Need opinions about 1/2 day K, AM or PM class? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-10-2009, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We still have a choice of 1/2 day and full day K in our district. I think we will go with 1/2 day (plus full day charges tuition and you need to be selected by raffle), b/c I think full day will be too long of a day for my son. Here's the situation. The same school also offers preschool, my youngest son will be 4 and I am going to enroll him for preschool at the same school, so he will be on am or pm preschool depending on what I choose do for for my kindergartener. I am due with baby #3 at the end of July and can't decide what would work out better and I can't stop obsessing over this.

If we do AM school, then after school, we can hang out at home and relax, the baby can nap in peace w/o having to be shuttled off for pick up. If we sign up for extracurriculars, it will be less of a rush. Sometimes my DH gets out of work early and we blow out of town and go to the city (hr away) and spend some time shopping, going to the zoo or going to the science center. The bad part is that I am NOT a morning person and the idea of getting two kids ready for am school AND having to nurse the baby in the morning too seems daunting. I already struggle to get my oldest one to preschool (am) on time now, and only have two kids right now (no nurslings at this time).

If we do PM school, I won't be going crazy in the morning trying to get out of the door on time (btw, I am grouch in the morning, b/c I am not a morning person, nor do I like being late). We can also participate in more moms club activities (mostly in the morning). It will also mean that I have some down time from my two older kids (preschooler will be either in 2 or 3 day a wk class) and the baby can take an afternoon nap w/o the racket of older brothers around the house. However, it means that we can't blow out of town on days where my DH gets out of work early and I'm a little bit afraid that if we do extracurriculars after school, it will be rush, rush, rush.

So, I still can't decide. Would it be better for my kids to go to am school or pm school in my situation? Anyone btdt that could share their experience or insight on which situation may work out better for our family?
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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I have an only child but for us pm is working out great for us. I was disappointed at first not having dd in am but now I am so happy with it. I love getting to spend the mornings with her and not rush. We also do ballet in the mornings and I am thinking about putting dd in gymnastics also in the morning. Another good thing is that she still gets to see her friends on days where they don't have preschool. We live in a place where we get snow so there are less days doing pm that she misses school for 2 hour delays (if its a 2 hour delay then no am K).
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:27 PM
 
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we've chosen afternoon kindergarten x2. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros

no morning rush
if child is not a morning person, much better choice
can pick up at same time as older child
seemingly more "mellow" classes than the mornings

Cons

totally messes up eating schedule (they serve them lunch at 10:30 am, and a snack at 1:45. neither dd wanted to eat lunch that early, yet did not have appetite for a true meal after school because they just had some sort of (crappy) snack

when I had an infant/toddler, it never failed that she would go down for her nap 15 minutes before I had to leave to pick up her sister-total drag!
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:46 AM
 
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We love pm kindergarten! My daughter goes from 11:30-2:50 and I think it's a great schedule. The only down side I've found is that I have to feed her lunch at 10:45 which took some getting used to, but it works. My son goes to preschool in the mornings so I enjoy having 2 mornings a week as special time with just my daughter.

Because she gets done at 2:50 we have pleanty of time for after school stuff like play dates, going to the park, classes etc.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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another PM kindergartener

Pros:
both dd and i not morning person
school finished at 2 which brought more routine into our lives for rest of school time because now at first grade she gets out at 2.
we got up late and grabbed a fruit on the way and my dd LOVED having 'bfast' lunch with the rest of her class.
-was a gentler way of breaking her into school

Cons
- all the best students and activities happened in teh AM classes. plus this was unique to her school, not many signed up for that class so all teh district leftovers came to our school so right thru out school year there was a lot of movment of students continuously. which meant there was a huge discrepancy between the students. some even at the end of k werent able to read all the alphabets. so my dd was REALY bored in K. we changed schools at first grade.

inspite of all this though it was still much better to have my dd in PM K.

from babyhood to K she went to bed at midnight and woke up at 9 or even 10. i am glad she didnt have to work on getting up early AND K structure at the same time.

5 anyways is a HARD age on kids. at least for mine. she realised what real life was and REALLY struggled with it.

she is much better adjusted to school at first grade. and mornings now are a breeze. we leave at 7:15 am.

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Old 01-11-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cons
- all the best students and activities happened in teh AM classes. plus this was unique to her school, not many signed up for that class so all teh district leftovers came to our school so right thru out school year there was a lot of movment of students continuously. which meant there was a huge discrepancy between the students. some even at the end of k werent able to read all the alphabets. so my dd was REALY bored in K. we changed schools at first grade.
This is something that I am kind of afraid of too. The parents who are on top of it get the AM spots, b/c those are usually seen as the desirable slots. The ones who aren't with the program and are the last to register usually get stuck in the PM class. In our district, the full day K is the most desirable of all (even for SAHMs), and the parents who can afford it are the ones who really want it the most. We can afford it, BUT I think it's unnecessary, and I think it makes for a really long day and I will end up with a really crabby kid to contend with at the end of the day.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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We don't have 1/2 kindergarten here but I have dealt with this on the preschool level. I SO prefer afternoon preschool. I work night so getting going in the morning is SO hard. I also found that with the morning preschool that any activities I wanted to put him in were in the middle of my youngest naptime and thus I had to have him skip his nap in order to bring my middle kid to gymnastics. With the afternoon, I could just put them in the morning session while the youngest was all nice and happy.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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My ds started kindergarten this year. We don't have the option of full day kindy but if we did, he wouldn't be the kid that I'd send full day. He's sensitive and emotional and needs his "down time". I think, for him, full day kindergarten would be overwhelming and by the time first grade hit he'd be over it. As it stands, he LOVES school and was really upset that he missed 3 weeks due to weather and Christmas break. I chose PM for him because he is not a morning person at all. It did mess with our eating schedule a bit because he doesn't even wake up some days until 10 so I have to feed him twice before noon. However, he happens to be one of those kids that will eat frequently and doesn't need a schedule in that department so he'll eat oatmeal when he wakes up and then I can feed him a bigger lunch around 11 and he's set until he gets home, where I feed him a snack.

I think the only advantage to AM kindergarten for us would be that if he were tired when he got home he could take a rest and feel ok for the rest of the day. It's a little hectic after school now because I have 3 older kids and a younger one as well and most of them have after school activities that we shuffle off to so that can't really happen.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:40 PM
 
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My son is an only child, but we chose PM preschool for a lot of the same reasons the OP is considering it. The pros for us are:

-No morning rush
-We can still do library story time/music and movement/morning playgroups if we want to
-DS is not a morning person by nature

We love PM preschool and I am totally cringing at the thought of having to get him to school by 8:15 next year! But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it I guess.

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Old 01-11-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mags View Post
This is something that I am kind of afraid of too. The parents who are on top of it get the AM spots, b/c those are usually seen as the desirable slots. The ones who aren't with the program and are the last to register usually get stuck in the PM class. In our district, the full day K is the most desirable of all (even for SAHMs), and the parents who can afford it are the ones who really want it the most. We can afford it, BUT I think it's unnecessary, and I think it makes for a really long day and I will end up with a really crabby kid to contend with at the end of the day.
mags i was so grateful it was a half day K. it was a rude awakening for my dd who had been in dc/ps. she expected school to be the same. it was a rude awakening for her. so really its related to personality. she felt all the FUN had been taken out of K - not enough art, not enough outside play (compared to her ps/gc) no experiments, no sensory play. on top of that their focus was academics. this is public school. and she sooooo didnt want to read or do math. then they went over and over and over the same thing. she was extremely bored. so i am grateful her torture lasted only half day.

then when first started oh boy she struggled the first two months. in fact almost all the first grade kids struggled - to get used to the whole day. some had to go to the park and just let it out with a lot of play. some had to go home and have some quiet time. some were EXHAUSTED by the end of the evening and went to bed early. some just had a hard time and threw tantrums during bedtime. but all us moms had a really hard time. it was a shock for me. it had to do with being on their best behavour for 6 hours that really took a toll on them. but they also adjusted in time and are all doing ok.

my dd got interested in reading recently - half way thru the school year and just took off.

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Old 01-12-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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My daughter did PM, my boys are doing AM. To be honest, I like PM better for our schedule.

In our district, if there's enough students for 2 1/2 day K, then it's assigned based on proximity to the school. AM kids are the ones that are the closest (and would be walkers). PM kids are the ones that qualify for busing. So there's no issue of "leftovers", though I guess you run the risk of getting a mix no matter what. (for what it's worth, I don't think having a mom who is able to sign up quick for something necessarily means that their child is academically advanced.)

I enjoyed not having to rush out the door in the mornings. It was handy for afterschool activities (we tend to sign up through the PTA because we can afford their activities) because then DD could just walk to the classroom they were in, instead of us having to fight pickup traffic to get her there on time 3 hours later (like I do with my boys). I also really enjoyed the parents in my DD's class (actually, I enjoy the ones this year too), since most of them were relaxed type of people. IT was fun being able to have playdates with friends in the morning and have them ride to school together, vs. tacking it on to the end of school (which for whatever reason seems to tire my kiddos out more than a playdate).

This year we're in AM Kindy because there weren't enough kids registered for 1/2 day to make 2 classes. I don't like the schedule as much, but the teacher, parents, and children are lovely so it's all right. If I had my druthers though I would have loved another afternoon K.

It probably depends on your kid too. My DD is NOT a morning person. My boys are chirrupy all day. So they do fine in the AM, I think my DD would have been a bear. Luckily her school is the last start time in the district (9:15), because boy she would have been really difficult to drag out to the bus stop at 8:15!
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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I'll do the plug for the AM. My DD is full day kinder but we did have several years of a 1/2 day am or PM preschool. Shes was in both at some time and while I always thouught I'd prefer the PM I ended up likeing the AM better. PM meant not really getting to do things before school as there really wasn't time and then not having time after school before DH got home dinner needed to be on the table ect. AM meant I could feed her a decent breakfast at home send her to school not overly worry about what or if she ate at school and then I could give her a decent snack at home. If she had other therapy appoinments we'd have time to schedule them and still have time to get home and relax. If there were errends I wanted or needed to do the morning were much more peaceful to do it in. Also as this is a high heat area the morning kids got to play outside and enjoy it while it was often miserable for the afternoon kids.

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Old 01-13-2009, 03:39 AM
 
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We love the afternoon Pre-K. It is a lot like you described yours, OP. The "most popular choice" in the area is full day, then the AM, then the PM. However, I also suspect that the afternoon program has more parents who are laid back about school and SAHMs rather than parents dropping off the kids at school and nannies picking them up every day.

Our mornings are slower and more mellow. We can still do a few preschool-age morning classes and DD can be one of the oldest, which is a good situation for her (Bright but very very shy). I get a chance to do something with DD in the mornings when DS has a morning nap. Otherwise she's often napping at the same time as DS' afternoon nap.

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Old 01-13-2009, 03:49 AM
 
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My son did PM kindergarten and I LOVED it. Very relaxed, no rushing, etc. My daughter did PM preschool last year and full day kindergarten this year (1/2 day is no longer an option at our school).

I vote for afternoons!
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the feedback ladies. I think we are going to stick with the PM K and pre-k. I had a REALLY bad morning today (3 yr old took a tumble down our stairs while goofing around which he knows he is not supposed to do, busted up his lip, otherwise ok), dog decided to poop all over the floor on top of the regular morning chaos, etc.. We are lucky that today is our, "down" day where we can just stay home. However, if it wasn't I would be pulling out my hair and yelling at the kids by now. Plus, they would be late to school. I also thought about the PM program and *usually* my DH should be able to help pick up the kids after school, so in the long run, I think it will work out better for us to have PM school. Too bad after K, it's full day school. I'm totally dreading that.
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