Preschool Problems

My little Toddler-Man was born during a ward baby boom. No less than seven babies were born in that year spanning from May to August. Six of them were boys. (Let's just say that our nursery leaders deserve to be exalted for handling an 11 boy nursery.) Most of them were also first babies. And they've all grown up together and have a party in the foyer at church. It's very fun. Well, since Toddler-Man was not my first, and most others are, suddenly I have become the ward expert on preschools. Suddenly I have to explain to everyone where I sent my girls and why. Now, I am happy to do this, because I like the preschool I've used, but when questions get thrown at me like "Are they CPR certified?" I have to admit that a question like that never even crossed my mind. "Why did you choose that one?" "Ummmm...they were the cheapest." "How many did you look into?" "Ummmm....just the one." "Will they have my kid reading by kindergarten?" "Nope. You should go elsewhere for that. They will teach letters and stuff, but they are very low stress. They don't push the kids." At this point I get one of two responses. "Huh. OK, I'll go look somewhere else, thanks." or "I love that! Perfect!" And then the questions I never thought to ask come along, and I feel like a horrible mother who just dumps her kids at the first place she sees. Which, in actuality, is exactly what I did. But I kept putting my kids in, because the teachers are cute with the kids, they like the school, and hey, it's cheap! And that's what preschool is for! A break, some fun time for your chitlens, and an intro that school doesn't suck. At least that's how I feel, anyway, but I can see how it would be good to have the teachers certified in CPR.


Blogger Cheryl said...

I have a friend who has seriously put her 4 kids in 4 different pre-schools. Each kid is different, and therefore they must have their own school...but then she also must "re-observe" every pre-school when it's time for the next kid to go and I went with her once. Not only does she observe the school, but every possible teacher. When she finally picks a school, she has to have the teacher she wants for her kid.

Hey, she's a thorough mom. I'm cool with that, but I put my daughter in the school that just looked good from afar. And she's been just fine. I just don't have time to do background checks on every teacher in the city...

Don't feel bad about choosing the cheapest school with the cool teachers. Sounds good to me!

2/08/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Cheap school, cool teacher, fun atmosphere, happy kids? Why, you bad mom, you!!

I'm right there with you. It always makes me laugh to watch the high-strung-first-time moms morph into someone I can relate to after the birth of thier second kid... (Don't throw verbal tomatoes at me! I am NOT beleiving ALL first timers are stressed or high strung!! But I sure was!)

2/08/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

We decided not to do pre-school. My kids are happy with that. Our oldest is in Kindergarten now and he is more advanced than most of the other kids in the class anyway.

If I did decide to put the kids in pre-school, I would do like you, pick one that is affordable where the kids could have fun. I don't think that kids at that age should be pushed...

2/08/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth-W said...

Your post came at the most wonderful time! My first's preschool teacher is quitting after this year because she got a part-time kindergarten teaching position. So, I am sad that #2 won't get to go there because it was a super environment (super = learn letters, get messy somewhere other than my house, learn to share, etc.).
Now, I have had to find a new place. A friend at church who is trying to find a preschool for her firstborn did all the legwork. It's cheap, it is at a house, the teacher is a mom who has raised 7 kids, there will be a max of 8 kids, most of the kids are LDS, and it is about 3 minutes away. I am sure my friend asked all those questions about CPR, etc. But, I have felt pretty guilty about not doing a background check, and all the stuff I did last time around. Thanks for absolving me from some guilt!

2/08/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I think that choosing a place where the kids are happy and you are stressing about the wallet is an excellent idea. I've only been a mom for 3 1/2 months and I know money stresses me out and when I am stressed out it isn't good for any of us. (And yes I AM high strung).

In our ward, there are a few families that don't think regular public school is good enough. They send their kids to charter schools, where they require all- day kindergarten and have lessons about "christianity". Our bishop's grandkids go there and I've heard he encourages parents of kids soon to be entering school to go there as well. You've just got to do what is right for you.

2/08/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Yeah, I basically picked the first one that I saw, too, only because they were enrolling THAT DAY and only had 1 opening left. I figured they probably weren't the only ones that were filling up, so I signed him up.

It's actually not cheap, and I have since looked around for another one, but I have found that my first instincts were correct--all preschools are filled well in advance, like up to a year! So, I've kept him where he is. The best thing I like about it, though, isn't that he is learning his letters and likes to paint. They actually teach about a Bible prophet that goes with the letter of the week, i.e., Abraham for A, Daniel for D, Elijah for E, etc. (can't remember who B and C were!) He comes home talking about prophets, and then gets excited if we have an FHE about those prophets. Hey, having a child who is learning about Jesus is worth it the money to me.

2/08/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

With preschool with my first two it came down to location. With no transportation it had to be close enough to walk to. Forget anything else. :)

2/08/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

The preschool on base is free and the kiddo and I need time apart those two days a week. He performs better for other people(I had NO clue he could write his name), and I get time to spend alone with my youngest. Nuff said.

2/08/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Yolanda said...

I also have a friend who LOVES her charter school...but here is a little insight...Charter schools ARE public schools...the administration, curriculem, and other aspects are just done and appoved by a governing board, instead of a school district. The money that would of funded your child in a "regular" elementary is just diverted to the "charter" school. It's basically public school in catholic uniforms : )

2/08/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Yolanda said...

Oh yeah...My two cents on preschools? "Learning Dynamics" (in Orem or Lehi)...BEST thing have EVER done for my kids!! Not only could they read (for all you "intellects" out there...) but they had the funnest activites, songs, and interactive developemnt I have ever seen! Plus, the teachers are all certified. (I don't know if they all know CPR though?!)

(Side note--I found this out after years of having my children go here, but the founder of the schools is the new LDS Primary General President...I think her last name is Lant?)

2/08/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Colee said...

I really believe that although academics certainly have their place in preschool, that the most important thing you can give a child before formal school is experience with nature, social skills, and lots of fun!!! Teaching them excitement about learning is more important than any specific skill.
My oldest daughter had a WONDERFUL kindergarten teacher who I really respect. She told me that what a child needs before kindergarten are motor skills (going to the bathroom, putting on shoes, zipping coats) and a excitement for school. She also told me that learning to read before kindergarten is not the most important thing (I think it is great for children that are seriously interested in this). She told me that I should spend my time at the park, zoo, museum before I focused on teaching specific knowledge.

2/09/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger brneyedwahine said...

It is so funny reading the commentary on the pre-school dilemma. Is it really a dilemma? I agree, with my first one, I was probably pretty psychotic about finding the right place for my precious child! What is embarrassing is how I fell into the trap of the competition one feels when it comes to academics. There seems to be two schools of thought (pardon the pun) when it comes to pre-school. You have the acamdemic vein that pushes to make junior einsteins out of our little ones so that they can become uber readers by they time they are four, or you have the ones that are strictly playbased and simply want the kids to explore and socialize, but never a letter or number gets taught. There are a myriad of early childhood education philosophies out there and one always has the third option of not sending you child to any school. In fact, one does not need to send a child to kinder either! Just the fact that we do stay at home with our kids is such a wonderful learning environment where they can learn. Also, don't forget nursery and primary is place where our children have the advantage of sitting for long periods of time and listen to a lesson, and minding their manners well before the enter "school."

So to pre-school or not to pre-school? It all depends on what you want and how your child responds. There are so many mommy and me options out there....playgroups-MOMS Club (they are nationwide), etc. Remember, safe, loving, fun and the rest will fall into place!

2/18/2006 12:52:00 AM  

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