Preschool, yes or no? - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Preschool, yes or no?
Lousli's Avatar Lousli 03:57 AM 01-09-2004
Hey, I'm looking for some thoughts/opinions. I have a daughter, 2 years, 2 months who stays at home with dad while I work. She's very active, very verbal, and keeps him quite busy during the day. He has a hard time getting anything done around the house, and is trying to start doing some research work from home.

We are thinking about finding a preschool or childcare situation for about 6-9 hours/week. Something like 3 hours day/2x week. Any suggestions? Is she too young? She isn't potty trained yet, btw.

famousmockngbrd's Avatar famousmockngbrd 05:22 AM 01-09-2004
I don't think she's too young, necessarily. Try it out, see how she does. She's probably too young for "preschool" but a mother's (father's ) day out program or daycare 2x a week might work out for you all.
Bluegrass's Avatar Bluegrass 10:12 AM 01-09-2004
I agree. 2 is too young for any kind of regimented "preschool", but some programs would be great.
We have an excellent little co-op preschool here-it's parent owned and parent run. My dd went to preschool there. Now they have a 2-year-old program, and I can't wait for my ds (18 mos) to start in the fall (2 days a week, 3 hrs a day)! It's a very developmentally appropriate program, and parents are welcome and encouraged to be there. In fact, the school required parents to work, and if your kid needs you to stay, you can.
If you can find something like that, I say, go for it!
firefly's Avatar firefly 12:52 PM 01-09-2004
It sounds like your daughter might really like being in a childcare program. I am a teacher at the program my son attends. Our program is based on the Reggio Emila philosophy. It is completely child lead. No circle time, forced art projects, etc. We do all eat hot lunch together (family style) and rest together. My son is 2.5 and he loves the opportunity to play with other children. We are also a multiage space. One of the children he plays with the most is 4. When I see him playing with this child I feel so grateful that he's had the chance to be friends with him. Some kids are ready to be in social environments sooner than others. I know its hard a decision to make. Good luck.

Stacy's Avatar Stacy 03:51 PM 01-09-2004
We have somewhat the same situation. I work full-time and hubby is home/part-time. We found a daycare which is a private site based daycare which incorporates pre-school and fun time. My 2 go 2 days a week for 8 hours. They get learning and social. WE chose this route since there is not a playgroup my husband could join and this way they are with other kids and we know that household and him working can get done uniterrupted.
Lousli's Avatar Lousli 04:41 PM 01-09-2004
Thanks for your replies! I have been really worried about the idea of transitioning her from being at home to going to any type of childcare, especially during this time in her life (the 'twos'). I hope I can find something that allows parent participation at least some of the time so we can ease her in.
Penelope's Avatar Penelope 05:06 PM 01-09-2004
Full disclosure: I've had about 10 hours a week of childcare for my dd, now three, since she was nine months old to enable me to continue work on my PhD.

That said - when dd was two and a half, our long-time babysitter (a SAHM with a son dd's age, who is a former elementary school teacher and good friend) moved. She really encouraged me to enter dd in preschool, which I did, for three mornings a week (8:30 - 11.) Our friend/sitter felt that she was socially mature, had a lot of interest in other kids and new situations, was comfortable with a few hours of separation from us, and was ready for the experience.

Dd loves it. She is on the older end of her class - a couple kids turned two right before classes began in the fall - and she has really emerged as a leader in her class. (One example: when another child bumped his head, she was the one who got the teacher to tell her that Mac was hurt.)

So I guess my point is that you should look around at your options and see if there's a nursery school/preschool program designed for kids her age, a few days a week, and really talk with them about her abilities and her social skills and see if you can find a good fit. ITA that she likely does not need an "academic" program at two! But group fun and new stories and songs and some time to do other things for your dh might be a good experience for everyone.

Good luck!
Lousli's Avatar Lousli 05:20 PM 01-09-2004
I should clarify. When I wrote "preschool" I didn't mean anything that would be academic and rigorous. I'm a teacher, and I'm not about pushing kids to do things they aren't ready for. But she's an only so far, and she isn't in a play group. I'd really like her to be able to socialize with other kids, sing songs, play in the's not the same with just hubby all day. Anyway, if you guys know any great schools in the Sacramento, CA area, feel free to let me know. I'd say PM me, but I don't really know how PM's work!
thundersweet's Avatar thundersweet 08:50 PM 01-09-2004
Hi! I am a sahm. I put me dd in a church preschool when she was 2 1/2. Well she was nearly that age anyway. It was the best thing we did. She LOVES it and really looks forward to going. Right now she only goes 2 days a week for 3 hours. But next year they are adding a 2 and 3 year old 3 day a week classes. I do plan to let her go the extra day next year if there is room for her since we will have a brand new baby at that time. I wanted a program that was naeyc accredited and was lucky enough to find one a few miles from my house. I actually didnt plan to put my dd there until she was 3 but I was on the waiting list (very popular prgram in this area) and right before school was to start this year I got a call that they had 1 opening. I was thrilled but at the same time scared because I didnt want anybody else taking care of my baby. lol Anyway I am so happy she enjoys it so much. She had zero problems adapting and in fact when we went to visit the school she walked off with the director of the program and didnt look back. lol I know some kids in her class were having a hard time but they are all happy now and have wonderful time together. I went into it with the frame of mind that if she was at all hesitant to go or had problems at all I would withdrawl her right away. Also I knew instantly when I walked in the school it was the place for my dd. Very loving and kind people. I just got a good feeling. I had looked around at a couple of others but when I visited one of them during snack time they had all the kids in high chairs watching Barney on TV. I just didnt get a good feeling about that. I wanted her to sit at a table just like she does at home. At her school now she sits at a table with a her friends for snack and the teachers sit with the children and talk with them and really get to know the kids. I thought that was wonderful. I know I babbled on a long time. I'm sorry! LOL Hope that helped a little.
EmmalinesMom's Avatar EmmalinesMom 01:56 AM 01-10-2004
A couple of months after dd's second birthday, we started the church parents morning out program...2 days a week, 2.5 hours each time.

She did cry a bit at first, and the teacher was wonderful with holding her, comforting her, etc, which I think is very, very important. (Of course, lol.) Ok, so that lasted about 3 days, and she was totally in love with the place. It was hard for me not to be a little hurt actually, as she ran to Miss Sarah and left me in her dust, lol. :

Emmaline has also really, really bloomed from the consistent social interaction and loose routine. (Music class every Friday, stretches each morning in the circle, etc...but most of the day is fairly unstructured.)

Visit a few places, or have dh do it, and see what you like. Any place worth it's salt will let you pop in unannounced, at least to walk around for a minute.
NorthernLight's Avatar NorthernLight 04:34 AM 01-10-2004
I agree that for a two/three year old a small home based or home like environment is ideal. It is so challenging to find a nice stimulating place. Good luck with everything.
EmmalinesMom's Avatar EmmalinesMom 11:56 PM 01-10-2004
Sorry, I thought of one more thing...

At first, Em didn't stay the whole time at PMO. She started staying about an hour and we worked up to the full time. Our deal was that the teacher or assistant would bring her out to me in the hallway till she stayed the whole time, because of that chain reaction of toddlers crying when one person's mommy is there, but no one elses, lol. So, if you are uncomfortable doing the whole amount of time from the start, ask about gradulally increasing it.
dentente's Avatar dentente 03:37 AM 01-11-2004
My dd started at 2 years and 3 months for three half days a week. She loved it at first. Burnt out a little. She took a 2 week break and then demanded to be brought back. Now she's 31 months and adores going 3 full days a week. She has learned her shapes and colors, numbers to 10 and letters to G. She can sit and listen, follow instructions, drink from a regular cup and adores doing arts and crafts. Preschool really helped focus her considerable energy and will to learn plus is gave me a great little break and the chance to earn some money.

I wholly endorse preschool for high energy kids/ high needs kids.

pinky's Avatar pinky 01:59 AM 01-12-2004
I think preschool readiness is a very individual thing. My dd started at 2 yrs 3 months for two mornings a week and has really thrived. We pull into the parking lot and she yells "SCHOOL!" with glee. If your dd is ready, I think the key is finding a wonderful program that you can feel good about.
squeakermansmom's Avatar squeakermansmom 03:14 AM 01-12-2004
I'm glad you posted this thread - i've been thinking a lot lately about putting ds in a preschool for 2 mornings a week. He'll be 2 in March and i honestly think he gets bored hanging out at home all day. i think he would do well in a social setting with some different activities. we're not that religious, so I'm wondering if I can still find what i'm looking for in a church preschool type thing. anyone have any thoughts on this?

jodi, mom to joseph - 21 months
dentente's Avatar dentente 05:22 AM 01-12-2004
Speaking as the local Agnostic:

I looked at tons of schools in my area. All the Montessori ones demanded 5 days a week which was a little much for us. She'd been home with me since birth. So I looked at non-denominational programs and those all lacked any kind of learning. Just plain day-care. Dull and many of them with televisions prominently displayed. So then I listened to my neighbor, a confirmed secular humanist touting the christian preschool her 4 year old attended. Said it had a great program, cool teachers, flexible schedule, nice meals. Nice playground. A little God stuff here and there but no doctrine and nothing heavy. Sort of "Color the picture of baby Noah" stuff. Some prayers before meals. Nothing creepy.

Fine. So I checked it out. Kids looked clean and happy. They had a nice routine. The price was within reason. So I started her. Just 3 mornings a week because they said 2 was not enough for the kid to get into the routine well. She loved it. Now she goes three full days and it's working fine. I may not choose to attend a church or subscribe to an organized religion but those people run a fine preschool. Mimi is too little to be getting much religiosity out of it. Plus she's happy there. So I say give those Christian preschools a shot. If it's a good program, it's a good program.

LuvMy2Kidz's Avatar LuvMy2Kidz 07:02 AM 01-12-2004
We do Mother's Day out twice a week for my 2 y/o dd. It's also in a church although I am agnostic as well. But I don't think they do much of anything God realted, it's more learning about everyday stuff and letters for them She LOVES it, they sing, draw, do crafts, have a letter of the week, have parties and play. She goes from 9-2:30 on Tues. and Thurs.
IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama 08:25 AM 01-12-2004
My daughter is 2 years 3 months and I think she has been ready for some kind of preschool for months. I would also love to get her immersed in the German language (we're living in Germany).

Unfortunately, they don’t have preschool here in Germany until the age of 3. I really hope Aya is still in an open state of readiness for “school” then because they have the cutest, CHEAPEST Waldorf in the next town.
tessamami's Avatar tessamami 09:02 AM 01-12-2004
My DH is a SAHD, too. DD goes to preschool. She started when she turned 3, this fall. They also had a program for younger kids, but we didn't know about it. By 3, many children want to be with other kids. While I think DD would've liked it even earlier, I don't think she was mature enough.

She didn't have separation anxieties, it's just that at 2, social skills aren't too developed, and practice just doesn't seem to improve it, IMO. I do think that even 2 year olds enjoy other kids, but the program needs to have teachers / caregivers more envolved, as the children don't really play "together".
thundersweet's Avatar thundersweet 11:16 AM 01-12-2004
Hi! We are not religious people at all either. My dd's preschool does not require you to go to that church but does give their members priority registration. I couldnt be happier about this place. Alot of the children that attend the preschool do not belong to the church. I think the key is visit some in your area and see what you like. Maybe talk to some other moms in your area. What do you want to get out of the program? I knew I didnt want my dd just watching tv and running around like a wild child all day like she does here. lol I mean I figured she might as well just stay home for that. I guess what I mean is I didnt want to pay for her to do that somewhere else when I am a sahm and thats what we do all day. Well minus the TV. We pay $211 a month for 2 mornings a week from 9:25 to 12:25. On wednesday she gets to stay until 1:25. Thats called stay and play and its optional. She gets to eat luch with her friends and gets an additional 30 minutes outside.I wanted something with a small amount of structure. When my dd arrives in the morning the kids all do free activities. The teacher has little stations set up like a sand table, puzzles (which my dd adores), easel, books are always available, and some other things. They do this for a while then they all sit and sing songs and read stories. I think they have snack and then go out to play everyday. Check out . At the top of the page you can do a school search for schools in your area that are naeyc accredited. That stands for National Association For The Education of Young Children. Anyway good luck finding what you are looking for.
Lousli's Avatar Lousli 06:04 PM 01-12-2004
Thank you all for your great ideas. I'm really glad I started this thread and found so much support. I tried the naecy site, but they only had 3 schools listed in all of Sacramento, none nearby. We have started calling around to various places, and we're getting appointments to check them out. It looks like we may be going with a Montessori, they have 2 and 3 day programs available, half days.
I'm also agnostic, raised Jewish, and we still do Jewish holidays in our home, so I think Christian preschool would not be comfortable for our family. Although I know that there are some really great church programs near here, so you never know. Also, I seem to remember that Waldof is somewhat religious? At least when I went there. Any thoughts on this?
LuvMy2Kidz's Avatar LuvMy2Kidz 03:27 AM 01-13-2004
My older DS attends a Montessori school and it ROCKS!!! Just the other day he brought me a paper he had been drawing on and it said Ann(the n's were backwards, but he's only 4 :LOL) That's my mother's name, and I asked him what it was, and he said, "It says meemaw's name" Now I don't recall spelling her name for him, EVER, so I was in shock, and am still in awe of his intelligence Before he started school in the fall he couldn't write letters. He could read them, but would NOT write them, he'd try, and get frustrated and give up after 1-2 attempts. Now he's spelling!!!!