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Competition for preschool and wait lists (vent). Anyone else have to deal with this?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Grrrhh, I am so pissed at the preschool situation here! We moved to this area in late July last year and I started looking for a ps in Aug/Sep but they were all full so I filled out two apps to get him on the waitlist to start asap or at the latest, the next school year which usually begins around July/Aug. I visited 4 other schools but decided against them for various reasons (school day too long, yucky playground with no shade, closed door policy so parents can't drop in, believe in letting them cio while adjusting to school, dreary classroom, exclusive attitude). Anyway, I thought that he would most likely get a spot at one of the two schools by this school year, he will be 4 in Feb and I would like him to have 1 year of ps before kindergarten.

We do tiny tots, playgroups, and a parent participation ps where I go with him twice a week so he does get socialization time with kids. What he is lacking is separation time from me. We have no family in this area and I haven't found any sitters either. I am nervous about leaving him with a teen sitter. Anyway, I really feel a need to teach him that school can be fun and to just get a few hours a week to myself.

This week I found out that he is still far enough down on both lists so he most likely will not get a spot this year unless most of the others on the lists have decided to go elsewhere. The schools are also having fewer openings because parents of late-born kids are choosing to leave them in ps for an extra year rather than have them start k. I am really pissed at the one coop because they chose to accept a child for an unexpected opening in Jan. who was not on the wait list because she was 4. My son will be 4 in Feb, I would have gladly paid for his spot for one month just to hold it. I don't think it's fair to give the one opening away when we (and others have been on the wait list for months already.) Oh yeah, the child they accepted is a girl, I am beginning to think the teachers would rather have girls because they are easier. I was told the child and parent visited and really clicked with the teacher so they took her on the spot. The second school we applied for said she just took an app from a parent of a 3-month old who is applying for age 2.

So today I am going to go and apply for two additional schools (cost is around $50 each to apply and get on the list, no guarantee to get in). Two of the schools I applied to require an interview before acceptance, even if there is a slot. So if they don't like the way your child looks or acts that day, tough luck,you are out the $50. I think part of the reason for the competition here is that most moms work (this is a $$ area) so they need childcare and the public schools are really bad and they are hoping a good ps will lead to a good pvt school. He is already about a year older than most of the kids in tiny tots and the parent-part. ps, by next year he will be 2 years older. Has anyone else dealt with this? It is so frustrating.
post #2 of 9
How frustrating.

I was shocked when someone told me that I needed to sign up for preschools - when I was 4 months pregnant! I didn't even know if I was having a boy or girl. I kept laughing that I would have expected that in New York or LA, but not Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Happily I did sign up and DS#1 got into the preschool we wanted (thus DS#2 got in as a sibling).

I don't have any real advice, but other moms I know who went through similar situations all ended up in schools that they were happy with. Hope the same holds true for you.
post #3 of 9
It is similar where I live. You need to be signed up years in advance for the good preschools. They tend to take the siblings of children already enrolled, so the wait lists move like molasses.
post #4 of 9
This is a situation where a good public preschool would be an asset. Parents can't help it if they can't get their child in to a prorgram, and then school will complain if he is not "kindergarten ready." In my area we don't have this problem, the population is not big enough, but I hear your frustration. Maybe you should talk to the school district and see if they are making any plans for a preschool option. This choice is gaining a lot of popularity here, since many people cannot even afford preschool. Also, you might check out Head Start--the quality can really vary by teacher, but there are many good Head Start classrooms.
post #5 of 9
Have you checked out the Parks and Recreation department in your area? I moved to an area in California that is Competitive Parenting Central, second only to living in Manhattan, and I got my son into a wonderful community preschool through the P&R in a nearby town. All of the preschools told me I should have put him on a waiting list THE DAY HE WAS BORN.

I couldn't help it; I replied, "Gee, if I hadn't been so distracted by the fact that WE DIDN'T LIVE HERE and HE WAS IN THE N.I.C.U., I would have done that. . . "
post #6 of 9
This happened to us. I put my dd on a wait list when she was 2 not thinking she would get in until she was 3. The director said there were quite a few people in front of us so she didnt think I would get in this year. Well we got the call right before school started and she is lovin it. The director told us is is very common to move quickly down the list because right before school starts when they are filling those last slots alot of people on the list found another school already. So there is hope you could still get in. Good luck!
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your help/support. I have filled out and applied to 3 other schools in addition to my first two choices and it looks like the 3 will all have openings so now I have to decide which of those I like best. Also, whether to enroll him in one of them for spring or summer or just wait for the fall to see if the original choices do have an opening.
post #8 of 9
What a difficult situation! Where I live you do have to register in the January or February before the fall they start - but there are lots of schools and you can usually get your first or second choice if you are there with check and paperwork in hand on the day and time they open registration.

Glad you found some choices. I would put your son in one that has an opening as soon as possible. That way, you have a guaranteed spot for him for next year as a backup. Then wait and if you get an opening in one of your top two choices, move him. If not, keep him where you start him this spring. Every preschool where I live has you pay each month so it is not like you are stuck anyplace a whole year.

post #9 of 9
HI siddie, you might want to read some of the threads on this forum (do a search) on what to look for in a good preschool. There are lots of good thoughts. Good luck!
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