Moving into our new house meant a longer commute to and from Blake's preschool. It is now ten miles there and ten miles home. I have loved his preschool, but it was time to start researching some programs closer to home.
Come January, my child will now be in private school. Blows my mind. I never thought I would be choosing this option:
Here were my local options:
1) First Congo Preschool (non-religious based church preschool) - highly coveted, highly recommended, two year wait list (they told me that I should have signed Reade up the month after he was born). I tried twice to get Blake in, but he would never be looked at on the wait list of 20 other kids, affordable, biking distance, not walking distance.
2) Parents Nursery School (co-op preschool) - I would have to dedicate my life to helping out in the classroom once a week (1/2 the time) and doing two parent education classes a month in the evenings (great concept, but no thanks), affordable, in biking distance, not walking.
3) Every Montessori based program within a five mile radius - there are tons, but all require 5 days a week and are pretty pricey, absolutely great programs though.
4) Grace Lutheran Preschool (gentle Christian undertones preschool) - my first choice because it is just down the road and I would be able to walk and drop Blake off, did a trial day and Blake loved it, I found one teacher to be a bit quick tempered (my close friend actually has a great relationship with this teacher so don't judge on my account), the kid's bathroom was dirty and stinky, and it is a co-op (only once a month would I be in the classroom), great play yard, super affordable.
I checked one more time to see if there were any other options in close vicinity and Stratford School popped up. I didn't think I wanted to go this route because I had checked out a similar private school in my first round of preschool interviews and it was all academia and very little play. I called Stratford's office to inquire and they reassured me that there is a balance of academics and play in their preschool programs. There just happened to be an open house last weekend so all four of us had to check that out. I was impressed. Andrew was impressed. Blake likes it. We will be starting Blake there January 3rd so that Andrew can drop him off before work (a 4 minute car ride from our house) and I will pick him up in the afternoon. We did a trial day today and the teachers are fantastic. A good combination of cozy and firm. Some might say kids just need to play at this age, but I have no issue giving my kid structure for two years before he experiences 13 years of California public school structure. It will be good for him and I promise to take him to the Redwoods or the beach once a week (wink, wink).
What we like:
- AM slot available now
- A bit cheaper than the preschool he is at, but they make up for that in the 4's class
- Each day the class is visited by Specialists. Today, he had a Spanish Specialist for 20 minutes and a Music Specialist for 20 minutes. The Music Specialist actually sat down at a piano (every room has one) and sang along with the kids.
- They had a good combination of typical preschool songs, but also included educational songs like one about the planets.
- There are bikes and play structures the kids can play on outside. Challenger didn't have bikes or a water table.
- Art is teacher guided on one day and then they do a free-art activity on the other day.
- They told me it would be okay if my child got paint on his face (Challenger said that "hasn't happened before")
- Again, I really liked his teachers and the other kids weren't robots, like I had expected, and actually wiggled around like normal kids.
As God is my witness, I promise to leave my kid in one preschool program so he can build a stable experience! Poor kid tried out so many programs he doesn't know where he technically is enrolled!