January 12, 2015

The Preschool Roundup!

I haven't been the best blogger lately, because I've been preoccupied since this year has started, looking into preschools for Noelle next year! Registration for most places starts this month, and some even end at the end of this month!

Before I was an educator I really did not have a strong opinion on preschools. At one point in our relationship, Joey and I had even said we wouldn't have our kids go to preschool!! Joey never attended preschool, and I thought I could definitely teach my kids everything they are taught in preschool. Although that may be true, I have since changed my mind because preschool isn't just about education. 

I now know that much of our children's minds are developed by age 5, and they absorb the most in these first few years. But they absorb more than academics. They learn gross motor skills, socialization skills, learn teamwork, learn how to communicate and express their feelings, learn how to follow direction, etc. Preschool is also a wonderful transitional place for children to prepare for full day school, entering kindergarten, etc.

Noelle at her orientation, and then after her first day of school!

Noelle started school early and went to a 2 day (age 2.5-3) preschool this year to get more socialization skills. She knew her ABCs, 1-2-3s, shapes, and all her colors by age 2...so that wasn't our concern...ours was definitely that as a child that was home with her mom since birth, she didn't have any social skills. She's an immensely shy, cautious, reserved, introverted child and needs a lot of time to prepare herself for change. She's structured, predictable, and likes things to also be structured and predictable just like her. She's not a risk taker, and didn't have very much experience being around other kids or taking direction from anyone but me. The class that she is currently in is wonderful and has been a great first step for her. 

She was so excited to see her picture and name on her cubby!

With that being said, we are taking it serious where she goes to preschool next year, even if it's "only preschool." We are currently looking at three different preschools in our area. We're having a hard time because there are so many options! Here's what we are considering:

Kids Corner Preschool
  • 2 days/week + has add on day options + extended day options.
  • 2.5 hours per day.
  • Roughly $193/month.
  • Includes physical education, swim lessons, and indoor/outdoor playgrounds.
  • 1:8 ratio.
  • 2 family social events per year.
  • Holiday program.
  • Assessments/1-2 conferences per year.
  • Lots of community events within the center; workshops, family events, holiday parties, etc.
  • 5 minutes from home.
Incarnation Lutheran Church Preschool
  • 2 days/week.
  • 2.5 hours per day.
  • Roughly $125/month.
  • Includes gym for large motor skills + outdoor playground.
  • 1 on-site field trip and 1 off-site field trip per year.
  • 1:8 ratio.
  • 2 family social events per year.
  • Christmas program.
  • Monthly library time.
  • Assessments/1-2 conferences per year.
  • Lots of community service.
  • 1 minute from home.
  • Accredited by the NAYEC.
St. Odilia Preschool
  • 3 days/week + extended day options + all day option.
  • 3 hours per day.
  • Roughly $160/month.
  • Includes older school buddies that assist and become friends with preschooler throughout the year.
  • Includes physical education and music class, each weekly.
  • Weekly library time.
  • On-site/off-site field trips.
  • Christmas program.
  • Assessments/conferences.
  • 10 minutes from home.
  • Accredited by the NAYEC.
So hard to decide! I visited Incarnation last week, and this week Joey and I will be attending open houses for both Incarnation and St. Odilia's. I have also scheduled a time to drop in and observe the preschool class at Kids Corner. There are so many options to choose from...such as the option for Noelle to go all day if I student teach in the fall. Or if we want her to combine swimming lessons with her preschool curriculum - since as shy as she is, she may be most comfortable taking that class with familiar faces. I also like to consider fun experiences and opportunities for her to have, convenience for us, and a preschool that has high standards. 

Which would you lean towards? What things do you look for in preschools? What questions would you have for potential preschools?

Here are some good resources I've been reading to help me decide:
10 Signs of a Great Preschool by NAEYC

*** Since this post has been written, we have explored 3 additional preschools, and have decided on one!! To read my further preschool research, click here! ***

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