Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Preschool and beyond!

So  today  I'm actually  going to blog something more than cute pics  lol. You see, this  time of year  is when everyone begins thinking about school plans for next year, and it's not  different here in this house.

Brielle will only be 2 years old next school  year,  so obviously  she won't be going anywhere. But  Raya will be 4 and I pretty much have two choices for her  4 year old preschool (I hear about places  like  Texas and  New  York etc. where there are preschool waiting lists and entrance "exams" and interviews etc. and  getting into a "good" preschool is a huge  deal----now in Iowa lol. Preschool  is completely optional  and you pretty much just  pick  one and sign up. No  biggie.)

So my options for Miss Raya are to continue at the  same little preschool she's at now (only instead of 2 mornings a week  it will be 3 mornings a week---maybe 4. They are looking into  whether people have interest in 4 mornings a week, so we'll see how  that pans out)  OR the public  school  where  Raya will  go for Kindergarten also  offers a 4 year old preschool (which I've heard is also a pre-k too---combined) and that is 5 mornings a week.

I think as of now  I've decided to  keep Raya  at the  one she is at now, even though I know a lot of people are changing to the 5 morning a week one. Here are a few of my  reasons why:

Many of the people I've spoken with who  are doing the 5 morning a week  one are working parents---more preschool equals less daycare costs. No brainer! Many  of the others have  children who are still very "young" acting and haven't shown much interest in sit down activities etc, and they  think that 5 mornings a week will be good for  them to transition to the demands  of Kindergarten.

Raya, on the other hand, I'm predicting will be a model student in kindergarten (and yes, even though she  has a late May birthday, I do currently plan to send her the following year to Kindergarten.)  I don't say this for academic reasons, but because Raya is  a huge people pleaser. I would be shocked if she ever told a teacher  she didn't want to do something lol. She  LOVES doing worksheets, flashcards, and other "school" activities. She begs  for them constantly at home. At her  current preschool all of the activities are optional, and many parents make comments about how their kids  never choose to do the art project or whatever, concerned that they only  want to play. Raya on the other hand must sit at these activity stations all morning LOL. When parents  pick  up the previous days' project in the  mornings I always ask "did Raya  make something yesterday?" and they laugh and usually say "oh yeah, she  made 5!" haha.

She has all the stereotypical  characteristics of a first born. She is going to rock kindergarten :-P

Clearly she  is advanced in many  ways! lol
As far as  *academics*, having worked as a school  psychologist  in my previous  life, testing students  for  special  education, doing the benchmark testing  3 times a year for kindergarten students, etc. etc. I have fairly strong opinions about academics in the early years haha. First, Raya's  current preschool is play based...they learn social skills and such through play and there really is no emphasis on letters/numbers/etc.  other than what they pick up on while playing and reading. This same play based set up continues for  4 year old preschool. From what I've heard of the 5 day a week  option, they also do very little  as far as "academics" so there isn't really a huge  difference there. (Because no matter  what  my personal opinions are, clearly  I wouldn't  want her  to be the only kid in the whole town who isn't doing  physics at age 4 ;-)

But...

My thing is that Kindergarten is essentially the  first "mandatory" schooling for  children. Children come in with greatly different skills in kindergarten. And as  much as I  LOVE teachers, teachers  can  only  do  so much with a class  full of kids and the standards they are required to teach by their  school and state. So when you have little Johnny come to kindergarten knowing zero letters and  little  Susie knowing them all, what typically happens is that the teacher goes through her mandatory curriculum of teaching all the letters and by the  end of the year both Johnny and Susie know their  letters. Johnny caught up and  Susie maintained. Sure, teachers are  supposed  to "enrich" for the  high students etc., but I've worked in many different schools and there is only so much  you can do as a teacher. Until schools start changing their standards and benchmarks for kindergarten I really think preschool is not  as huge of a deal  as many parents believe. By then end of kindergarten the gap between kids like Johnny  and Susie  is usually  gone or significantly  smaller....which means Kindergarten teachers are doing a great job! And it also means that preschoolers don't  need to learn  it all before they even start school. They have plenty of years to sit at a desk....let them play for now! :-)


But I won't lie...I also  have my own  selfish reasons for wanting Raya  to go to the 3 (or 4) day a week preschool next year, instead of the 5 day.  First, next year  is probably my last year as a full time stay at home mom (more on that  later! haha) ...and I don't  want to spend my last year home having to get up every single  morning and get her  to preschool  by 8am haha. Her  current preschool is  also  slightly  closer to our home which is nice. And a biggie for me is  that  I hate the idea of being tied down to preschool every. single. day.! For instance today we are heading  to the children's museum for the day. On preschool days we can't  even leave to go anywhere until after lunch, and by that time Brielle is ready for a nap, and the day is half gone! As much as Raya LOVES preschool, she  loves going places with me and Brielle  even  more  LOL. What  a bummer  if  we  had  to stop doing those daytrips next year already!




And  lastly, for anyone still  reading lol, I hate the idea  of Brielle being here by  herself 5 mornings a week. She  just LOVES Raya...and when Raya starts kindergarten Brielle will  be starting 3  year  old preschool (perfect!)....but until  then I think Brielle  would be lost if Raya was gone  every single  morning (not to mention I wouldn't have  anyone to help me entertain Brielle! ;-)


So very long story kinda short, that is why I  am almost positive Raya will  continue at her current preschool next year haha.  And if  she gets to Kindergarten and I realize that she can't  do algebra with the other  kids  then maybe I will  reevaluate my decision for Brielle haha :-)

(I  am soooo not looking  forward to the school years haha. This  is only the beginning I know of questioning  my own parenting decisions, dealing with  those  "competitive" parents, struggling with teachers who don't think  your child is where  he/she  "should" be, etc. ....and so it begins!)

16 comments:

  1. Your reasons sound good to me!

    I live on one of those places where the wait lists are outrageous. Last Friday was the deadline to re-enroll S with a dedicated spot at her school...and I let it go. It was such a tough decision, but with #2 on the way, I can't see us spending almost $3k/month in child care costs. Now I'm really anxious about what she is going to do next year - the clock is ticking!!

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    1. Yikes! Yeah, Raya's preschool this year is $81 a month lol. Definitely not an issue of money for us since costs are so low!

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  2. I think Raya would love to be at school more. Kaylee goes 5 days a week and she loves it. As much as Keira loves Kaylee I think Keira enjoys the one on one time with just her and I. cute pictures.

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    1. Yes, Raya does love preschool....but I just don't see the point of her being away from us *that* much just for glorified daycare haha. And it's my last year home and Raya LOVES getting to do all the special things I take them to do during the day. I don't think she'd like giving those day trips up. She's got 13 years ahead of her of 5 day a week school! :-)

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  3. I agree with you on so much of this. Kids are in school for so long, that these younger years should totally be about letting them play and be kids. And, it is so hard committing to it, isn't it? I dread Tuesdays and Thursdays, because of the hectic-ness of getting everyone out the door to take W to school and it just takes up our day.

    You are right, this is only the beginning and I feel like I question my decisions so much!

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    1. I know! I feel a little selfish about that, but it is seriously so much work to get everyone up, dressed, and to preschool on time. It's fine, and I do it for the girls obviously, but I know that the girls also enjoy our quiet mornings too. And much sooner than I'd like we will be running around like crazy between school and after school activities etc.!

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  4. Emma started Pre-K at a public school when she was 3, she turned 4 two weeks later. She went 5 days a week from 11:00 to 2:00 and she absolutely LOVED it. Days when it was a Holiday or a weekend she would get up and ask to go. It was cute. I thought of it as a way for her to get some "social" skills with other kids other than her cousins since she is an only child. She did learn a lot and made some great friends during that year =) Everyone has their own opinions on this topic, and yours are completely valid ones as well =)

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    1. Yeah, if Raya was an only child and I wasn't a full time SAHM I would definitely consider 5 mornings a week I think!

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    2. PS...and also if I had the option of starting at 11am I might be all over that haha. Why can't I find a 3 morning a week one that starts at 11am? I'd be in heaven! :-)

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  5. I just signed Lidia up for preschool for the Fall too... so crazy! Luckily, the (6) schools to choose from in West Des Moines are all 4 days a week, so I don't have much choice there but chosing the school? That was hard. Like I said, we had 6 to choose from that have free tuition; 3 being at a church and 2 at the public school, and one montessori school... so that was difficult but I think I found the best one hehe :)

    Hey, so Raya was born later in the school year like Lidia. Lidia was born in July. Whats your opinion on sending kids to school at Kindergarten with their birthdays so late? My husband and my opinions differ so I like to hear what everyone else thinks :) You can email me if you want!

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    1. I plan to send Raya to Kindergarten, even with a late bday! In my opinion it only makes sense *not* to for social reasons, if they aren't ready to sit still/follow directions/etc. I don't believe that for any academic reasons you shouldn't send them with a later bday. As long as they have the skills to be ready to learn they will do the same regardless of when you start them in my experience.

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    2. sorry...I'm gonna butt in your comments lol. i have an August birthday and my mom sent me to school "early". the cut off if usually in september any way. i dint think its a big deal at all. the only thing was i couldn't take drivers ed till my Jr year. which i think my mom liked lol

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    3. I hadn't thought of that! I guess I know a couple boys who's parents didn't start them "early" so that they would be bigger size wise for sports in their grade level--definitely don't have that concern for Raya though because she's already plenty big for her age even if she's one of the youngest! hehe

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  6. i can't believe how darn complicated pre school is. we have a few different options...some have serious waiting lists and cost an arm and a leg, some are just typical sign up and go, and we have one that a lady from church does in her house for the last 15 years lol. glad i don'thave to worry about that till next year haha. and i agree...if i were inn your shoes i would not do a 5 day a week one either. they grow so fast already

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    1. I've heard of people doing in-home preschools---I think that would be such a fun job! :-)

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