one of the best in Warren County. I also heard that it was going to have a pretty hefty waiting list so I jumped on the phone to the school board and started making some inquiries. I was a little bummed because It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for…4 days a week and I’d have to start him this September and it sounded very structured which I wasn’t sure was a good fit for Luke. Ideally I wanted to start out at 2 days a week at a school that had more of an emphasis of learning through play for his age.
I’ve been reading some interesting things about education based preschool and learning through play preschools and how kids who have had early structured education aren’t any better off by the time they’re in elementary school. I hate the thought of putting that pressure on kids at such a young age.
I was given some great advice from a preschool teacher who said that learning through play is fantastic for young kids – they’ll be in very structured education curriculum for the next 12-16 plus years so let them be kids when they’re in Preschool. However, at some point I do believe that they have to get used to being in that more structured environment and you have to prepare them for that. That’s why I’ve been on the search for a good balance of education and hands on learning for 2 days a week and then gradually work it up to 4 and then 5 days. I think just throwing Luke into a structured environment 5 days a week could be a disaster and intimidating for any child who’s not used to that environment.
I have lost count of how many preschools I’ve talked with and I’m excited to be visiting a Preschool in Blue Ash that’s located on 7 acres of land with a many playgrounds, an outside amphitheater, wooded trails, vegetable garden and a soccer field. The teachers work their lessons into going outside every day, weather permitting. At first I wasn’t thinking about this aspect for Preschool because we live outside at our house so he gets plenty of outside time but the more I thought about it the more I thought about how important it is for kids to have a break from the “classroom” and get outside to learn Math, Science and Social Studies in a hands on way while getting some fresh air. The best part is the price! It’s very affordable and that’s another huge plus including the flexibility of being able to start when we want and start at 2, 3, 4, or 5 days! This will let us ramp Luke up to gradually to get ready for Kindergarten, which they also provide a chartered Kindergarten at this school so if we really like it we have that choice as well. I don’t know if this will be THE Preschool for us but I feel like it’s a good start in the right direction for what I’m looking for Luke. Who knew it would be this difficult to find a great Preschool we feel comfortable with?! What was/is on your must-have list when you were looking for a Preschool?
Where do your kids go to Preschool and what do you love about it?!