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View Full Version : HELP! Daycare or Preschool for my 3yo?


HeatherAnn23
03-18-2008, 12:23 AM
Ok, part of this is budget so I'm hoping to get some opinions.
To start with, sadly enough, I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, taught prekindergarten for 10 years, and now teach first grade. I really am over educated when it comes to this, and I've advised many families - but I'm having a hard time with the decision when it comes to my baby!

My youngest ds will be 3 years old at the end of April. He's in a home daycare right now that we all love. He's been going there for two years, and his caregiver also picks up my oldest ds from school and takes care of him too. For both of them, I pay around $400 per month.

My oldest son attended Montessori preschool from 2 1/2 - 5 years old. I loved the preschool, and feel like it was a great fit for us. At the time, it was $525 a month, not including before/after care. I always assumed I would send my youngest at 2 1/2. When the time came, I just didn't feel like he was ready, and decided to have him at the home daycare for this school year.

Unfortunately, now is the time I need to be thinking about registration for my son for the fall if I want him to go to montessori.

Financially it would be hard for us. I would guess it will be around $650 a month for him. I would also still need to pay someone to watch my oldest son after school - he'll be in third grade next year. HELP!

torinsmom
03-18-2008, 06:20 AM
Does the daycare your son is at do any educational type things? I am not talking algebra, but colors, shapes, numbers 1-10 and letters? Or can you do those things at home? I teach 3-6 year olds at a Montessori charter school. The only drawback to waiting a year and starting your DS at 4 is that he may be past the point where he will just soak it up without any effort. Then again, if he is exposed to these things elsewhere, starting at 4 would be a great alternative. He would still have a full two years in the 3-6 classroom, which should be adequate.

Do you have any public or charter Montessoris around? They are popping up all over the country. It's a good mix, IMHO, of Montessori and standard course of study.

As far as your son, is he in the same district as you are? Could he ride the bus to your school after his school is dismissed and do his homework until you are ready to leave?

Marsha

LisaNJ25
03-18-2008, 08:45 AM
I would leave him in home daycare for one my year.

I am sending my soon to be 3yo to prechool in the fall only because I am a sahm and I got a scholarship to pay for it. It is also much cheaper that your school if I had to pay for it. . My now 3yo did not attend and my older 2 also did not go to 3yo pre-school, they were in home daycare. I hope that made sense lol

If the fall I will have my than 3yo and 4yo both in Pre-school. Same school, 2 1/2 hours a day. The 3yo will go 2 days a week and the 4 yo is 5 days.

If I was working and had them in home daycare only the 4yo would be going to pre-k and that would be the one at the public school and the 3yo would stay at daycare.

DawnM
03-18-2008, 10:46 AM
That is very, very cheap! I can't even believe $400 for one child, let alone adding the after school care for a 2nd!

I would let him stay where he feels comfortable for another year. Believe me, Harvard will not be out of the question just because he missed high academics at age 3!

Dawn

lovepurple
03-18-2008, 11:20 AM
I would leave him in daycare. Of my 4 kids, only one did not go to preschool, but I've got to say she is the brightest academically of all of them. We had moved when she was three and were unable go get her enrolled. But it worked out okay.
Plus it looks like you are getting a heck of a deal. If you are concerned about the learning aspect, just use everyday life as learning experiences.

Mouse House Mama
03-18-2008, 11:59 AM
I would leave him where he is if he is doing well. If you relaly want a preschool why does it have to be montessorri? There are plenty of really good programs out there that aren't as expensive. If you really feel he needs school and not daycare then I would check some other schools out. Like a previous poster mentioned- I don't think it will put him out of the running for Ivy league.:cutie: I do understand your angst though. Look at the pros and cons and then decide what is actually best for your child. Good luck!princess:

tjlovespooh
03-18-2008, 01:12 PM
[QUOTE=lovepurple;23866181]I would leave him in daycare. Of my 4 kids, only one did not go to preschool, but I've got to say she is the brightest academically of all of them. [QUOTE]

Interesting! I've always wondered if preschool actually benefits a child more in the long run. My DS will be 3 next year and I already have people asking me if I'm going to enroll him in school. I used to teach preschool and always said there isn't anything being taught at that school that couldn't be done by parents. As for socializing - there are plenty of extra-curricular activites available, right? (BTW, I'm a *mostly* SAHM)

dopeyfanatic
03-18-2008, 05:51 PM
I'm a SAHM and I only sent my kids to pre-k for 4 year old preschool. So they had one year before starting Kindergarten. Part of it was socializing, part of it was educational, and part of it was to get use to a structured environment. And face it, most kids learn better from other people. Mommy can't possibly right..lol! My kids teachers have all told me that their kids were the same way, even though they were teachers! I say wait a year. Save the money!

lucigo
03-18-2008, 05:56 PM
Florida offers a free "VPK" which is voluntary pre-K for "normal" kids, I'm not familiar with it since my son is in a special needs pre-K, but I see signs for it all over town. You might see if your state has anything similar. I know its not all day but might go along with the babysitting?

You could also consider some type of church-based type preschool, the ones around here are just a couple of days a week, a few hours a day. Would your babysitter be willing to take him to something like this?

LoveBWVVBR
03-18-2008, 06:26 PM
Does the daycare your son is at do any educational type things? I am not talking algebra, but colors, shapes, numbers 1-10 and letters? Or can you do those things at home? I teach 3-6 year olds at a Montessori charter school. The only drawback to waiting a year and starting your DS at 4 is that he may be past the point where he will just soak it up without any effort. Then again, if he is exposed to these things elsewhere, starting at 4 would be a great alternative. He would still have a full two years in the 3-6 classroom, which should be adequate.

Do you have any public or charter Montessoris around? They are popping up all over the country. It's a good mix, IMHO, of Montessori and standard course of study.

As far as your son, is he in the same district as you are? Could he ride the bus to your school after his school is dismissed and do his homework until you are ready to leave?

Marsha

Do parents have to pay for preschool at a charter Montessori? There is one in the next town over from us, but I'm not sure if they'd charge us for sending a 3 year-old there. DD is going to start at the private Montessori preschool when she turns 3 (or 4...haven't decided yet). I'd love to send her to the charter instead if it were free, though!

torinsmom
03-18-2008, 07:08 PM
Yes, at our school, the 3's and 4's pay. Then there is a lottery for kindergarten and IF they get in, then K-8 is free. I say if because we just had our lottery and there were 205 applicants for 28 spaces!:scared1: If you have a charter Montessori near you that has good reviews, you should keep it in mind the year before your child will be kindergarten age and apply.

Our school is around $700/month for kids to be there 7am-6pm. That is very comparable to regular daycares in our area. Private Montessoris can be a lot more. I actually prefer our Charter Montessori to private for other reasons, such as more racial and socioeconomic diversity. It's also nice to know that since we teach to the Standard Course of study as well as using the Montessori curriculum, kids are able to transition fairly easily to traditional school when their parents choose to do so.

Montessori is definitely not the only way, but I really love the philosophy and teaching methods. The mixed age classroom exposes younger kids to concepts that they pick up without really trying. They see the older kids reading and they ask to learn the letter sounds. It's not unusual for children to be reading at barely 4 or even 3 years old, with very little actual "teaching". I have 4 year olds who can read at a first grade level, add four digit numbers with carrying, and recognize and read numbers to 9999. They also enjoy time drawing, playing with blocks, matching, sorting and doing all the activities that regular preschools have. If you've never observed a Montessori classroom, it is really amazing to watch. I watched and was sold and now I have been a teacher for 10 years! My son has been at our school since he was 4(wish I had found out about it sooner) and he is about to "graduate" to high school.:sad1:

Marsha

juliana_sd
03-18-2008, 09:09 PM
I would go ahead and register him, then when it's about a month out from starting, reassess. If you still feel he's not ready or the $'s not there, then stay where you are. At least you'll have the option. If you skip registration and then change your mind later, you'll probably be out of luck (knowing how preschool waiting lists are)

Good luck!

HeatherAnn23
03-18-2008, 11:12 PM
Thank you so much for everyone's responses. I am getting an amazing deal at my current babysitters, and I just love her to death. While I don't see her doing much "academic" stuff with my son, he gets to cook, play in the garden, paint, play with playdough, and play with her son and daughters who are older and younger. All wonderful and appropriate learning activities.

I love Montessori, and while I do agree there are many other great programs, Montessori was just a perfect fit for us. We have very limited options here, with only two schools offering classes for ages 2.5 - 6.

I would LOVE it if my oldest son could join me afterschool each day, but it just isn't an option. Our kids are pretty lucky at this point if the bus transports them to their neighborhood school - they certainly won't drive anyone across town.

Thank you so much budget boardies again! I think you helped me see the choice I'd already made in my heart. I think I'll plan on keeping my kids with the babysitter for one more year, then re-evaluate.

torinsmom
03-19-2008, 06:27 AM
Those activities you mention are actually teaching your son some great skills! It is very easy to teach things like numbers and colors at home. If you have never seen it, there is a website called http://www.starfall.com that is great for learning letter sounds and blending. It is a really fun site with lots of animation and games. I find the way the words are sounded out to be very Montessori-like. It sounds any sound out that you click on, so it is even fun before children can read. And budget-wise, it is FREE!

Marsha

HeatherAnn23
03-19-2008, 08:40 AM
Thanks Torinsmom, I love Starfall too. I use their supplimentary materials almost everyday in my classroom! Many people don't know that they sell materials that support the fabulous free online activities.(I think the level 1 phonics workbook was around .35 each for my classroom, a real bargain!) I really try to limit my students', and my own childrens' screen time, so their workbooks help me do that.

torinsmom
03-19-2008, 11:54 AM
Thanks Torinsmom, I love Starfall too. I use their supplimentary materials almost everyday in my classroom! Many people don't know that they sell materials that support the fabulous free online activities.(I think the level 1 phonics workbook was around .35 each for my classroom, a real bargain!) I really try to limit my students', and my own childrens' screen time, so their workbooks help me do that.

A few years ago, they were giving away their color workbooks and I ordered enough for two years. You can also download and print the workbooks for free. The color ones for .35 are nice though. We use the Explode the Code workbooks as well for reading. They are a little more pricey, but they teach both decoding and comprehension.

Marsha

marcyinPA
03-19-2008, 02:06 PM
, he gets to cook, play in the garden, paint, play with playdough, and play with her son and daughters who are older and younger. All wonderful and appropriate learning activities.





I teach preschool (2's) and what you mentioned above are all things I'd expect in a preschool program. These are all so much more important than ABC's and 123's. When asked about academics in my program, I always say that it doesn't matter if they can read or do math if they can't get along with others (i.e, share, follow directions, etc.).

I think you've made the right choice by leaving him where he is!!:)