Kidlet is going to be 2 whole years old in September (I don’t understand how it happened so quickly), and I’ve recently learned that 2 years old makes pre-school available to him. He should go! He’d love it! As parents we should send him to school as soon as possible! Give him as many advantages as we can!
But the options are staggering. First of all, I think there must be a bazillion toddlers in this town, because there are half a bazillion pre-schools. And anytime I get faced with lots-o-options I have a nervous breakdown.
There are Christian pre-schools, a Jewish pre-school, several Montessori schools, some “Waldorf Inspired” options (I guess Waldorf doesn’t encourage any sort of formal learning before age 3?), a few co-ops, several private schools, a couple of international schools, and tons of pre-school programs that several of the daycare centers incorporate into daycare.
Private options don’t really appeal to me, and they’re DAMN expensive. Like $7000 a year (school year, mind you) for 10hrs/wk pricey.
The co-ops don’t really appeal to me either. They only have “class” 2 days a week from 9-11, there’s a LOT of parent involvement (which isn’t really my thing) and they’re STILL pricey.
I like the Montessori approach and might look into some of the options more carefully, but they’re not inexpensive.
Waldorf-inspired…well, I’d choose Montessori over Waldorf because I’m more familiar with it.
I’m really interested in the Jewish pre-school, and the international schools. I like the idea of him being exposed to Judaism, not because we’re Jewish, but because the whole rest of his life will be heavily influenced by Christianity, so I like the idea of giving him religious exposure that will provide balance to the prevailing Christian norm. The international schools appeal to me because I like the idea of him learning a second language early. I know that kids are sponges for languages, and I think being exposed early to any language, in addition to English can only be an asset.
So I get all excited thinking about him going someplace with some structure and learning things. But then I think, “Well, he’s TWO. How about he just gets to play some more?”
He goes to daycare 2 full days and 2 half days right now. He seems to enjoy it. (Goodness knows *I* enjoy it – he sleeps SO MUCH BETTER the nights he’s there. Especially the full days.) While there’s no formal structure, he spends time with other kids, and different adults, and I think those things are valuable. We started him in daycare when he was about a year old so that I could have a small break (he started at 4hrs, one morning a week), and so he could be around other kids. As my paid work has increased, so has the amount of time he’s gone to daycare. It’s not terribly expensive (we pay $125/wk for about 24hrs of care), it gives me the opportunity to do some paid work, and it gives him a chance to be out of the house with kids his own age.
So, I think I’m shelving pre-school for now. I’ll probably re-vist it next year. And I’m sure I’ll fixate on it from time to time between now and the next time applications are due (yes, applications). (I’m going to need the next year to sort out all these options.) He’s got plenty of time to be in school – for now I’m just going to let him be in childhood.