I am not much closer to choosing a preschool for my son, but I did take some time to write down a list of pros and cons for each.
Co-op Preschool Pros:
Co-op Preschool Cons:
Traditional Preschool Pros:
Traditional Preschool Cons:
Before I make any decisions I also need to find out the age distribution among the children. The co-op offers a 2/3s class while the traditional preschool only offers a two year old class. I know for certain that more than half of the children in the traditional preschool will turn three before December. I would like to see how the co-op compares. There is a big difference between two year olds and almost three year olds. My son will be almost three when school starts in September.
Co-ops are inherently cheaper, so it’s no surprise that I will save $1200 a year by sending my son to one. Parents assume administrative roles and help teach the class, which means co-ops spend less money on teaching assistants and administrators. The price difference swells to $1500 when my son turns three, but shrinks down to only $650 when he turns four. The number of hours also evens out by that age; fifteen hours a week in the co-op versus sixteen in the traditional preschool.
The spreadsheet below shows my line by line comparisons of three schools in our area. Two co-ops highlighted in yellow and blue and one traditional highlighted in orange. The last line in green at the bottom is a highly regarded traditional school in our area that requires children attend five days a week. I would not consider this now, but might consider it by the time he turns four. As you can see the price difference between that school and the other options is nearly double.
Tuition checks are due at the beginning of next month, so I am clearly running out of time to make a decision. I plan to visit the co-op this week so I can witness a class in action and meet my son’s potential teacher. I hope that visit will make my decision easier; one way or another.