I attended a couple of preschool open houses over the past month. I’m still not convinced that I actually want to send my child to preschool, but I want to know what options are available when I finally make a decision. Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate making decisions? Yes, a million times. Well this is another one of those times.
Right now my son spends the majority of his time with me. A little piece of me thinks he could use some time without mommy. I’m not on the band wagon that all children have to be social, but it couldn’t hurt for him to play with some little buddies his age without having mommy around. We attend a couple of toddler classes together right now, but I’m usually next to him or at the very least in the same room with him.
Since he’s an October baby and we live in the state of Maryland he would start preschool in the two year old class. Maryland has a rule that all children must be five before starting kindergarten, so even though he’ll be nearly three he may be in class with children nearly one year younger.
There isn’t anything I can do about this rule other than move. His birthday is just pass the cutoff to test-in early, so throughout his school years he will be one of the oldest children in the class. My husband was also the oldest growing up, (his parents held him back a year), and he is certainly no worse for wear. So there is no real point in worrying about this, though I will admit I still worry just a bit.
A few preschools offer split classes. In his case they would be 2/3 splits. So roughly half of the children would be two years old when starting and half would be three. I like this idea, but don’t really know how things would shake out the next year when he’s back to being with kids slightly younger.
There is also the whole question of co-op, versus non-coop. I would like to participate in my child’s classroom, but I wonder if it would be difficult to have me participate sometimes and not others.
If we have another child, (which I hope will happen), then a non-cooping option would be best. That would give me time with the new little one and I wouldn’t have to find alternative care for the baby. I know a few folks who juggle coops with two children. Of course, if my son turns out to be a one-and-only then helping out in the classroom might be nice.
Then there is the question of doing other things while my son is in preschool. With an extra six hours a week I could go grocery shopping, run errands, help my husband with his business, oh and take a little time for myself. It’s not a ton of time, but that could prove useful.
There is also the question of frequency. I savor the time I spend with my son, so I would prefer to send him to school only two days a week, but there are also options for three, four and five day classes. As you can see I have no idea where I actually land on any of these issues.
The other problem is that the preschools require you to apply, but cannot guarantee you admission. That means you have to apply to a whole bunch of preschools in case the spots fill too quickly for the ones you like.
Each application costs between $50 and $100. So far I’ve written three checks totaling roughly $200 and I think I might sign up for one more. That’s not a ton of money, but it’s not chump change either.
I know a lot of mothers read this blog and I would love to hear any advice you might offer. What do you think about preschool for two (almost three) year olds?