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<p>DS1 will be three in early May. Technically, he could start at my workplace's preschool (I work in a school district's central office and the employee preschool is located in our building) on the day he turns 5, but it doesn't make much sense to start him as a young three year-old less than a month before school ends.</p>
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<p>But, in fall, he could start. He doesn't need it, academically. Heck, I don't think most kids really do. But he already knows most of the  "kindergarten readiness" stuff they do. Socially... meh.I don't think he needs or doesn't need it any more or less than any other kid. Might do him good to be not the Center of the Universe, Lord and Master of the Toy Pile, and King of the Banana Stash, but as DS2 grows and becomes mobile, DS1 will have plenty of competition for toys, etc., so that's not really the issue it would be had DS2 not chosen to surprise us with his presence on Earth ;-). We don't need it for child care, necessarily... DH is going to be a SAHD until DS2 is a little older, at least.</p>
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<p>So why in the heck, you ask, would we consider preschool?</p>
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<p>Because there is nothing. To. Do. In. This. Town.</p>
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<p>Seriously. DS1 goes weeks without leaving the house. There's a library with a children's room... it's very small and loses its appeal pretty quickly. The weather is intense. He's old and hardy enough to go outside in much chillier temps, but now that DS2 is around, he has to wait until there are two parents home so one can stay inside with DS2, and by the time I'm home from work, it's dark. Plus, going for a walk on the tundra in windy below-zero temps is pretty much as pleasant as you'd imagine. It ain't no gentle nature hike. Occasionally there's a kid-friendly event, but very rarely. All the other kids we know have WOH parents, and DH isn't a playdate kind of guy anyway.</p>
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<p>DS1 is a bright, intense kid, and our little duplex is just not all that exciting. He loves to go places and do things. His behavior at home deteriorates the longer he's here. He exhausts all the "approved" ways of entertaining himself (and we are much less strict about physical play in the house than people are in many places, precisely because going outside often isn't an option at this point) and starts branching out and experimenting with the Dark Arts... harassing the dog, dumping out toys, throwing tantrums. I've noticed a direct correlation between his having outside things to do and his behavior.</p>
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<p>The preschool has an outdoor playground that they play on if it's not TOO awful out (it's somewhat sheltered from the wind by some big buildings), and an indoor "large motor" play area, plus various play stations (dress-up, etc). So, yeah, he doesn't need the preschool part, but having something for him to do, someplace for him to GO, is appealing.</p>
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<p>The problem is... it's a full-time program. Five days a week, all day. I guess we could choose to only go a few times a week, but you have to pay for a full-time slot whether you use it or not, no exceptions. And it's expensive, or expensive relative to our situation as a single-income family. If DH could find another part-time evening job (his was grant-funded and ends soon), we could swing it, but paying that kind of money when DH is at home with DS2 seems unnecessary. We could probably technically afford it, but... youch.</p>
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<p>I wish there was a part-time option, but there's not. I'd joyfully and without question send him two days a week, or every morning, or something like that. All day, every day just seems unnecessary.</p>
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<p>So... WWYD?</p>
 

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<p>Your post cracked me up.  "Dark Arts".... bwhahahhaha!</p>
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<p>Yes, I'd send him, unless you could find an alternative.  Are there other parents in your community who might be having the same issue?  Would they be willing to host a weekly playdate or something (weekly playdate x 3 parents = playtime 3 days a week).  If not, I'd totally go with preschool.  He'll have fun, be wiped out at the end of the day, etc. </p>
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<p>I feel your pain about the 5 day program.  We skipped a full-time program becuase we didn't want DS to go from nothing too full time.  My suggestion would be to pay for full-time knowing that you'll waste some of that.  You can start off 2-3 days a week and then gradually build over the first couple of months. My DS only goes 2-3 days a week, 9am-noon, but would probably live there if given a choice.</p>
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<p>If there really is nothing to do and no other children for him to play with outside the house, and I could swing the tuition, I'd go for it. I'd also probably send him 5 days a week, but pick him up at noon. Neither of us are stay at home parents, but if I could be we would have a million and one activities to choose from around here. Even then, I think I'd still like to send him part time to his Montessori school, but that's because we both love his school in particular, not because I think a 2-3 year old NEEDS to be in school.</p>
 

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<p>I kind of like the mornings-only idea, because he does MUCH better with a consistent routine. He's not a great napper, and resists even "quiet rest" time (they don't require that kids nap, but do have quiet lying-down time in the afternoons), so it might not work out having him there in the afternoons. I need to look at our financial situation a little more closely. Right now, DH is working part-time in the evenings and earning a darn good hourly wage doing so.</p>
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<p>I wonder if they'd let us share a slot with another family, if we arranged it ourselves. I really only know one other SAHP family with a kid close to DS1's age, and she won't be 3 until October, though. They've very strict on the age limit, otherwise I'd try to get him in right now for a little while, to ease the transition from me being at home with the kids to DH.</p>
 

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<p>Is this preschool the only option? I would not financially stress my family for any preschool. But, it sounds like your ds could really benefit from the extra stimulation preschool could provide. Both of my kids have LOVED preschool. It offers more fun crafts, playing with peers, etc. than I can provide at home and has proven to be a positive experience for  us.</p>
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<p>Ds attends a church-based preschool right now 5 days a week during the mornings, I pick him up at 11:45 every day. Can you look for other preschool options that might be more affordable? Ds's preschool is very inexpensive - but a fantastic school. Nonacademic (which I wanted), playbased, small group, awesome outdoor area, caring teachers, etc. Keep looking for other options, if possible.</p>
 

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<p>If full-day all-day is truely the only option, I'd personally pass. My kids loved preschool but they didn't go that much either. DD only went one year and only 2 mornings a week. My DS started at just under 3 and went 2 mornings a week and then went 3 mornings a week the following year. We started DS earlier because he is intensely social and needed far more interaction that we could give him. Starting school calmed him and made all of us happier... especially him! Like I said, they loved their developmental preschools. They got messy, they dressed up, they made snacks and that was that. Neither needed it academically and their schools weren't academic in nature anyway.</p>
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<p>To go full-day, all day at 3 when it's not a childcare neccessity is rather pointless in my book. The fact that it's a financial burden puts the nail in the coffin for me.</p>
 

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<p>Yup, it's the only option. Well, to be perfectly accurate, there are two other programs but one is financial need-based (we don't qualify) and one is a Yup'ik language immersion program that gives priority to Yup'ik kids (rightly so) and we're White... and anyway, that one costs the same amount as the regular preschool.</p>
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<p>It looks like, financially, we won't be able to swing it. I'm putting in an application anyway, because we can always say no (and probably will). I just wish DH could take him in for a half hour every day to play on the indoor "large motor" equipment, and look at something other than the inside walls of our house.</p>
 

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<p>What about organizing a weekly trade off/playdate with some other parents? My MIL did this with two other moms. Each mom took all three kids for one morning per week. It worked out great - the kids got to socialize, play, etc. and the other two moms got a mini-break for that day. If there are so few options in your area, there are probably other parents who would welcome some type of arrangement that would give their los some options.</p>
 

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<p>I too think all day long is too long for age 3. 2 or 3 hours works well for that age. We  go to a co-op preschool. It's only $7.50 a day and people who volunteer for board jobs get a 10% discount. There are two in our town and both were started by moms. They have 3 teachers at the one we go to, but they probably started out with one.  And we have use of three rooms and a play yard at a local church.</p>
 

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<p>Is it possible to set up a "large motor" area of your house? Mini tramps, ride on toys, Rody, swings/rings for ikea,  Mini basket ball hoop, bounce house, indoor slide/climber. I have always lived in small places too but in the winter my son always needs SOMETHING. Even if it looks like crap and sits in the middle of the living room it's worth it. LOL</p>
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<p>I would personally skip the preschool if your only option it all day daycare and it isn't affordable. I would instead make a point to follow some routine at home. Have certain toy's that get taken out at only certain times. Make a time for art projects and active play like dancing!  It sounds like yo uare in the middle of no where but maybe there is somewhere you could go every other week just ot get out of the house? A mall even lol</p>
 

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<p>Another factor would be giving DS1 and DS2 time away from each other. Give DS2 alone time with dad, give DS1 time with kids who can actually play instead of just having to be gentle.</p>
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<p>Ah, it's also a financial burden. Could your dh get involved in a babysitting co-op? Something where he watches someone else's 3 year old for a morning, then their parent watches your ds1?</p>
 

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<p>My son attended a few different preschools from age 1-5 when I was working FT, and honestly, it was never easy. Kids that young do not tend to enjoy FT preschool, it's too overwhelming for them, and too much time away from home. I would <em>never</em> recommend FT preschool, even though I had to do it out of necessity (and we attended really good preschools). The kids really do want to be in their own home space w/ family. In preschool, there is very little individualized attention, a lot of crying & waiting for parents to arrive, and institutional structure.</p>
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<p>My advice: though there may not be much to do in your town, just let them have an organic, slow-paced easy childhood now before real school starts. Take nature walks, look at insects, read books, do simple art or science kits, cook, play games, etc... That's really all that kids need. This time will go by fast, and once they start school, they will be on that track for 13+ years.</p>
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<p>yikes: editing post b/c somehow I missed the part about your terrible weather. In that case, I would do as others suggested & just send your kiddo PT while paying for FT, if you can swing the tuition. He needs some large motor play, and if that can't be achieved through outdoor activities, it may be beneficial for him to have playtime w/ other kids indoors. All the alternative suggestions above are great, too (ie. starting your own co-op or playgroup).</p>
 

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<p>FYI, my son was in Montessori full time at that age and <em>loved</em> it. He is a quiet extrovert (weird combo, I know) who loves, loves to be around other kids and to be doing neat stuff. While I believe everyone's experiences who have posted on this thread, I don't think it's a universal truth that all day is too much at that age (esp if it's 6 hrs total, not the 8 we have to do 'cause we both work). He still tends to get upset if I pick him up early, even if we're doing something fun after (once we're out it's okay).</p>
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<p>If you figure lunch is 1/2 hr and they have an hr nap, which are things that pretty much can happen at home or at school, a 6 hr a day programme is only an extra 1.5 hrs of actual playtime.</p>
 
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